Skip to comments.No WMD Stockpiles in Iraq? Not Exactly ...
Posted on 10/08/2004 4:00:16 PM PDT by SandRat
Is it really true that Saddam Hussein had no "stockpiles" of weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invaded in March 2003?
Not exactly - at least not if one counts the 500 tons of uranium that the Iraqi dictator kept stored at his al Tuwaitha nuclear weapons development plant.
The press hasn't made much of Saddam's 500-ton uranium stockpile, downplaying the story to such an extent that most Americans aren't even aware of it. But it's been reported - albeit in a by-the-way fashion - by the New York Times and a handful of other media outlets. And one of Saddam's nuclear scientists, Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, admitted to the BBC earlier this year, "We had 500 tons of yellow cake [uranium] in Baghdad."
Surely 500 tons of anything qualifies as a "stockpile." And press reports going back more than a decade give no indication that weapons inspectors had any idea the Iraqi dictator had amassed such a staggering amount of nuke fuel until the U.S. invaded.
That's when the International Atomic Energy Agency was finally able to take a full inventory, and suddenly the 500-ton figure emerged.
Still, experts say Saddam's massive uranium stockpile was largely benign.
Largely? Well, except for the 1.8 tons of uranium that Saddam had begun to enrich. The U.S. Energy Department considered that stockpile so dangerous that it mounted an unprecedented airlift operation four months ago to remove the enriched uranium stash from al Tuwaitha.
But didn't most of that enrichment take place before the first Gulf War - with no indication whatsoever that Saddam was capable of proceeding any further toward his dream of acquiring the bomb?
That seems to be the consensus. But there's also disturbing evidence to the contrary.
David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector who was hailed by the press last year for pronouncing Iraq WMD-free, shared some interesting observations with Congress this past January about goings-on at al Tuwaitha in 2000 and 2001.
"[The Iraqis] started building new buildings, renovating it, hiring some new staff and bringing them together," Kay said. "And they ran a few physics experiments, re-ran experiments they'd actually run in the '80s."
"Fortunately, from my point of view," he added, "Operation Iraqi Freedom intervened and we don't know how or how fast that would have gone ahead. ... Given their history, it was certainly an emerging program that I would not have looked forward to their continuing to pursue."
Kay's successor, Charles Duelfer, also has confirmed that nuclear research at al Tuwaitha was continuing right up until the U.S. invasion, telling Congress in March that Saddam's scientists were "preserving and expanding [their] knowledge to design and develop nuclear weapons."
One laboratory at al Tuwaitha, Duelfer said, "was intentionally focused on research applicable for nuclear weapons development."
Still, most experts say that Iraq was nowhere near being able to produce nuclear weapons, which is a good thing, considering how much raw material Saddam had to work with.
Writing in the London Evening Standard earlier this year, Norman Dombey, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Sussex, walked his readers through a simple calculation:
"You have a warehouse containing 500 tons of natural uranium; you need 25 kilograms of U235 to build one weapon. How many nuclear weapons can you build? The answer is 142."
Fortunately for the world, Saddam didn't have the nuclear enrichment technology to convert his 500-ton uranium stockpile into weapons-grade bombmaking material.
Or did he?
After he was captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad last year, Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, who ran Saddam's nuclear centrifuge program until 1997, had some disturbing news for coalition debriefers.
He kept blueprints for a nuclear centrifuge, along with some actual centrifuge components, stored at his home - buried in the front yard - awaiting orders from Baghdad to proceed.
"I had to maintain the program to the bitter end," Obeidi said recently. His only other choice was death.
In his new book, "The Bomb in My Garden," the Iraqi physicist explains that his nuclear stash was the key that could have unlocked and restarted Saddam's bombmaking program.
"The centrifuge is the single most dangerous piece of nuclear technology," he writes. "With advances in centrifuge technology, it is now possible to conceal a uranium enrichment program inside a single warehouse."
Last week Dr. Obeidi warned in a New York Times op-ed piece that Saddam could have restarted his nuclear program "with a snap of his fingers."
Perhaps the 500-ton stockpile of nuclear fuel that Saddam kept at al Tuwaitha wasn't quite as benign as our media like to pretend.
"Not exactly - at least not if one counts the 500 tons of uranium that the Iraqi dictator kept stored at his al Tuwaitha nuclear weapons development plant."
