Skip to comments.Iraq Rebuilt Weapons Factories, Officials Say [x42's DoD, NYT, 1/01 vs 1/04 DNC-PR campaign]
Posted on 01/08/2004 10:40:22 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
No Honeymoon Likely for New President's Foreign Policy Team (Jan. 20, 2001)
Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets With Joint Chiefs (Jan. 11, 2001)
From His New Perch, Powell Scans the World (Jan. 3, 2001)
A Higher Threshold for U.S. Intervention Means Adjustments Abroad (Dec. 18, 2000)
News Analysis: A Dual Path in Diplomacy (Dec. 18, 2000)
The Secretary of State: A Higher Threshold for U.S. Intervention Means Adjustments Abroad (Dec. 18, 2000)
Congratulations, and Some Skepticism, as Other Nations Size Up Bush (Dec. 15, 2000)
Profiles: The Bush Administration
White House Guide
International: Middle East Home
The New York Times Magazine
From the Archives
ASHINGTON, Jan. 21 Iraq has rebuilt a series of factories that the United States has long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons, according to senior government officials. The new intelligence estimate could confront President Bush with an early test of his pledge to take a tougher stance against President Saddam Hussein than the Clinton administration did.
The factories in an industrial complex in Falluja, west of Baghdad include two that were bombed and badly damaged by American and British air raids in December 1998 to punish Mr. Hussein for his refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors, the government officials said.
The new intelligence estimates were mentioned, but without any such specific details, in a report on weapons threats released on Jan. 10 by the outgoing secretary of defense, William S. Cohen. It warned that Iraq had rebuilt at least its weapons infrastructure and may have begun covertly producing some chemical or biological agents.
Last week, the officials provided details on what they said was the reconstruction of the two factories, and the resumption of the production of chlorine at a third in the same complex.
The factories have ostensibly commercial purposes, but all three were previously involved in producing chemical or biological agents and were among those closely monitored by the United Nations inspectors, the officials said. One of the rebuilt factories, for example, is making castor oil used in brake fluid, the Iraqis say, but the mash from castor beans contains a deadly biological toxin called ricin, the officials said.
Since the air strikes in 1998, Mr. Hussein's government has refused to allow a new team of international weapons inspectors to begin work in Iraq. Officials said that without on- the-spot inspections, the United States did not yet have firm evidence the factories are now producing chemical or biological agents. "There's no smoking gun," one said.
But a senior military officer who closely follows Iraq and its president, Saddam Hussein, said, "We don't know for sure, but given his past known behavior, there's probably a pretty fair chance that's what's happening."
Throughout the campaign and transition, Mr. Bush and his national security advisers pledged to confront Mr. Hussein more aggressively than Mr. Clinton had. Some of the same men particularly Gen. Colin L. Powell, the new secretary of state, and Vice President Dick Cheney helped President Bush's father lead the international coalition that ousted Iraqi forces from Kuwait a decade ago.
But Mr. Hussein remains in place, and poses a problem that is in many ways more complex now, with arms inspections blocked and many of America's allies questioning the sanctions that remain in place against Iraq.
"The Iraq problem has changed a lot since the last Bush administration left office," said a government official who will continue to work in the new Bush administration and has been involved in preliminary briefings on Iraq. "It's become a lot more complex. That's beginning to dawn on them."
In his inaugural address on Saturday, Mr. Bush did not mention Iraq specifically but vowed to "confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors." In an interview before taking office, he suggested that his administration would not tolerate an Iraq rearmed with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
"Saddam Hussein must understand that this nation is very serious about preventing him from the development of weapons of mass destruction and any thought in his mind that he should use them against our friends and allies in the Middle East," Mr. Bush said.
Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush's national security adviser, was receiving intelligence briefings at the White House today and did not return a call requesting comment.
Since the election, neither Mr. Bush nor his aides have detailed how they intend to change Mr. Clinton's diplomatic and military strategy against Iraq.
Some advisers, including Mr. Cheney and the new secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, have previously advocated a more hawkish approach. But even some of Mr. Bush's advisers acknowledge that containing Mr. Hussein, much less isolating him, will be increasingly difficult.
