Thursday, January 08, 2004

Still No Weapons of Mass Destruction

In todays (8 January 2004) Melbourne Age a front page article Detailed plans, but no smoking gun, Barton Gellma, of the Washington Post reports from Baghdad about the true state of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, a state that is far from what our leaders in the Coalition of the Willing told us. All this from the US's own Arms Inspectors Report. Gellma says in part

"But investigators have found no support for the two main fears expressed in Washington and London before the war: that Iraq had a hidden arsenal of old weapons and had built advanced programs for new ones. In public statements and unauthorised interviews, investigators said they had discovered no work on old germ war agents such as anthrax and no work on a new pathogen - combining pox virus and snake venom - that led US scientists on a highly classified hunt for several months."
"A review of evidence, including some not known to coalition investigators and some not made public, portrays a nonconventional arms establishment less capable than US analysts judged before the war."

So what are we lesser mortals supposed to think of the whole episode that is "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

A Reuters report today (8 January 2004) says:

Weapons Report Sound: Tabassum Zakaria A prewar United States intelligence report that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was based on 15 years of information, and the hunt should continue, a senior US intelligence official has said. Stuart Cohen, vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which produced the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate report on Iraq's banned weapons, said he was not surprised that stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons had not been found. "He's (Saddam Hussein) had 15 years to hone his ability to hide this stuff. The footprints of these weapons are very small," Mr Cohen said. "I believe that our work was well-grounded. We know he (Saddam) had it, he used it, you don't unlearn that." Critics have said the National Intelligence report was produced under pressure for a Bush Administration that wanted to go to war against Iraq. Mr Cohen dismissed this. The report said that Iraq would not have nuclear weapons until "very late" in the decade, Mr Cohen said.
So we are lead to believe that the Richard Butlers UNMOVIC were totally hoodwinked by Saddam and his weaponeers (as the Washington Post article refres to them) hiding everything from them., to the extent they still have. Perhaps the example of the plans for a longer range missile being hidden is enough to keep looking, or the fact that chemical and biological weapons have a "small footprint". But what of the Nuclear Weapons. It's clear that Saddam intended to build a weapon in his glory days and did prepare for such, but he was a long way from manufacturing the parts and the UN Inspectors made it impossible to hide such an activity, not to mention the US and others satellite surveillance. So how do we explain the absence of the Nuclear Weapons?

There is no doubt in my mind that Saddan intended to build Nuclear Weapons and, failing that, chemical and biological agents of various kinds. That much is clear. What is also clear, the US and UK kept such a tight eye on Iraq that any such activity would have been subject to a bombing run or two. They ran such activities ever since the earlier Gulf War, and with impunity. So the Iraqi Army and Air Force were inadeguate to the task. Ground Troops still had to deal with loyalists, but were generally swift in wiping up the resistance. I can't see Saddm using such weapons against the US. It certainly used them against Iran and the Kurds, and the Sunni in the south. The US, remeber, made a threat against any nation that thought it could use chemeical or biological weapons against them, a nuclear strike!

I think the propaganda campaign has gained a life of its own, and now more rational analysis is being applied without fear of retribution from the over zealous, and we are seeing something approaching the truth. Maybe it is not "The OIl Stupid", but it certainly isn't WMD's either. Regime change is definite, and I fro one support that, even when Saddam was a friend to Rumsford and Cheney, do you remember those days?

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