Tuesday | July 22, 2003
WMD: doesn't matter any more
By Steve Gilliard
Deputy defense secretary says weapons issue is now secondary in Iraq
OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN (AP) Finding the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction ....... is now a secondary issue, says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
''I'm not concerned about weapons of mass destruction,'' Wolfowitz told a group of reporters traveling with him. ''I'm concerned about getting Iraq on its feet. I didn't come (to Iraq) on a search for weapons of mass destruction.''
''If you could get in a relaxed conversation with Iraqis on that subject they'd say why on earth are you Americans fussing so much about this historical issue when we have real problems here, when Baathists are killing us and Baathists are threatening us and we don't have electricity and we don't have jobs. Those are the real issues.
''I'm not saying that getting to the bottom of this WMD issue isn't important. It is important. But it is not of immediate consequence.''
Funny how a few months change things:
A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States. (Applause.)
Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons -- not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.
Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world. The 108 U.N. inspectors were sent to conduct -- were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.
The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.
The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.
Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, and our friends and our allies. The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups
Hey, but it's all water under the bridge, now, right?
Well, it isn't. It's all very simple.
The President said there was a clear, direct threat to the US. None can be found after months in Iraq. Why? No matter how Wolfowitz spins it, that's the question. What happened to the threat Saddam posed to US forces in the Persian Gulf? Did it exist or was it made up in order to invade Iraq?Posted July 22, 2003 03:21 AM