Skip to comments.Mylroie: "..the source of the near-universal belief that Iraq had WMD
Posted on 10/25/2005 1:01:51 PM PDT by Matchett-PI
From: Laurie Mylroie email@example.com
Iraq News Tue, 25 Oct 2005 15:04:26 -0400
Robert Kagan [link below] reminds us of the origin of the view that Iraq retained large quantities of weapons proscribed by UNSCR 687, the formal cease-fire to the 1991 Gulf War.
Following that war, it was long believed that the bulk of Iraq's WMD was destroyed in the month-long bombing campaign that began the U.S.-led assault to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. It was further assumed that the UN weapons inspectors, UNSCOM, were merely mopping up what remained.
But in August 1995, as Iraq was pressing UNSCOM to declare its work done, and even threatening to expel the inspectors, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil, who had been in charge of Iraq's weapons programs, defected to Jordan. The Iraqis panicked and told Rolf Ekeus, the chairman of UNSCOM, that he should visit Baghdad first, before meeting with Kamil. They were afraid of what Kamil might say and wanted to control the flow of information.
Ekeus played skillfully on the Iraqis' fears, and they acknowledged that all their proscribed programs were larger and more sophisticated than they had previously admitted. Yet all the material they now admitted to having had or produced, they claimed to have destroyed on their own (UNSCR 687 called for UNSCOM to supervise the destruction of such material).
UNSCOM asked the Iraqis to support that claim, whether by providing documents or witnesses who could describe the purported destruction. The Iraqis produced neither and in the fall of 1997, initiated a series of crises that had the effect of undermining support for UNSCOM. A year later, in December 1998, UNSCOM left Iraq in advance of a four day US/UK bombing campaign (Operation Desert Fox), and weapons inspectors never returned until late 2002.
This is the source of the near-universal belief that Iraq had such weapons--not shadowy defectors, nor rogue reporters. Moreover, the possibility remains that Iraq did have such weapons (or their immediate precursors) and destroyed, hid, and/or moved them on the eve of this war and that the subsequent investigation simply has not been done all that well. ~ Laurie Mylroie
It Wasn't Just Miller's Story --- By Robert Kagan Tuesday, October 25, 2005; A21
The Judith Miller-Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby imbroglio is being reduced to a simple narrative about the origins of the Iraq war. ...."
There is a big problem with this simple narrative. It is that the Times, along with The Post and other news organizations, ran many alarming stories about Iraq's weapons programs before the election of George W. Bush. A quick search through the Times archives before 2001 produces such headlines as "Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say"(November 1998), "U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan"(August 1998), "Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort" (February 2000), "Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration" (February 2000), "Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program" (July 2000). ..."
Many such stories appeared before and after the Clinton administration bombed Iraq for four days in late 1998 in what it insisted was an effort to degrade Iraqi weapons programs. ..."
This was the consensus before Bush took office, before Scooter Libby assumed his post and before Judith Miller did most of the reporting for which she is now, uniquely, criticized. It was based on reporting by a large of number of journalists who in turn based their stories on the judgments of international intelligence analysts, Clinton officials and weapons inspectors. As we wage what the Times now calls "the continuing battle over the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq," we will have to grapple with the stubborn fact that the underlying rationale for the war was already in place when this administration arrived. ..."
Glad to see Laurie Mylroie's article. Thanks. Most of those WMD's ended up in Syria. What else was in that endless stream of trucks heading for Syria as the war began?
Bless you! I was trying to think of her name this weekend, when in a discussion with a good soul who was drowning in the brackish MSM waters of spin that there were no WMDs.
You could toast marshmallows off that sarcasm.
So, its best stated that if anyone lied about WMD risk that list has to start with the Iraqi regime, the UN and then the lame stream media, the Clinton Administration and only after that do we begin to add in the deficiencies of the intel services and any conclusions reached by the Bush Administration.
Rush ran with this story today.
If Bush knew there were no WMDs and he lied and said there were just to take us to war for political gain, wouldn't he know that he would be found out?
Why not wait to start the war closer to election time? This way the fact there were no WMDs would not come out until after the election.
Why not just have Rove plant the WMDs over there?
Weren't there also RUSSIANS in the trucks?
Bump to the top.
Do you have a working link for this?
I wonder if the UN oil-for-food scandal has something to do with all this also. The embargo really didn't stop France, Germany, and Russia from making a profit smuggling arms to Saddam. Saddam had his public relations coup (US killing children.) UN folks and Saddam both making money hand over fist. The gravy train might end if the WMD were known to be destroyed.
