More Things That Don’t Exist Turn Up

According to ISG leader Charles Duelfer, we’ve found 35 shells containing either sarin or mustard gas in Iraq. If that isn’t a stockpile, what is?

Now granted, mustard gas degrades very quickly and is only a blister agent, so those aren’t a big worry. However, if the sarin is in binary form, that means that it can potentially be used in a terrorist attack and should be a big worry.

In any event, Hussein was ordered by the UN to fully and completely document his chemical, biological, and nuclear capabilities. He clearly did not comply, thereby putting him in material breach of UNSCR 1441 and invalidating the Gulf War cease-fire.

Of course, what hasn’t been found are any nuclear missiles in Iraq. Sorry, but that story just doesn’t have legs. If we really found anything remotely resembling nuclear weapons in Iraq, we wouldn’t be hearing it from some Iraqi newspaper. Now, it could be longe-range missiles armed as dirty bombs – we know Iraq had the capability to make those, but even that seems remote.

2 thoughts on “More Things That Don’t Exist Turn Up

  1. Here are some interesting comments from Stephen Sestanovich, who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University. From 1997 to 2001 he was United States ambassador at large for the former Soviet Union; in other words, he was a member of the Clinton administration, and so can’t exactly be accused of being a partisan for Bush.

    The comments:
    When America demanded that Iraq follow the example of countries like Ukraine and South Africa, which sought international help in dismantling their weapons of mass destruction, it set the bar extremely high, but not unreasonably so. The right test had to reflect Saddam Hussein’s long record of acquiring, using and concealing such weapons. Just as important, it had to yield a clear enough result to satisfy doubters on both sides, either breaking the momentum for war or showing that it was justified.

    Some may object that this approach treated Saddam Hussein as guilty until proved innocent. They’re right. But the Bush administration did not invent this logic. When Saddam Hussein forced out United Nations inspectors in 1998, President Clinton responded with days of bombings – not because he knew what weapons Iraq had, but because Iraq’s actions kept us from finding out.

    A decision on war is almost never based simply on what we know, or think we know. Intelligence is always disputed. Instead, we respond to what the other guy does. This is how we went to war in Iraq. The next time we face such a choice, whether our intelligence has improved or not, we’ll almost surely decide in the very same way.

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