I guess the UN/Mainstream Media definition of "stockpile" is that it has to be at least 501 tons.
Check out Page 30 of the Duelfer Report
The next time someone tells you there were no WMDs in Iraq tell them that the Duelfer Report that is being quoted so often in the media cites 53 Chemical WMDs found in Iraq since June 2004. Forty one SAKR-18 Sarin tipped rockets were found in one location. The SAKR-18 is an Egyption manufactured copy ofhe Soviet BM-21. Each Rocket has a range of 20-40 Km depending on the rocket motor and carries a 38 Kg war head. This particular version of the SAKR carries the capability of dispersing smoke for battlefield concealment. Anyone of these fired into a population center or smuggled into a public gathering could easily inflict 1-X 100X the casualties of 911.
What constitutes WMD stockpile(s) in Iraq? How much WMD do you need as proof? No one in officialdom has defined what that is. When we do find WMDs in Iraq, the U.S. officials are noncommittal. So WTF?
This is why people shouldn't rely on the MSM for their news.
Quotes from Kerry and others that also elieved that Saddam had WMD, how could so many be so wrong, I wonder if they were sent to Syria? Who really knows.?
"And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." -- George W. Bush, 9/20/01
If The Bush Administration Lied About WMD, So Did These People -- Version 3.0
by John Hawkins
Since we haven't found WMD in Iraq, a lot of the anti-war/anti-Bush crowd is saying that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Well, if they're going to claim that the Bush administration lied, then there sure are a lot of other people, including quite a few prominent Democrats, who have told the same "lies" since the inspectors pulled out of Iraq in 1998. Here are just a few examples that prove that the Bush administration didn't lie about weapons of mass destruction...
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998
"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others
"Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities" -- From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002
"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998
"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998
"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." -- Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002
"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002
"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002
"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003
"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998
"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002
"The debate over Iraq is not about politics. It is about national security. It should be clear that our national security requires Congress to send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002
"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002
"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002
"Saddam Hussein is not the only deranged dictator who is willing to deprive his people in order to acquire weapons of mass destruction." -- Jim Jeffords, October 8, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002
"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002
"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002
"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." -- John Kerry, October 9, 2002
"(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ...And now he is miscalculating Americas response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." -- John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002
"Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States." -- Joe Lieberman, August, 2002
"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002
"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998
"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
"Saddams existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraqs enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
"Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administrations policy towards Iraq, I dont think there can be any question about Saddams conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002
MSM defines a WMD stockpile as whatever we find +1.
Thank God for FR folks we read everything and very closely.
Wew know that and we must keep recruiting new FR folks the rest of the sheeple are just that sheeple.
Only if the LIBERALS and "PEACE-NIKS" allow it in and they won't!
It's interesting that even Greenpeace reported on all that uranium at Tuwaitha :
"A nuclear reactor complex at Tuwaitha was bombed by Israel in 1981, but uranium not yet enriched for use in nuclear weapons has remained there. Following the 1991 Gulf War, the IAEA removed all known Iraqi stocks of nuclear material that could be used in weapons, in accordance with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 687. All other radioactive material, including uranium, remained and was checked once a year by the IAEA, under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, until December last year.
At that time, the bulk of all known nuclear material in Iraq was stored in sealed barrels at the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility. The IAEA says that in December, 500 tonnes of "yellowcake" and 1.8 tonnes of low-enriched uranium remained at Tuwaitha, although hundreds of other highly radioactive, industrial sources were still in the country."
See also http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=14295
(The UN, Al-Tuwaitha, and Nukes from July 20, 2004)
Gee I wonder what you would have if Saddam had given a few pounds of the enriched stuff to terrorists -- A stick of dynamite and a deadly big mess.
You wonder if the MSM thinks no one is going to read the actual reports? Or is this what the MSM is counting on.
All hail Buckhead, and spread the word.
I have 500 tons of uranium in my backyard too. They're called the Rocky Mountains
If this is the case then BUSH should be telling this to the American people
Sounds like WMDs to me
Just for my clarification. I thought this was uranium that we "knew about" (which makes it ok ;-). You know, it was "sealed" by the UN or whatever. But this article makes it seem otherwise. In fact it makes it seem as if we had no idea this uranium was there at all. Is that really true?
