Skip to comments.Andrew Sullivan: READ THE (WMD) REPORT
Posted on 10/02/2003 9:33:18 PM PDT by Pokey78
If you think that David Kay's report on Iraqi WMDs can be adequately summarized by idiotic headlines such as: "No Illicit Arms Found in Iraq," then you need to read this report. If you believe the following "news analysis" by David Sanger in today's New York Times summarizes the findings of David Kay, then you need to read this report. Sanger's piece is, in fact, political propaganda disguised as analysis, designed to obscure and distort the evidence that you can read with your own eyes. His opening paragraph culminates in a simple, knowing, well-crafted lie:
The preliminary report delivered on Thursday by the chief arms inspector in Iraq forces the Bush administration to come face to face with this reality: that Saddam Hussein's armory appears to have been stuffed with precursors, potential weapons and bluffs, but that nothing found so far backs up administration claims that Mr. Hussein posed an imminent threat to the world.That is not what the administration claimed. (The Times has even had to run a correction recently correcting their attempt, retroactively, to distort and misrepresent the administration's position.) The administration claimed that Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had hidden materials from the United Nations, was hiding a continued program for weapons of mass destruction, and that we should act before the threat was imminent. The argument was that it was impossible to restrain Saddam Hussein unless he were removed from power and disarmed. The war was based on the premise that Saddam had clearly violated U.N. resolutions, was in open breach of such resolutions and was continuing to conceal his programs with the intent of restarting them in earnest once sanctions were lifted. Having read the report carefully, I'd say that the administration is vindicated in every single respect of that argument. This war wasn't just moral; it wasn't just prudent; it was justified on the very terms the administration laid out. And we don't know the half of it yet.
THE MONEY QUOTES: If you don't have time, here are my highlights. First off:
We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN.Translation: Saddam was lying to the U.N. as late as 2002. He was required by the U.N. to fully cooperate. He didn't. The war was justified on those grounds alone. Case closed. Some of the physical evidence still remains, despite what was clearly a deliberate, coordinated and thorough attempt to destroy evidence before during and after the war. Among the discoveries:
* A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.Would you be happy, after 9/11, if the president had allowed such capabilities to remain at large, and be reinvigorated, with French and Russian help, after sanctions were removed? I wouldn't. But the New York Times and Dominique de Villepin would have happily looked the other way rather than do anything real to enforce the very resolutions they claimed to support.
* A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.
* Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.
* New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.
* Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).
* A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.
* Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.
* Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km - well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.
* Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles --probably the No Dong -- 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.
THERE'S MORE: One of the crazy premises of the "Where Are They?" crowd is that we would walk into that huge country and find large piles of Acme bombs with anthrax in them. That's not what a WMD program is about; and never was. Saddam was careful. He had to hide from the U.N. and he had to find ways, over more than a decade, to maintain a WMD program as best he could, ready to reactivate whenever the climate altered in his favor. Everything points to such a strategy and to such weapons being maintained. The bio-warfare stuff is particularly worrying:
With regard to biological warfare activities, which has been one of our two initial areas of focus, ISG teams are uncovering significant information - including research and development of BW-applicable organisms, the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) in possible BW activities, and deliberate concealment activities. All of this suggests Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents.Mustard gas in a matter of months. And concealment all the time:
A very large body of information has been developed through debriefings, site visits, and exploitation of captured Iraqi documents that confirms that Iraq concealed equipment and materials from UN inspectors when they returned in 2002. One noteworthy example is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced. This discovery - hidden in the home of a BW scientist - illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.When you read this kind of information, you can see why the president has ordered more money to go to this effort. We need every cent. We have to show to the world - and to the appeasers at home - the extent of the threat that this monstrous regime potentially represented.
FOR THE FUTURE: But Kay makes a more important point at the end. He notes that our ability to examine this entire edifice in a liberated Iraq, to see where our intelligence failed and where it succeeded, is a hugely helpful task in the broader war on terror. Over to Kay:
[W]hatever we find will probably differ from pre-war intelligence. Empirical reality on the ground is, and has always been, different from intelligence judgments that must be made under serious constraints of time, distance and information. It is, however, only by understanding precisely what those differences are that the quality of future intelligence and investment decisions concerning future intelligence systems can be improved. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is such a continuing threat to global society that learning those lessons has a high imperative.Of course it has. I've waited a long time for this report, and kept my peace until it came out and we had some empirical data to measure. What we now see may not impress those who are looking for any way to discredit this administration and this war. But it shows to my mind the real danger that Saddam posed - and would still pose today, if one president and one prime minister hadn't had the fortitude to face him down. We live in a dangerous but still safer world because of it. Now is the time for the administration to stop the internal quibbling, the silence and passivity, and go back on the offensive. Show the dangers that the opposition was happy for us to tolerate; show the threat - real and potential - that this war averted; defend the record with pride and vigor; and fund the reconstruction in ways that will make it work now not just for our sake but for the sake of those once killed in large numbers by the weapons some are so eager not to find.
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FRACTION SO FAR: As for actual munitions, absorb this fact:
There are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous.Here are Kay's conclusions:
1. Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Even those senior officials we have interviewed who claim no direct knowledge of any on-going prohibited activities readily acknowledge that Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed. Several of these officials acknowledge receiving inquiries since 2000 from Saddam or his sons about how long it would take to either restart CW production or make available chemical weapons.Could we have contained this indefinitely? If we'd wanted to continue to starve an entire country, make a mockery of U.N. resolutions, give new life to one of the most vicious dictatorships on the planet, and leave open the risk of this shadow but viable WMD program coming into the hands of any terrorist faction Saddam wanted to entertain. Were there risks of action? You bet. But most of the enormous risks did not come about: no use of such weapons, no massive destruction of oil wells, no fracturing of the country, no terrorist revenge or resurgence.
2. In the delivery systems area there were already well advanced, but undeclared, on-going activities that, if OIF had not intervened, would have resulted in the production of missiles with ranges at least up to 1000 km, well in excess of the UN permitted range of 150 km. These missile activities were supported by a serious clandestine procurement program about which we have much still to learn.
3. In the chemical and biological weapons area we have confidence that there were at a minimum clandestine on-going research and development activities that were embedded in the Iraqi Intelligence Service. While we have much yet to learn about the exact work programs and capabilities of these activities, it is already apparent that these undeclared activities would have at a minimum facilitated chemical and biological weapons activities and provided a technically trained cadre.
Would not matter. The lefties said before the war that we would find them becuase Bush would plant them. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Of course, if he finds them next year they will say it is an election ploy and he planted them, etc and so on.
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