chiphomme - 2/23/2006 3:36 PM
It wasn't conjecture. The Deulfer group interview 1000s of Iraqi's, sifted through millions of pieces of paper, and listen to a lot of audio (note the ABC news reports this past week). Iraq was a threat. They kept their infrasructure in tact as best they could, they purchased dual use equipment, they kept seed stocks of biological weapons, and they were bribing their way clear of sanctions. Saddam was obsessed with WMDs.
I just wasted several hours reading the Duelfer Report sections that contained specific conjectures of the type you are repeating. You need to read the report yourself and stop repeating out of context one-liners extracted by someone desperate for some kind of threads to hang on and keep their faith. Here is a quote of the "Key Findings" in the "Regime Strategic Intent" chapter, which is where your claims of Saddam's intent to do whatever you said with WMD come from. Please note the wording, which is far from that which is used to present documented evidence of a particular point. This is clearly language of innuendo, guesswork, and projections of what Saddam wanted to do from the "ISG" perspective. It is a whole load of bullshit. Please don't quote it as a source of anything that presents a case that would stand up in an American court of law - quote it for what it is, a huge boondogle at the taxpayer's expense that says nothing with any authority, other than there were no WMD, and there was no means available to produce WMD.
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 totally dominated the RegimeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s strategic decision making. He initiated most of the strategic thinking upon which decisions were made, whether in matters of war and peace (such as invading Kuwait), maintaining WMD as a national strategic goal, or on how Iraq was to position itself in the international community. Loyal dissent was discouraged and constructive variations to the implementation of his wishes on strategic issues were rare. Saddam was the Regime in a strategic sense and his intent became IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s strategic policy.
SaddamĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspectionsĂ˘â‚¬â€ťto gain support for lifting sanctionsĂ˘â‚¬â€ťwith his intention to preserve IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. Indeed, this remained the goal to the end of the Regime, as the starting of any WMD program, conspicuous or otherwise, risked undoing the progress achieved in eroding sanctions and jeopardizing a political end to the embargo and international monitoring.
The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued BaghdadĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.
By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.
Saddam wanted to recreate IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s WMD capabilityĂ˘â‚¬â€ťwhich was essentially destroyed in 1991Ă˘â‚¬â€ťafter sanctions were removed and IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capabilityĂ˘â‚¬â€ťin an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risksĂ˘â‚¬â€ťbut he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.
Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.
Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judges that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped SaddamĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s belief in the value of WMD. In SaddamĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s view, WMD helped to save the Regime multiple times. He believed that during the Iran-Iraq war chemical weapons had halted Iranian ground offensives and that ballistic missile attacks on Tehran had broken its political will. Similarly, during Desert Storm, 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 ShiĂ˘â‚¬â„˘a revolt in the south following the 1991 cease-fire.
The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them."
And, just to address your "seed stock" hyperbole, here is the single reference I could find in the "Biological Warfare" chapter, which is cited in the "Key Findings" section of that chapter (I have itallicized the words which appear near the end of quoted section to make them easier to find - please note they were not emphasized in the original text this way):
The Biological Warfare (BW) program was born of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and this service retained its connections with the program either directly or indirectly throughout its existence.
The IIS provided the BW program with security and participated in biological research, probably for its own purposes, from the beginning of IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s BW effort in the early 1970s until the final days of Saddam HusaynĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Regime.
In 1991, Saddam Husayn regarded BW as an integral element of his arsenal of WMD weapons, and would have used it if the need arose.
At a meeting of the Iraqi leadership immediately prior to the Gulf war in 1991, Saddam Husayn personally authorized the use of BW weapons against Israel, Saudi Arabia and US forces. Although the exact nature of the circumstances that would trigger use was not spelled out, they would appear to be a threat to the leadership itself or the US resorting to Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“unconventional harmful types of weapons.Ă˘â‚¬?
Saddam envisaged all-out use. For example, all Israeli cities were to be struck and all the BW weapons at his disposal were to be used. Saddam specified that the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“many yearsĂ˘â‚¬? agents, presumably anthrax spores, were to be employed against his foes.
ISG judges that IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s actions between 1991 and 1996 demonstrate that the state intended to preserve its BW capability and return to a steady, methodical progress toward a mature BW program when and if the opportunity arose.