American and British planes continue to patrol the "no-flight" zones over northern and southern Iraq. Such patrols are routinely fired upon; indeed, Iraq launched a surface-to-air missile at one only hours before Mr. Bush took office on Saturday, prompting American jets to respond by striking antiaircraft batteries and a radar site.
Such strikes help ratchet up Iraqi anger at the United States; today, the Iraqis said the American strikes killed six civilians in Samawa, an assertion that American military officials did not immediately dispute, while noting that they had not intended to strike civilian targets.
The sanctions imposed against Iraq after it occupied Kuwait in August 1990 are gradually losing international support, with even some American allies exploring ways to end them. Diplomats and businessmen from countries as varied as Russia, Turkey and Italy have defied the ban on commercial flights into Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
The rising price of oil has also allowed Iraq to raise billions in revenues, significantly easing the strains placed on its economy after the Persian Gulf war. While most of that revenue is strictly controlled by the United Nations, intelligence reports suggest that Mr. Hussein has been able to divert $500 million to $1 billion a year and raise another $1 billion to $2 billion in illicit smuggling.
Iraq's military remains a shadow of the force that invaded Kuwait in 1990, but American intelligence officials strongly suspect that Mr. Hussein is using at least some of that money to rebuild parts of his military, which has been in steady decline since the gulf war, as well as his weapons programs.
Two government officials said Iraq has successfully created front companies that are now being used to purchase and smuggle into Iraq equipment, weaponry and spare parts that are prohibited under the sanctions, including tires for Iraqi jets and transmissions for its tanks. One official said those companies were also helping to procure illicit items used in nuclear, chemical and biological programs.
Mr. Hussein's government has also asked the United Nations to approve purchases for equipment or material including things needed to produce chlorine that American officials suspect are being diverted to prohibited weapons programs.
As a condition for ending the Persian Gulf war, Mr. Hussein's government agreed to destroy its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs, as well as production of long-range missiles able to launch such weapons.
Despite years of cat-and-mouse games with the Iraqis, the previous team of United Nations inspectors succeeded in destroying large quantities of weapons and discovering covert programs to create chemical and biological weapons.
For more than two and a half years, however, there have been no meaningful inspections inside Iraq. After the air raids in 1998, Pentagon officials estimated that they had set back Iraq's weapons programs by a year or two a period that has now elapsed.
President Clinton vowed that the United States would resort to military force if Iraq resumed work on its nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, but until the end officials in the administration and the intelligence agencies had conflicting views on whether the Iraqis had done so.
One senior defense official who will continue to serve under Mr. Bush said that there was "lots of circumstantial evidence," including the reconstruction of the factories, the resumption of production at chemical-warfare plants that had been closed and efforts to import components needed for chemical or biological weapons production.
Another official who is also staying on said he did not believe that Mr. Hussein had begun producing prohibited weapons in mass quantities. He argued that Mr. Hussein, sensing an erosion of support for the American position, would not want to give the United States a justification for renewed strikes.
Nevertheless, the factories in Falluja whose reconstruction has been detected in satellite photographs have raised alarms, the officials agreed.
Besides the factory making castor oil, the second rebuilt factory is believed to be producing pesticides and herbicides. "You don't know what they're doing in there," the official said. "They could be making pesticides or they could be making something more nefarious than pesticides."
While officials have previously disclosed that Iraq had rebuilt missile plants destroyed in the 1998 strikes, the Jan. 10 report released by Mr. Cohen was the first public acknowledgment of the resumption of work at suspected chemical and biological plants.
"Some of Iraq's facilities could be converted fairly quickly to production of chemical weapons," the report said at one point. It went on to warn, "Iraq retains the expertise, once a decision is made, to resume chemical agent production within a few weeks or months, depending on the type of agent."
The new DEMOCRATIC plan to undermine the President and the war effort requires THEM to convince to world that the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, the torture of millions over decades by an evil tyrant and his co-rats meant nothing, that these same mass-murdering thugs who were actively seeking long range missiles capable of hitting neighboring nations, these same mass-murderers who previously mass-murdered whole villageS using CHEM weapons (WMDS) were not an imminent threat.
