Thursday, October 07, 2004

Everything you need, BUT the stockpiles ...

The "final" report on Iraqi WMD from Charles Duelfer reinforces what I asserted in this post of mine.

Quotes from the Key Findings Summary -- which I do recommend that you read completely:

Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when
sanctions were lifted.


Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

I find this quote particularly interesting ... while Saddam saw Iran as his principal enemy in the region, he interpreted our responses to him as validating the value of WMD.

Saddam believed WMD had deterred Coalition Forces from pressing their attack beyond the goal of freeing Kuwait. WMD had even played a role
in crushing the Shi’a revolt in the south following the 1991 cease-fire.

More to consider ... from various areas of the report:

ISG found a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted.

The way Iraq organized its chemical industry after the mid-1990s allowed it to conserve the knowledge-base needed to restart a CW program, conduct a modest amount of dual-use research, and partially recover from the decline of its production capability caused by the effects of the Gulf war and UN-sponsored destruction and sanctions. Iraq implemented a rigorous and formalized system of nationwide research and production
of chemicals, but ISG will not be able to resolve whether Iraq intended the system to underpin any CW related efforts.

Note to Bush-bashers: "will not be able to resolve" does NOT equal "we know they were innocent".

Iraq had an effective system for the procurement of items that Iraq was not allowed to acquire due to sanctions. ISG found no evidence that this system was used to acquire precursor chemicals in bulk; however
documents indicate that dual-use laboratory equipment and chemicals were acquired through this system.

More to consider ...

• ISG judges, based on available chemicals, infrastructure, and scientist debriefings, that Iraq at OIF probably had a capability to produce large quantities of sulfur mustard within three to six months.

• A former nerve agent expert indicated that Iraq retained the capability to produce nerve agent in significant quantities within two years, given the import of required phosphorous precursors. However, we have no
credible indications that Iraq acquired or attempted to acquire large quantities of these chemicals through its existing procurement networks for sanctioned items.

Iraq’s historical ability to implement simple solutions to weaponization challenges allowed Iraq to retain the capability to weaponize CW agent when the need arose. Because of the risk of discovery and consequences
for ending UN sanctions, Iraq would have significantly jeopardized its chances of having sanctions lifted or no longer enforced if the UN or foreign entity had discovered that Iraq had undertaken any weaponization
activities.

• ISG has uncovered hardware at a few military depots, which suggests that Iraq may have prototyped experimental CW rounds. The available evidence is insufficient to determine the nature of the effort or the timeframe
of activities.

• Iraq could indigenously produce a range of conventional munitions, throughout the 1990s, many of which had previously been adapted for filling with CW agent. However, ISG has found ambiguous evidence of
weaponization activities.

ISG uncovered information that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) maintained throughout 1991 to 2003 a set of undeclared covert laboratories to research and test various chemicals and poisons, primarily for intelligence operations.

Intelligence ... via terrorist surrogates, perhaps? (BTW, the report also states that human subjects were used for testing purposes in these labs).

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I can already hear the Bush-bashers -- "NO WMD! BUSH LIED!!". That is the sound of people who are so obsessed with seeing their man win, they want to do it on debating points.

Real life is not a debate -- if one uses a little common sense, as in applying this methodology of threat assessment to the report -- and add the pervasive corruption Saddam was able to engender within the international community via Crude-For-Food -- one can still come to the conclusions that:

> Saddam retained a significant capacity to produce WMD -- certainly at least enough to empower terrorist surrogates -- in a relatively short time.

> Traditional methods of deterrence -- including weapons inspections and sanctions -- were inadequate to reliable prevent a determined Saddam from reconstituting his WMD programs in the near future, because these methods were easily compromisable if subjected to misplaced idealism and/or corruption on the part of the world diplomatic community.

> Saddam Huessein wished to reconstitute his WMD programs; while traditional methods of deterrence did impede him somewhat, he made determined efforts that utilized deception and corruption to circumvent them where possible.

As I said in the post I linked to at the top of this:

Understand that anything less than the national equivalent of a full proctoscopy -- an unacceptible "violation" of Iraq's national soverignty in the eyes of both Saddam and the useful idiots in the diplomatic community who have coddled him over the years -- would have been inadequate for finding stockpiles of WMD, much less the program information that could quickly allow Saddam & Sons to turn elements of the Iraqi petrochemical infrastructure into chem-weapons producers.

UNSCOM and other inspectors were not capable of that proctoscopy ... the Iraq Survey Group that issued this report was far more capable of doing so, but given the inherent uncertainties in the needle-in-a-haystack search for small yet highly-lethal weapons ... I don't even trust this report as "conclusive".

That's why "final" is in quotes, at the start of this post.



Comments:
Speaking of John Kerry, did you see the episode of "Wife Swap" last night? Freaking hilarious! Except for the fact that it was embarrassing that people in America still feel, think, and act the way these two families did.

Thanks for the invite! Although, it's more peaceful around here than I'm used to.

Casebolt for Prez 08!
 
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