ISG assesses that in 1991, Iraq clung to the objective of gaining war-winning weapons with the strategic intention of achieving the ability to project its power over much of the Middle East and beyond. Biological weapons were part of that plan. With an eye to the future and aiming to preserve some measure of its BW capability, Baghdad in the years immediately after Desert Storm sought to save what it could of its BW infrastructure and covertly continue BW research, hide evidence of that and earlier efforts, and dispose of its existing weapons stocks.
From 1992 to 1994, Iraq greatly expanded the capability of its Al Hakam facility. Indigenously produced 5 cubic meter fermentors were installed, electrical and water utilities were expanded, and massive new construction to house its desired 50 cubic meter fermentors were completed.
With the economy at rock bottom in late 1995, ISG judges that Baghdad abandoned its existing BW program in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut BaghdadĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s ability to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions.
In practical terms, with the destruction of the Al Hakam facility, Iraq abandoned its ambition to obtain advanced BW weapons quickly. ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes. Indeed, from the mid-1990s, despite evidence of continuing interest in nuclear and chemical weapons, there appears to be a complete absence of discussion or even interest in BW at the Presidential level.
Iraq would have faced great difficulty in re-establishing an effective BW agent production capability. Nevertheless, after 1996 Iraq still had a significant dual-use capabilityĂ˘â‚¬â€ťsome declaredĂ˘â‚¬â€ťreadily useful for BW if the Regime chose to use it to pursue a BW program. Moreover, Iraq still possessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre.
Any attempt to create a new BW program after 1996 would have encountered a range of major hurdles. The years following Desert Storm wrought a steady degradation of IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s industrial base: new equipment and spare parts for existing machinery became difficult and expensive to obtain, standards of maintenance declined, staff could not receive training abroad, and foreign technical assistance was almost impossible to get. Additionally, IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s infrastructure and public utilities were crumbling. New large projects, particularly if they required special foreign equipment and expertise, would attract international attention. UN monitoring of dual-use facilities up to the end of 1998, made their use for clandestine purpose complicated and risk laden.
Depending on its scale, Iraq could have re-established an elementary BW program within a few weeks to a few months of a decision to do so, but ISG discovered no indications that the Regime was pursuing such a course.
In spite of the difficulties noted above, a BW capability is technically the easiest WMD to attain. Although equipment and facilities were destroyed under UN supervision in 1996, Iraq retained technical BW know-how through the scientists that were involved in the former program. ISG has also identified civilian facilities and equipment in Iraq that have dual-use application that could be used for the production of agent.
ISG judges that in 1991 and 1992, Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent. However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction. Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
After the passage of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687 in April 1991, Iraqi leaders decided not to declare the offensive BW program and in consequence ordered all evidence of the program erased. Iraq declared that BW program personnel sanitized the facilities and destroyed the weapons and their contents.
Iraq declared the possession of 157 aerial bombs and 25 missile warheads containing BW agent. ISG assesses that the evidence for the original number of bombs is uncertain. ISG judges that Iraq clandestinely destroyed at least 132 bombs and 25 missiles. ISG continued the efforts of the UN at the destruction site but found no remnants of further weapons. This leaves the possibility that the fragments of up to 25 bombs may remain undiscovered. Of these, any that escaped destruction would probably now only contain degraded agent.
ISG does not have a clear account of bulk agent destruction. Official Iraqi sources and BW personnel, state that Al Hakam staff destroyed stocks of bulk agent in mid 1991. However, the same personnel admit concealing details of the movement and destruction of bulk BW agent in the first half of 1991. Iraq continued to present information known to be untrue to the UN up to OIF. Those involved did not reveal this until several months after the conflict.
Dr. Rihab Rashid Taha Al Ă˘â‚¬ËśAzzawi, head of the bacterial program claims she retained BW seed stocks until early 1992 when she destroyed them. ISG has not found a means of verifying this. Some seed stocks were retained by another Iraqi official until 2003 when they were recovered by ISG.
ISG is aware of BW-applicable research since 1996, but ISG judges it was not conducted in connection with a BW program.
ISG has uncovered no evidence of illicit research conducted into BW agents by universities or
The work conducted on a biopesticide (Bacillus thuringiensis) at Al Hakam until 1995 would serve to maintain the basic skills required by scientists to produce and dry anthrax spores (Bacillus anthracis) but ISG has not discovered evidence suggesting this was the RegimeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s intention. However in 1991, research and production on biopesticide and single cell protein (SCP) was selected by Iraq to provide cover for Al HakamĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s role in IraqĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s BW program. Similar work conducted at the Tuwaitha Agricultural and Biological Research Center (TABRC) up to OIF also maintained skills that were applicable to BW, but again, ISG found no evidence to suggest that this was the intention.
