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In a NY Times article about Karl Rove’s new book “Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight” reporter Peter Baker notes that, according to Rove, former President Bush would not have gone to war in Iraq had there not been weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) there. WOW!
Of course Baker then goes on to show Rove’s speculation that Congress would not have approved (NO KIDDING) and that the administration would have tried “other means” to limit Saddam’s tyranny. REALLY?
For most folks this probably means “case closed”, at best the Bush administration (and the Brits) simply goofed in their intelligence estimates of what was going on in Iraq at the time. BUT, from both sides of the politics there are a couple of chapters remaining to answer a few lingering questions:
“If that was the main reason, what was the rush to war?”
“Who really thought the US could go to war against a biological weapons program that could hide enough force to kill millions of people on the head of a pin or inside the barrel of a pen?”
“How far had Saddam gone with his illegal WMD programs when he threw out the inspectors in 1998 and what happened to those bombs, toxin and bacterial stocks between 1998 and 2003?” Remember that it is a fact that Iraq had admitted a program at the end of the first Gulf War & UN inspectors through at least 1995 had uncovered a rudimentary but significant weapons program.
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?
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