You may remember that in 2002, the year before the Iraq War began, the United Nations Security Council ordered Iraq to produce a report detailing all of its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons past and present. Iraqi officials complied and produced an 11,800-page report on Iraq’s weapons programs. The report described all the chemical and biological weapons the country once had where they came from and what was done with them as well as what had happened to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.
Although the report was prepared for the United Nations, U.S. officials intercepted the report, edited out 8,000 pages (over two thirds) of it, and delivered its Reader’s Digest version of the report to the UN.
A German reporter managed to obtain a copy of the original report from Iraq, and then compared it with the truncated copy the U.S. gave to the UN. He found that the missing parts covered the Iraqis’ acquisition of chemical and biological weapons from the U.S., the delivery of non-fissionable materials for a nuclear bomb by the U.S. to the Iraqis, and the training of Iraqi nuclear scientists at U.S. nuclear facilities in Los Alamos, Sandia, and Berkeley.
The basic points made in the report were:
Iraq once had chemical and biological weapons.
Some of those weapons were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.
Iraq once had a program to develop nuclear weapons.
Some of the nuclear weapons facilities were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.
UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said the conclusions stated in the report were basically true that Iraq no longer had dangerous weapons.
Colin Powell dismissed the report, calling it a "catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions." Of course, as we now know, the information was recycled because it happened to be true, and the omissions were flagrant because U.S. officials had done the omitting.
Hussein said he would be like to bring the UN weapons inspectors back to Iraq. (They had left for safety reasons in 1998 when President Clinton resumed air strikes against Iraq.) President Bush called Hussein’s offer a "cynical ploy" and managed to nip any such idea in the bud.
Hussein also invited the U.S. Congress to send representatives, accompanied by experts, to inspect any facilities in Iraq that they wanted. President Bush said this changed nothing, and he managed to derail the sending of a Congressional delegation.
Over and over, George Bush told us that Saddam Hussein was lying, that he was dragging his feet, that Iraq had dangerous weapons, that Hussein was a threat to the whole world,
Now here we are, over two years later. What have we learned?
Everything Hussein said about the weapons has turned out to be true.
Everything George Bush said about Iraq’s weapons has turned out to be false.
The Bush administration is trying to sugar-coat the above conclusions by saying that the recently concluded weapons hunt by Charles Duelfer and the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group (ISG) discovered an "intent" by Hussein to renew his WMD programs if the U.S. would only stay out of Iraq. However, Duelfer has provided absolutely no hard evidence of such an "intent." Once again we’re getting firm assertions backed up by nothing.
Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has summed it all up very well:
One of the tragic ironies of the decision to invade Iraq is that the Iraqi WMD declaration required by security council resolution 1441, submitted by Iraq in December 2002, and summarily rejected by Bush and Blair as repackaged falsehoods, now stands as the most accurate compilation of data yet assembled regarding Iraq's WMD programs (more so than even Duelfer's ISG report, which contains much unsubstantiated speculation). Saddam Hussein has yet to be contradicted on a single point of substantive fact. Iraq had disarmed; no one wanted to accept that conclusion.
In other words, the Butcher of Baghdad was correct; the President of the United States of America was wrong. The Butcher of Baghdad will be put on trial for "war crimes." The President of the United States of America was reelected to "lead" the country for four more years.
It’s a sorry state of affairs in America when you can trust the words of Saddam Hussein more than those of your own President.
January 17, 2005