Similarly, ISG found no information to indicate that the work carried out by TABRC into Single Cell Protein (SCP) was a cover story for continuing research into the production of BW agents, such as C. botulinum and B. anthracis, after the destruction of Al Hakam through to OIF.
TABRC conducted research and development (R&D) programs to enable indigenous manufacture of bacterial growth media. Although these media are suitable for the bulk production of BW agents, ISG has found no evidence to indicate that their development and testing were specifically for this purpose.
Although Iraq had the basic capability to work with variola major (smallpox), ISG found no evidence that it retained any stocks of smallpox or actively conducted research into this agent for BW intentions.
The IIS had a series of laboratories that conducted biological work including research into BW agents for assassination purposes until the mid-1990s. ISG has not been able to establish the scope and nature of the work at these laboratories or determine whether any of the work was related to military development of BW agent.
The security services operated a series of laboratories in the Baghdad area. Iraq should have declared these facilities and their equipment to the UN, but they did not. Neither the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) nor the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) were aware of their existence or inspected them.
Some of the laboratories possessed equipment capable of supporting research into BW agents for military purposes, but ISG does not know whether this occurred although there is no evidence of it. The laboratories were probably the successors of the Al Salman facility, located three kilometers south of Salman Pak, which was destroyed in 1991, and they carried on many of the same activities, including forensic work.
Under the aegis of the intelligence service, a secretive team developed assassination instruments using poisons or toxins for the Iraqi state. A small group of scientists, doctors and technicians conducted secret experiments on human beings, resulting in their deaths. The aim was probably the development of poisons, including ricin and aflatoxin to eliminate or debilitate the RegimeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s opponents. It appears that testing on humans continued until the mid 1990s. There is no evidence to link these tests with the development of BW agents for military use.
In spite of exhaustive investigation, ISG found no evidence that Iraq possessed, or was developing BW agent production systems mounted on road vehicles or railway wagons.
Prior to OIF there was information indicating Iraq had planned and built a breakout BW capability, in the form of a set of mobile production units, capable of producing BW agent at short notice in sufficient quantities to weaponize. Although ISG has conducted a thorough investigation of every aspect of this information, it has not found any equipment suitable for such a program, nor has ISG positively identified any sites. No documents have been uncovered. Interviews with individuals suspected of involvement have all proved
ISG harbors severe doubts about the sourceĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s credibility in regards to the breakout program.
ISG thoroughly examined two trailers captured in 2003, suspected of being mobile BW agent production units, and investigated the associated evidence. ISG judges that its Iraqi makers almost certainly designed and built the equipment exclusively for the generation of hydrogen. It is impractical to use the equipment for the production and weaponization of BW agent. ISG judges that it cannot therefore be part of any BW program."
Given there are probably another 50 pages of text that never mention these "seed stocks" again, and nowhere is the type of Biological Weapon these "seed stocks" represent noted. In fact, the bulk of the actual factual reporting says things like "there was no evidence to support that Saddam was doing this, that or the other thing" yet Chip, you get hung up on the near meaningless, rumor-like clauses that Duelfer hangs on the end with lines like "but the ISG still thinks he could have done something if he tried again in the future" all of which are unsupported. Which, in my book means they amount to no more than gratuitous, sycophantic, and toadyish gesturing and bowing. Either read the Duelfer report in its entirety and quote from it in context or just put it down.
chiphomme - 2/23/2006 3:36 PM
No the stockpiles of WMDs that were expected to found weren't (much to the embarrassment of the US)but that doesn't change the point of this argument. Saddam was a threat and thank goodness we took him out before he got to the North Korean stage.
As an aside, I always thought the WMD angle wasn't the best. There were so many other reasons to knock that butcher out of power (from mass graves to terrorist support).
You are entitled to your opinion. The Congress authorized the invasion of Iraq based on the WMD story, which was bullshit. A different argument about your concerns with Saddam and his inhuman treatment of the people in and around Iraq who opposed him should have been posed, debated and action plans resolved by Congress as appropriate. Unfortunately, Congress already issued a Resolution on this subject and concluded no US armed forces would be deployed, although the United States would fund and support an internal opposition to overthrow Saddam, if such an organization was formed and asked for help. Jim