The Iraq Survey Group, led by Charles Duelfer, is continuing to search Iraq for evidence of Iraqi WMD programs. Despite the calls that Iraqi WMDs did not exist, the ISG is not so sure:
“The picture is much more complicated than I anticipated going in,” he told reporters.
He added: “We do not know whether Saddam was concealing WMD in the final years or planning to resume production once sanctions were lifted.
“We do not know what he ordered his senior ministers to undertake. We do not know how the disparate activities we have identified link together.”
The ISG is facing mountains of documents in Arabic, stonewalling scientists, and stubborn officials – all factors that make the search for understanding Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that much more difficult. Duelfer is investigating evidence that the Hussein regime had created a system of “dual-use” facilities designed to rapidly create weapons when sanctions were lifted. Such activities would be in direct violation of UN Resolution 1441 and the Gulf War cease-fire.
The issue of Iraqi weapons has not yet been settled. The possibility of Iraq shipping the banned weapons to Syria remains a possibility. The issue of weapons productions remains unclear. Duelfer and the ISG continue to search Iraq for any weapons caches that may have been hidden before the war.
While many would rather not learn the truth for partsan political reasons, the ISG is conducting the laborous process of attempting to understand the truth about Iraq’s weapons programs. What they may find remains unknown and likely will for some time. What is clear is that Saddam Hussein was a supporter of worldwide terrorism, a destabilizing force in the region, and a vicious and cruel tyrant. Leaving Iraq to fester would hamper the war on terror and leave terrorists a free base of operations from which to train, plot, and rearm. Even without finding the banned weapons, the removal of the Hussein regime remains a sound and necessary policy.