Tuesday, June 03, 2003


I thought maybe with the war over, I wouldn't have to write about this stuff anymore. But I keep finding bloggers commenting about Saddam's WMDs, and I'm getting irked.

It has never, EVER, been in dispute that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. The inventory prepared by the UN over the 7 years the inspectors were at work is sickening. Thousand of liters of anthrax, tons of botulinum toxin, VX gas, Sarin, Mustard gas. All these things were in Iraq, and not one serious person on the entire planet disputes it. And they were all there in 1998, when the Clinton administration turned its cowardly blind eye to the ejection of the UN inspectors.

In 1991, the UN Security Council passed resolution 687, demanding among other things, that (par. 8) "Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of: (a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities." Paragraphs 1 and 2 of SCR 1441 explicitly recall this requirement, and promises "serious consequences" for not complying. In diplomatic language it demands "full and verified completion [of] the disarmament process established by resolution 687," that is, proof.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction argument was not simply that Saddam had them. It was that he was known to have had them and refused to prove that he no longer did. Now, if a criminal with a history of gun violence, as a condition of his parole, is required to surrender all his pistols, and he instead boards himself up in his house, do you: a) take him at his word that there are no guns inside; or, b) presume he's lying?

The french and others were demanding "much more time" for inspections before going to war. While no definition was offered, I presume "much more time" means something longer than 6 weeks, with half the people who might have information still at large, and the rest not in custody long enough to have been interrogated fully.

But the facts are these, and they are not in dispute. The last time anyone had enough time to look in Iraq, Saddam had literally tons of poisons and germ-weapons. The UN and the US all along insisted not only that they be destroyed, but that proof of that destruction be given. No one on the reconstituted UNMOVIC ever claimed Iraq had proven the destruction, and the team in fact complained of "limited" cooperation and of some obstruction. The UN and the US insisted on complete cooperation, a final chance, and "serious consequences."

The only people being "spun" are the people who never read the UN resolutions, or who supposed that War with Iraq qas fought with a single, narrow purpose.


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