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April 27, 2004
WMD Not Missing At All

Ever since the David Kay interim report was released in December stating Kay's pessimism about ever finding actual weapons and chemical/biological agents, conventional wisdom has held that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction -- and in fact that our intelligence and that of most of the world was so faulty that we all missed Saddam's disarmament after the first Gulf War. Little attention has been given to the rest of Kay's report, which clearly laid out that Saddam had been in material violation of UNSC Resolution 1441 and the other sixteen which preceded it by hiding and maintaining the activities and systems which could quickly reconstitute WMD programs as soon as the heat was off.

Now Kenneth Timmerman has provided a second look at the WMD question, informing us that WMD has indeed been found in Iraq -- even though our national media apparently prefers to stick with the established story line instead of actually reporting the news (via Power Line):

In virtually every case - chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles - the United States has found the weapons and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years from U.N. weapons inspectors. ... In testimony before Congress on March 30, Duelfer, revealed that the ISG had found evidence of a "crash program" to construct new plants capable of making chemical- and biological-warfare agents. The ISG also found a previously undeclared program to build a "high-speed rail gun," a device apparently designed for testing nuclear-weapons materials. That came in addition to 500 tons of natural uranium stockpiled at Iraq's main declared nuclear site south of Baghdad, which International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky acknowledged to Insight had been intended for "a clandestine nuclear-weapons program."

In taking apart Iraq's clandestine procurement network, Duelfer said his investigators had discovered that "the primary source of illicit financing for this system was oil smuggling conducted through government-to-government protocols negotiated with neighboring countries [and] from kickback payments made on contracts set up through the U.N. oil-for-food program" [see "Documents Prove U.N. Oil Corruption," April 27-May 10].

So not only has the ISG discovered the banned materials as well as the programs, Congress has heard this in testimony just four weeks ago -- and yet have you read anything about this in the media? With the UN Oil-for-Food scam in the headlines, you would think that journalists would start drawing lines between the OFF funding and Saddam's established and nascent weapons programs. And there's more:

When coalition forces entered Iraq, "huge warehouses and caches of 'commercial and agricultural' chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists," Hanson writes. "What was surprising was how quickly the ISG refuted the findings of our ground forces and how silent they have been on the significance of these caches."

Caches of "commercial and agricultural" chemicals don't match the expectation of "stockpiles" of chemical weapons. But, in fact, that is precisely what they are. "At a very minimum," Hanson tells Insight, "they were storing the precursors to restart a chemical-warfare program very quickly." Kay and Duelfer came to a similar conclusion, telling Congress under oath that Saddam had built new facilities and stockpiled the materials to relaunch production of chemical and biological weapons at a moment's notice.

At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area, Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that was shown to reporters - with unpleasant results. "More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson says. "But later ISG tests resulted in a proclamation of negative, end of story, nothing to see here, etc., and the earlier findings and injuries dissolved into nonexistence. Left unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6 feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also colocated with a military ammunition dump - evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG."

That wasn't the only significant find by coalition troops of probable CW stockpiles, Hanson believes. Near the northern Iraqi town of Bai'ji, where Saddam had built a chemical-weapons plant known to the United States from nearly 12 years of inspections, elements of the 4th Infantry Division found 55-gallon drums containing a substance identified through mass spectrometry analysis as cyclosarin - a nerve agent. Nearby were surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, gas masks and a mobile laboratory that could have been used to mix chemicals at the site. "Of course, later tests by the experts revealed that these were only the ubiquitous pesticides that everybody was turning up," Hanson says. "It seems Iraqi soldiers were obsessed with keeping ammo dumps insect-free, according to the reading of the evidence now enshrined by the conventional wisdom that 'no WMD stockpiles have been discovered.'"

However, as Timmerman himself notes, the new information doesn't fit within the established story line; to acknowedge this new reality, they will have to explain why they got it wrong before, and so far they don't seem inclined to do that. Read the entire article and judge for yourself.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 27, 2004 5:54 PM

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Which way did the Iraq's WMD's go? We know he had them, in fact everyone agreed he had them based on then current intel. But now, after the fact, when they have not been found its only Bush that has... [Read More]

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