Sunday, April 20, 2003

On Iraq's imaginary weapons of mass destruction:

  1. The Americans and British have desperately been searching for weapons of mass destruction, but despite some very embarrassing false alarms, haven't found as much as an illegal toothpick.

  2. Scott Ritter, who is in a position to know, had always insisted that the inspection process of the early 1990's did work to significantly reduce Iraq's stocks of weapons and its ability to manufacture more. Most chemical weapons lose their effectiveness after five years, and biological weapons degrade in three years.

  3. The Americans and the British have enforced the sanctions against Iraq so cruelly, essentially banning anything, even necessary medical or water treatment equipment, on the malicious basis that it could possibly have military use, that Iraq was in no position to obtain the materials to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. The use of the sanctions against the people of Iraq by Britain and the United States was a crime against humanity. The Iraqis are aware of the bad faith with which the sanctions were administered, and are aware of who was to blame, an awareness which explains their unfavorable reaction to the American invasion.

  4. General Hussein Kamel, who defected to the west, and was killed by Saddam when he returned to Iraq, stated categorically that Iraq had destroyed all its remaining weapons of mass destruction in 1995. What adds credibility to his story is the fact that he claimed that Iraq still maintained the intellectual property basis to restart a program of weapons of mass destruction once it was no longer under the inspection process, and therefore wasn't simply providing a blanket excuse for Saddam. The Americans and British consistently have used parts of Kamel's testimony to create a misleading view of Iraq, and have hidden the parts which prove that there are no longer weapons of mass destruction.

  5. A three-star Iraqi general told the Guardian that the country had purged itself completely of weapons of mass destruction after the 1991 Gulf war.

  6. Hans Blix and his inspection crew, despite not receiving any help from the Americans, managed to find what amount to the old remnants of what Iraq had from the 1980's (much of it bought from the Americans), but nothing else. The fact that they were able to find some old weapons but nothing else is strong, but not conclusive, evidence that there isn't anything else to find.

  7. Saddam's top scientific advisor, Lieutenant-General Amer Hammoudi al-Saadi, has surrendered to US forces. He insists that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction.

  8. Iraq was in no position to have state-of-the-art weapons of mass destruction. Since use of such weapons invites retaliation, it would be foolish to use such weapons against the Americans and face much better weapons, even nuclear weapons, in return. If you can't use the weapons, and if the risk of their discovery would lead to an attack on Iraq, it is perfectly logical for Iraq to have completely destroyed whatever weapons of mass destruction it had.

So what will it take for people to accept the obvious? Tony and George needed an excuse for their war, and, all the other excuses having evaporated into thin air, weapons of mass delusion are all they have left. At this point, it is politically essential for Tony Blair to find some weapons of mass destruction. The Americans are gloating about the war they believe they've won so much that the minor detail that it was completly illegal and immoral is of no political concern to Bush. The fact that the Americans have no pressing need to find the weapons probably explains why they haven't been planted yet. Since the British and Americans are keeping any international oversight away from their quest for these imaginary weapons, anything that is found now will lack any credibility.