October 15, 2003


Why We Went to War: The case for the war in Iraq, with
testimony from Bill Clinton. (Robert Kagan & William Kristol, 10/20/2003, Weekly Standard)

Here is what was known by 1998 based on Iraq's own admissions:

* That in the years immediately prior to the first Gulf War, Iraq produced at least 3.9 tons of VX, a deadly nerve gas, and acquired 805 tons of precursor ingredients for the production of more VX.

* That Iraq had produced or imported some 4,000 tons of ingredients to produce other types of poison gas.

* That Iraq had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax.

* That Iraq had produced 500 bombs fitted with parachutes for the purpose of delivering poison gas or germ payloads.

* That Iraq had produced 550 artillery shells filled with mustard gas.

* That Iraq had produced or imported 107,500 casings for chemical weapons.

* That Iraq had produced at least 157 aerial bombs filled with germ agents.

* That Iraq had produced 25 missile warheads containing germ agents (anthrax, aflatoxin, and botulinum).

Again, this list of weapons of mass destruction is not what the Iraqi government was suspected of producing. (That would be a longer list, including an Iraqi nuclear program that the German intelligence service had concluded in 2001 might produce a bomb within three years.) It was what the Iraqis admitted producing. And it is this list of weapons--not any CIA analysis under either the Clinton or Bush administrations--that has been at the heart of the Iraq crisis.

For in all the years after those admissions, the Iraqi government never explained, or even tried to explain, to anyone's satisfaction, including most recently, that of Hans Blix, what had become of the huge quantities of deadly weapons it had produced. The Iraqi government repeatedly insisted that most of the weapons had been "secretly" destroyed. When asked to produce credible evidence of the destruction--the location of destruction sites, fragments of destroyed weapons, some documentation of the destruction, anything at all--the Iraqis refused.

We always thought that the war could stand justified or fall on just one UN Resolution and Saddam's refusal to comply with same:
UNSCR 688 (April 5, 1991) "condemns" Saddam Hussein's repression of the Iraqi civilian population -- "the consequences of which threaten international peace and security." UNSCR 688 also requires Saddam Hussein to end his repression of the Iraqi people and to allow immediate access to international humanitarian organizations to help those in need of assistance.

In effect, the negotiated end of the first Iraq War required him to leave power. He didn't. We made him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 15, 2003 12:19 AM

Here are two great examples of why the facts don't matter to some people.

Tony Snow interviewed Jay Rockefeller, leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee in July and again last Sunday.

Rockefeller's mental gymnastics in the second (after the release of the Kay report) are amazing. Tony showed him old video, read the Senator some of his own old quotes, etc. The responses go beyond logical inconsistency.

If there is a third part in this interview series, Rockefeller will be the guy in the helmet and flak jacket.

Posted by: Dave in LA at October 15, 2003 11:38 AM
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