In the summer of 1991, after the first Gulf War, the first inspections of Iraqi WMD began. Amazingly, on the first biological weapons inspection, the Iraqi representatives, led by the infamous Dr. Taha, announced that they had, indeed, a program to develop biological weapons. Their rationale at the time was that they did it because they suspected other countries around them, including Israel, had similar weapons. Basically, they said they were in a BW arms race.
They made 2 other statements that were equally amazing:
First, they stated that they did not have a defensive program, meaning that they were not interested in developing vaccines and antidotes to protect their own troop, soldiers, and laboratory workers. Their interest was only in having the weapons and if people in Iraq died because of accidents or an attack from outside, so what.
Secondly, they stated that the allied bombings carried out in January of 1991 destroyed all of their production and testing facilities. We know for a fact that this last statement was a lie as later inspections would find other facilities not bombed and stockpiles of bombs that were filled with BW agents, among them anthrax. Those stockpiles were eliminated but there are 2 things to consider before we state that Iraq is BW “germ free”:
- These dangerous germs are invisible to the naked eye and stocks can be stored in containers that fit in your pocket, so how can we be sure the country is free of these stocks?
- The main thing that separates offensive BW work form legitimate infectious disease work is the intent of the user, so how do we get in the head of the scientists that remain in Iraq and convince ourselves that their intentions are good?