1.8 TONS! Isn't critical mass just a few tens of kilos?
Excellent post I got this one bookmarked.
It's close enough to discern Saddam's intent and the fact that he was in violation of the UN resolutions forbidding Iraq from developing nuclear weapons programs.
Yep, the DEMOCs and the Lame Stream count on the Sheeple not reading it.
Can't speak for all of it but the enriched is a surprise.
This info will be buried by the MSM for the duration. As ABC says so eloquently, Kerry's mistakes and distortions aren't done in an effort to win, but GW's are. So they'll have to do their bit in the effort to bring down a sitting president...and in wartime, to boot.
take the weight of a regulation softball then start dividing.
It has to be presented to them in the right way.Now, if somebody were to supply pictures of the scientists being forced to wear panties on their heads.....
"Now, if somebody were to supply pictures of the scientists being forced to wear panties on their heads....."
No oil for panties! :)
Yes, I'm sure Saddam was planning to leave it unenriched and use it for purely peaceful purposes--probably nuclear energy, since Iraq is so low on oil. That's probably why he had the centrifuge, too.
Hey, can you post a bigger picture of that Rat logo? I`d like to copy it for my collection.
or would you just prefer this
bump later read
Thanks, I love it!
So you're assuming that if that particular centrifuge was inoperable, that means Saddam had lost interest in acquiring an operable centrifuge? Why did Saddam have Obedi keep the blueprint, then? What was he planning to use the yellowcake for? Why did he continue to develop long-range missiles in violation of the UN resolution? Was he in violation of the UN resolution or not, in your opinion?
"Yellowcake is an unenriched form of uranium that is commonly used in nuclear power production. It must be enriched to use it for either power or weapons. There's no evidence he had the ability to enrich it for either."
So what did he store 500 tons of it for, then?--and why did he cache the centrifuge for ten years and keep the blueprint? The purpose of having yellowcake is to enrich it for one of two major applications: power or weapons. It's evident Saddam didn't need it for power. The stored material was kept at a site we know Saddam had used as a nuclear weapons development plant. It's not hard to deduce what Saddam was storing it for. That's sufficient evidence under the UN resolutions, where the burden of evidence is on Saddam to prove he's not developing nuclear weapons, not on the UN to prove he is.
Glad we agree on the long-range missiles, at least.
"That's sufficient evidence under the UN resolutions"
worth repeating, we knew Saddam was a threat, we had the justification to do something by unanimous vote in the security council , we acted and have been proven right as this alone is sufficient evidence under the UN resolutions of banned stockpiles.
Why Bush doesn't stand up to the hate America crowd and accuse them of propagandizing that we didn't find WMDS has been puzzling.....
"Why Bush doesn't stand up to the hate America crowd and accuse them of propagandizing that we didn't find WMDS has been puzzling....."
I've been pondering that as well. I've considered several possible reasons. One is that the President's legal advisors seem to have been trying to base their case as much as possible on undisputed facts rather than ones which might be contested by hostile parties in the UN, which I believe was why they based the case for war on Saddam's violation of UN resolutions rather than trying to prove a link to 9/11 (even though that link was being argued by James Woolsey and others). Another, related reason I've heard suggested which sounds plausible to me is that any WMD claims the President would make would be attacked by Clinton holdovers in the intelligence community, creating more Joe Wilson-type controversies, and the administration would prefer to avoid stepping into that type of potential PR trap. Finally, my own theory, based on some comments the President has made and some other things, is that he's protecting an ongoing investigation which is diplomatically touchy, i.e., stating the facts openly at this point would escalate conflicts with the nations that helped arm Saddam and helped him conceal his WMD, and on the diplomatic and military timetable the administration has scheduled it would be premature to pursue that at this point. I do believe it will be pursued in due course.
"The inspectors reported it years ago"
Yet the article says :
"And press reports going back more than a decade give no indication that weapons inspectors had any idea the Iraqi dictator had amassed such a staggering amount of nuke fuel until the U.S. invaded."
But would a " staggering amount " be allowed?
Perhaps it is the fact they did not declare the yellow cake, is the issue
In any case if it walks like a duck and talks like one it must be one, and a staggering amount of anything indeed for only one use, e.g. war, must be WMD stockpile?