November 9th, 2006
|06:29 pm - Speaking of Iraq...|
First from the Whitehouse's site, a quote from Bush:
Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?
From the National Security Archive, a page on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
From its press release:
Washington, D.C. - Almost a year after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Bush administration faces growing skepticism over its claim that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs posed a gathering threat to the United States. The continued failure of Coalition forces to locate a single biological, chemical or nuclear weapon has called into question the original premise for the war.
Recent statements by former officials and newly available intelligence analyses have heated up the controversy. In particular, testimony by senior weapons inspector David Kay that "we were all wrong, probably" has raised the stakes, contributing to President Bush's reluctant agreement to name an outside review panel to look at the pre-war intelligence process on Iraq's WMD program, and prompting CIA Director George Tenet to launch a highly public defense of the U.S. intelligence community.
I never had heard the definitive word on the tractor-trailers recovered and claimed to be "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program." It was apparently concluded that they were used for to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.
There has been evidence of undeclared programs uncovered:
In addition, Kay summarized some of the Survey Group's discoveries, which included: a clandestine network of laboratories and safe-houses controlled by the Iraqi Intelligence Services containing equipment suitable for CBW research; reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientists home; documents and equipment hidden in scientists' homes that could be used for resuming uranium enrichment activities; and a continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD missiles.
In short, they might've had nuclear capability or biological weapons, but they sure didn't when we attacked. In fact, it is believed that all the things we thought they still had were actually destroyed by "unilateral Iraqi action" after the first war.
Wlad told us that in the ancient Greek city states, there was a procedure for handling these kind of alarmist bits of intelligence. If a shepherd boy saw the Persian fleet sailing for the coast and ran into town proclaiming the news, the city would elect a group of "theoros"--called a "theoreia"--to calmly go and verify the claim. The more urgent and alarmist the news, the more the theoreia would demonstrate its calm, collected, slow, patient manner. When the messenger arrived with the news that the battle of Marathon had been won--and remember, it was 26 miles away--five lame men were sent to verify the victory.
Compare this with the claim that we can't wait for the "mushroom cloud" to prove that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. I often think that one of the government's roles should be to quell the fears and violent impulses of the populace, rather than amplify them.