Skip to comments.Iraqi Germ Warfare
Posted on 04/05/2003 5:33:54 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Moscow Paranoid About Iraqi Bioweapons
The one weapon in Saddam's arsenal that is most feared is his biological weapon. During the early 1990s, U.N. weapons inspectors were able to find tons of anthrax and evidence of extensive biological weapons development.
Historical evidence shows that Iraqi weaponized anthrax appeared immediately after the U.S. delivered anthrax samples for a medical program in the late 1980s. However, a U.N. inspector asserts that the Iraqi biological weapons program did not have roots in the U.S.A.
A bioterrorism expert recently stated that Russia has been Iraq's "main supplier of the materials and know-how to weaponize anthrax, botulism and smallpox."
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Robert Goldberg cited former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Spertzel, who believes that Moscow supplied Baghdad with fermentation equipment to produce biotoxins. According to Mr. Spertzel, the Russians on the U.N. inspection team in Iraq were "paranoid" about his efforts to uncover smallpox production.
Goldberg noted that no country has "done more to rebuild" Saddam's chemical and biological weapons programs or "been more aggressive in helping hide the truth" than Russia.
It would seem that the timing of the U.S. shipment and the first appearance of Iraqi anthrax supports the allegations that the true source is Russia.
The fact is that in order to weaponize anthrax you need time, equipment and money. For example, the Soviet Union biowarfare program took over 20 years to create useable weaponized versions of anthrax. It was impossible for Iraq to create a useable weaponized anthrax in the few months following the U.S. shipments.
Natural anthrax is huge by biological warfare standards and does not disperse well. Weaponized anthrax is grown selectively in batches to reduce the size of the spores to a size that can be sprayed or dispersed. This process takes at a minimum two years with the right equipment and expertise.
Then there are the additional problems of munitions loading, testing and development. Special warheads have to be developed to carry and disperse the anthrax. Without such specialized systems the anthrax will die or be rendered ineffective.
The facts show that Saddam could not have used the U.S. anthrax samples because the best crash program would have taken at least five years to construct and develop the required facilities.
This places Saddam's biowar program to prior to the construction of the French Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981. The timing fits both military and political intelligence, since the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs started with the same presidential order issued by Saddam.
Anthrax may be dangerous, but in biological terms it is the equal of a cannonball compared to the H-bomb of smallpox. The extensive efforts of the Soviet Union to develop and field modified strains of deadly smallpox yielded a weapon that could kill every person on Earth.
The German health minister recently stated that a single Iraqi smallpox attack could kill as many as 2 million people.
The evidence points to the Soviet Union supplying Saddam with weaponized anthrax in the early 1980s, before or during the Iran-Iraq war and long before U.S. exports. The Soviet biotoxin would fit nicely in the Warsaw Pact-supplied weapons systems such as a specialized warhead for Scud missiles, artillery shells and aerial bombs fitted to MiGs and Sukhoi aircraft.
I am willing to bet you even money that the Iraqi biological warfare systems are of Soviet origin and not American. However, a genetic sample may not end the debate since Russian experts are already spinning the rumor that the U.S. is prepared to plant evidence to incriminate Moscow.
A Russian member of the U.N. inspection team in Iraq recently stated that the United States might fabricate evidence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.
Former U.N. inspector Kirill Scheluchenko wrote an article alleging that the U.S. might plant fake evidence of chemical weapons production traced back to Russia.
"It is even easier to falsify biological weapons production in Iraq. The culture could be grown in the U.S. and delivered to Iraq later. And if the Americans have in their possession samples of Russian cultures and use them (in particular, Russian anthrax stems, which they most likely possess), then Russia would end up facing accusations of proliferation of biological weapons," wrote Scheluchenko.
On that topic, how does one counter the lib argument that we gave Saddam everything he has?