I suspect Saddam had a deeper game going. He was continuing work, mostly through France. There were barrels and barrels of precursor finds with French labelling.
Laurie Mylroie is an expert on Issues related to Iraq, al Qaida and their relationship. I'm sorry that she hasn't written anything for some time. I always looked for her and Edward Jay Epstein's columns. Epstein was focusing intently on the Prague Connection and then dropped for his new book on Hollywood. It's a shame he hasn't picked up Atta, Prague and Able Danger.
Another person who emphatically believes that Iraq and WMDs and moved them to Syria en route possibly to the Bekaa Valley is recently retired USMC Gernal Michael P 'Rifle' Delong.
On November 16 (1997), Cohen made a widely reported appearance on ABC's This Week in which he placed a five-pound bag of sugar on the table and stated that that amount of anthrax "would destroy at least half the population" of Washington, D.C. Cohen explained how fast a person could die once exposed to anthrax. "One of the things we found with anthrax is that one breath and you are likely to face death within five days. One small particle of anthrax would produce death within five days." And he noted that Iraq "has had enormous amounts" of anthrax. Cohen also spoke on the extreme lethality of VX nerve agent: "One drop [of VX] from this particular thimble as such -- one single drop will kill you within a few minutes." And he reminded the world that Saddam may have enough VX to kill "millions, millions, if it were properly dispersed and through aerosol mechanisms."
In Sacramento, November 15 (1997), Clinton painted a bleak future if nations did not cooperate against "organized forces of destruction," telling the audience that only a small amount of "nuclear cake put in a bomb would do ten times as much damage as the Oklahoma City bomb did." Effectively dealing with proliferation and not letting weapons "fall into the wrong hands" is "fundamentally what is stake in the stand off we're having in Iraq today."
He asked Americans to not to view the current crisis as a "replay" of the Gulf War in 1991. Instead, "think about it in terms of the innocent Japanese people that died in the subway when the sarin gas was released [by the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo in 1995]; and how important it is for every responsible government in the world to do everything that can possibly be done not to let big stores of chemical or biological weapons fall into the wrong hands, not to let irresponsible people develop the capacity to put them in warheads on missiles or put them in briefcases that could be exploded in small rooms. And I say this not to frighten you."
On November 25 (1997), the Pentagon released "Proliferation: Threat and Response." A few things stand out in the report. In the section on Iraq, the word "terrorism" (in any form) is not mentioned. It is, though, cited in the sections on Libya and Iran. The report stated that Iraq "probably has hidden" chemical munitions, "may retain some missile warheads" from its old biological program, and could jump-start production of chemical and biological weapons "should UN sanctions and monitoring end or be substantially reduced."
Cohen began his press briefing on the Pentagon report by showing a picture of a Kurdish mother and her child who had been gassed by Saddam's army. A bit later, standing besides the gruesome image, he described death on a mass scale. "One drop [of VX nerve agent] on your finger will produce death in a matter of just a few moments. Now the UN believes that Saddam may have produced as much as 200 tons of VX, and this would, of course, be theoretically enough to kill every man, woman and child on the face of the earth." He then sketched an image of a massive chemical attack on an American city. Recalling Saddam's use of poison gas and the sarin attack in Tokyo, Cohen warned that "we face a clear and present danger today" and reminded people that the "terrorist who bombed the World Trade Center in New York had in mind the destruction and deaths of some 250,000 people that they were determined to kill."
Asked whether Iraq had moved "any of his programs underground into these hardened facilities," Cohen responded that he didn't know whether Saddam had "moved these chemicals or biological agents and materials --- not only the agents themselves, but documentation .... So we don't know whether they've moved them into hardened shelters or underground bunkers." He spoke of Iraqi weapons as fact, not a probability or likelihood"
A few days later, on February 7 (1998), Clinton, joined by Prime Minister Blair, devoted his Saturday radio address to Iraq. Noting the two were speaking from the same room where FDR and Churchill "charted our path victory in World War II," Clinton told Americans that we now face "a new nexus of threats, none more dangerous than chemical and biological weapons, and the terrorists, criminals and outlaw states that seek to acquire them." He warned that "Iraq continues to conceal chemical and biological weapon[s]," "has the "missiles that can deliver them" and "has the capacity to quickly restart production of these weapons."
And it just goes on and on... Link to Project for the American Century Site
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