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View Full Version : Have WMD ever been found in Iraq?


HubZilla
09-13-2002, 06:35 AM
Even before the inspectors were kicked out, they were inspecting Iraq for the better part of a decade.

Has there EVER been a cache of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons found in all those inspections?

Could it be possible there aren't any?

MEBuckner
09-13-2002, 06:54 AM
It depends on what you mean by "weapons of mass destruction", a somewhat imprecise term. However, since the original post included "chemical weapons", the answer is a definitive yes.

Iraq's chemical weapons programs are quite well documented: see [Iraqi] Chemical Weapons Programs (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/cw/program.htm) and UNSCOM and Iraqi Chemical Weapons (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/cw/unscom.htm) on the Federation of American Scientists website. Iraq not only developed chemical weapons, it used them, on both external enemies (Iran) and elements of its own population (the Kurds), and this doesn't seem to be seriously in dispute.

Biological weapons: "Iraq had a comprehensive and well-advanced offensive biological weapons programme, ranging from research and development on a variety of bacteriological agents, viruses and toxins through the production, weaponization and military deployment of biological and toxin weapons." (UNSCOM and the Iraqi Biological Weapons Program (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/bw/unscom.htm), also from the FAS). See also the Iraqi Biological Weapons Program (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/bw/program.htm) page on that site ("Iraq's biological weapons program embraced a comprehensive range of agents and munitions").

Nuclear weapons: These are of a different order of magnitude than chemical and even most biological weapons in terms of destructiveness. (Theoretically one could imagine a biological weapon which is self-replicating and could wipe out most of the human race, but I believe most Iraqi bioweapons were biologically derived toxins and agents like anthrax spores, which don't self-replicate or spread from person to person.) Iraq's progress towards nuclear weapons was clearly never as extensive as it was towards biological or chemical weapons (the latter of which Iraq actually used in warfare, as previously mentioned), but there seems little doubt that Iraq has tried for nuclear weapons in the past. See the FAS' reports on Iraq's nuclear weapons program (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/nuke/index.html). The main controversy is over how close they came, and how close they are today.

HubZilla
09-13-2002, 07:24 AM
Right, but most of those are pre-Gulf War (especially chemical). Have they found any in their post-war inspections?

UDS
09-13-2002, 07:32 AM
Yes. Read the links provided by MEBuckner. I quote at random

"A significant number of chemical weapons, their components and related equipment were identified and destroyed under UNSCOM supervision in the period from 1991 to 1997. This included over 38,000 filled and unfilled chemical munitions, 690 tons of chemical warfare agents, more than 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals and over 400 pieces of production equipment. "

MEBuckner
09-13-2002, 07:32 AM
Well, one of the conditions for the cease-fire at the end of the Gulf War was that Iraq had to give up such weapons. The inspections were to ensure that Iraq was complying with the terms of the cease-fire; there was a certain amount of Iraqi intransigence about cooperating fully with the inspection teams when they were operating. The inspection teams haven't been in Iraq for several years now; given that they developed these weapons in the past, and now won't let people in to verify that they aren't developing them now, it doesn't seem insanely paranoid to fear they may have cranked up some new programs. Of course we don't know, because there are no inspectors over there--that's kind of the point.

London_Calling
09-13-2002, 07:43 AM
Originally posted by HubZilla
Even before the inspectors were kicked out, they were inspecting Iraq for the better part of a decade.



They were not "kicked out". They left on Clinton's specific instructions because they were hampered. 'Hampered' by whom remains contentious, some (Ritter - who claims he resigned from UNSCOM because of US manipulation) says they were intentionally hampered by Clinton/Allbright because the US didn't want Saddam to fully comply, others (Bush but then he would) say Saddam. Either you accept what you're told to accept or you look at what actually happened. Lots of games were played.

With all due respect, there isn't a dearth of information about the issue on this board, in newspapers, on teevee and on the Internet. I'd suggest trying a search for UNSCOM, anywhere you want. And actually read MEBuckner's links.