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March 5, 2004
Libya: 44,000 Pounds of Mustard Gas

George Bush's alliance with Tony Blair in using force to unseat Saddam Hussein continued to bear fruit as Libya revealed the extent of their chemical weapons programs at the Hague earlier today:

Libya acknowledged stockpiling 44,000 pounds of mustard gas and disclosed the location of a production plant in a declaration submitted Friday to the world's chemical weapons watchdog. Libyan Col. Mohamed Abu Al Huda handed over 14 file cartons disclosing Libya's chemical weapons programs to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said general director Rogelio Pfirter. ...

Libya also declared thousands of tons of precursors that could be used to make sarin nerve gas, and two storage facilities, Pfirter said. The production and storage facilities were near Tripoli and in the south of the country, Pfirter said.

Even Moammar Gaddafi acknowledges that the military action by the Anglo-American Coalition, which included support from over thirty other nations, forced Libya to comply with international agreements on disarmament and the elimination of chemical weapons. Pulling Saddam out of his hole in the Sunni Triangle made the dangers of further obstinacy crystal-clear to Gaddafi, who has quickly settled all accounts with the West in the hopes that Libya will not apprear on the Coalition's short list of potential dangers.

Our previously feckless foreign policy in the Middle East created the environment that allowed tyrants like Saddam and Gaddafi to thumb their noses at international pressure for compliance in WMD disarmament. Why would we want to return to that policy? Ask yourselves this: had we still been at the UN Security Council, demanding action on seventeen previous UNSC resolutions for Iraqi compliance and watching Saddam continuing his brutal reign in Baghdad, do you think for a moment Gaddafi would have voluntarily given up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs? If so, then why did he wait until 2003 to do so?

UPDATE: Power Line weighs in with an important point regarding parallels between Libya and Iraq:

It was frequently pointed out by United Nations authorities at that time, that the U.N. inspectors were never intended to be detectives. The procedure for weapons inspections was designed to help a cooperative government identify and safely dispose of weapons. It was never designed to somehow outsmart a government that was trying to hide weapons programs from the inspectors. And, as every U.N. report on Iraq plainly stated, Saddam's regime was not cooperative, not forthcoming, and not honest in its dealings with the inspectors.

In Libya, we see the weapons inspection process as it was intended to occur, but in Iraq, never could have taken place.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 5, 2004 9:05 AM

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