Care to tell us, geniuses, what it would take before YOU liberated the victims of Saddam Hussein?
|-||Report Criticizes U.S. on Iraq - Washington Post (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||Report says Iraq didn't have WMD - CNN (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||Think Tank: U.S. Overstated Iraqi Threat - AP (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||U.S. Plays Down Withdrawal of Iraq Weapons Team - Reuters (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||Report says Bush administration exaggerated Iraq's weapons threat - AFP (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||Think Tank Report: Iraq WMD Not Imminent Threat - Reuters (Jan 8, 2004)|
|-||Arms Search: U.S. Withdraws a Team of Weapons Hunters From Iraq - NY Times (registration req'd) (Jan 8, 2004)|
8 Mass Graves of Iraq: Uncovering Atrocities ~ Coalition Provisional Authority | 1/05/04
8 Baghdad, with Victims ~ To those with eyes to see, Saddam Husseins butchery was reason enough for war ~ Commentary | 12/03/03 | Steven Vincent
8 Voices of Baghdad Etched on Its Walls ~ Baghdad graffiti, moving. ~ News Day | 11/19/03 | Samson Mulugeta
8 Revisionist Thoughts on the War on Iraq ~ Arab News Columnist: "I Was Wrong, War Was Right" ~ Arab News | 11/06/03 | Fawaz Turki
8 Iraqi Columnist: The Occupation of Iraq Means Liberty, Even if the Whole World Maintains Otherwise ~ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat | Kamel Al-Sa'doun |10/16/03
8 Uncovering the truth about going to war ~ Soldiers for the Truth | Ed Offley 8 Baghdad City Cop ~ Wall Street Journal | BERNARD B. KERIK 8 THE CRUELEST COVER-UP ~ Tales of Saddam's Brutality ~ White House | Various 8 "Will of the (Iraqi) people!" ~ To the press, Chirac, Anan, DNC ~ it's NOT your country. 8 The homecoming ~ The Independent | 9/18/03 | Johann Hari 8 I Was Wrong! ~ Ken Joseph's important April essay. An Assyrian Christian and human shield learns of the Iraqi people's suffering under Saddam Hussein's cruel regime. ~ Townhall.com | 10/12/03 | Ken Joseph 8 Tales of Saddam's Brutality ~ White House archive of Press Accounts ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This is a message for Barbara and David McPhillips...Ignore the naysayers...Your loved ones perished in a just conflict that was urgently required, fully justified and sanctioned by the United Nations and a bipartisan vote of Congress. Their service was honorable and their sacrifices warrant our eternal gratitude."
..."This isn't a game. This isn't about poking a stick at George Bush. This is our lives."
8 Baghdad City Cop ~ Wall Street Journal | BERNARD B. KERIK
8 THE CRUELEST COVER-UP ~ Tales of Saddam's Brutality ~ White House | Various
8 "Will of the (Iraqi) people!" ~ To the press, Chirac, Anan, DNC ~ it's NOT your country.
8 The homecoming ~ The Independent | 9/18/03 | Johann Hari
8 I Was Wrong! ~ Ken Joseph's important April essay. An Assyrian Christian and human shield learns of the Iraqi people's suffering under Saddam Hussein's cruel regime. ~ Townhall.com | 10/12/03 | Ken Joseph
8 Tales of Saddam's Brutality ~ White House archive of Press Accounts
Hey, Pat, how're things over in the Aryan Nation today?
I reposted it in response to today's mainstream press / Carnegie Endowment (DNC "War Room") PR campaign claiming Saddam was not an imminent threat.
This latest campaign, in a long string of dishonest press campaigns to undermine our war efforts, mocks the sacrifices of the world's best and brightest ~ our Soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq ~ and spits on the mass graves of slaughtered masses of Iraqi men, women...and children.
If you want on or off my, Calpernia, and xzin's Pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail one of us. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days. (Most days are good days).
Sorry, T, x.
Don't worry about it. I'am glad you did it, I needed the ammo to take on the pathetic libs I have to deal with.