Iraq: Yet Another Smoking Gun?

From today’s Times Online:

So, does this change any minds? Is this, along with the chemical and biological weapons, and SCUD launchers, and chemical rockets, and a forbidden nuclear program, and possible connections to al-Qaida, enough to convince anyone that the U.N. should sanction a war?

Reuters also reports that Iraq has imported 380 rocket engines, instrumentation, chemicals for propellant, and other hardware that is banned by the U.N.

I’ll point out that Iraq’s three biggest suppliers of technology and weapons are Russia, Germany, and France. All three of these countries oppose a war vehemently. You don’t suppose that we’ll discover that they’ve been providing hardware to Iraq in contravention to the U.N. sanctions?

Sorry about the screwed up link. I have no idea what happened there.

If this turns out to be of substance it is what I have been waiting for. Actual evidence of a program to develop long range WMDs and active pursuit would be enough to convince me.

Playing Devil’s advocate here. But I am sure you will get the arguement that illegal missiles are not necessarily WMD. am convinced that the usual suspects here that will not be convinced, will only be happy if the US is nuked or one of Saddam’s Republican Guard walks up to them and sprays a chem or bio spray in their face.

Circumstantial evidence will never be enough. And evidence like this is circumventable enough that they can somehow claim it as proof that we shouldn’t go to war and that Saddam doesn’t have WMD. of course, how they do that with a straight face i have no clue.

Excepting Hank of course. :smiley:

I need a VX enema, sorry, not enough for me.

Obviously, someone controls the links behind the scenes. You know, and the banks.

Sam, I’ve run into this link problem. It can be handled by clicking the box Disable Smilies in This Post The link is Reuters

It’s not circumstantial at all. The inspectors have these weapons in hand. It’s easy enough to verify their range. There is a catalog of banned items which all U.N. countries are forbidden from selling to Iraq, and Iraq is forbidden to possess. The inspectors have discovered a number of them. Things like a rocket test stand built to handle rockets five times more powerful than the sanctions allow for. Probably purchased from Russia or Germany or France. Rocket engines that are more powerful than are allowed for by the sanctions. Probably purchased from Russia (my guess).

These things are a clear violation of U.N. resolution 1441. This is much, much worse than those four chemical rockets that were found. This is equipment for a large, forbidden rocket development program.

I should have been more specific. I do not think anyone would seriously contend that Iraq is not in violation of UN resolutions. That is not what I was trying to say. I meant that it is circumstantial in saying that Saddam is a threat to the US and therefore no reason for invasion. So it would not be a “smoking gun” to them.

Has any body kept count how many times somebody has run screaming to the boards about absolutely totally it, this is it, the proof positive…what is this, ten? Eleven? Guess it kinds depends on whether you count the weapons grade lead being smuggled through Turkey.

Like the used to say “Recount after recount after recount”

“Smoking gun” after “smoking gun” after “smoking gun”.

Seriously, Sam, if the Iraqis do turn over these long-range missiles, that would constitute a huge step toward voluntary disarmament. Wouldn’t it be wrong to strike?

I am all for allowing Iraq to develop weapons of defense and allowing them to destroy any left over stuff and letting the inspectors do the job. But if they are altering missiles to make them long range and actively pusuing WMDs, they should be stopped. If they can be stopped by means other than war, I prefer that. I guess the real test for me will be if they destroy this stuff for all the world to see.

The reason these “smoking guns” are brought to your attention, elucidator, is to illustrate that whle any one of them is good enough, all of them together is overwhelming evidence.

If we were talking about Jesus, I could show you the cross, Holy Grail, death certificate, and 8x10 color glossy photographs and you’d still deny his existence.

It’s clear to me that nothing will meet your burden of proof. Then again, you don’t think Clinton was a perjurer either, so it’s even more clear to me that NOTHING meets your burden of proof.

Beagle, back in 1991, Saddam had the chance to leave us holding the bag. All he had to do was leave Kuwait. He didn’t do it, apparently because it was too obvious or something. What makes you think he’s any smarter now?

If he did give up, we would lose our justification temporarily. You and I both know that Saddam will never give up and follow the rules, however, so it’s simply a matter of time in any case.

I had one once. It gave me gas.

The character-string for one of our smilies snuck into the middle of the URL. I disabled smilies in that post (it’s one of the check boxes down at the bottom of the new post box, right above “Show Signature”) and it seems to work fine now.

Saddam Hussein? Violating UN disarmament resolutions? Shocking! This changes everything. By god, we must attack now, lest Osama Bin Laden unleash a wave of Saddam body-doubles strapped to suicide ricin bombs and atomic smallpox spores!

[sub]Dude, nobody doubts he’s got missiles and chemicals and would love to get his hands on nukes. Nobody, not even France, Germany, and Belgium. The question is, given that those weapons and dreams pose a very low risk to anyone other than Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, do we care enough to start a war that will inevitably piss off everyone from Indonesia to Morrocco, or do we find alternative ways to contain and/or kill the son of a bitch? Me, I’m not so thrilled about the prospect of creating another reason to hate us without a clear and specific threat to our own security.[/sub]

I agree with everything you say here. I always conjecture about the strangest possible action by Saddam. Total compliance, or enough to really account for everything there is evidence of, is about the strangest I can imagine. It would be a great triumph for UN disarmament, US sabre-rattling, and everyone goes home alive - win, win, win.

I hate the idea of Saddam in power, granted. He’s a sick man. But, avoiding war is a worthy goal, always, and especially in the case of Iraq if the disarmament objectives can be achieved. That would set a good precedent for the disarmament conflicts to come in other places.

minty, your sotto voce comments are right on the mark.

I still think we should get the bastard, though.

Oh, you forgot Israel and Turkey, two fairly glaring omissions. Other than that, no objections. :slight_smile:

Also, long-range missiles are the weapon that we would most want controlled. The proliferation of these things is bound to cause problems in the long run, and are the ones we most want to eliminate from the world’s stockpiles. The acquisition of nuclear missiles by many nations will turn out to be very destabilizing in areas with many nations bunched within range of everyone else. If you are looking for the “threat to vital interests” look no further than a seriously long-range ICBM.

Therefore, turning all of the long-range missiles, and destroying the program, would seriously degrade Saddam’s ability to threaten anyone. If he is looking for a way to buy time I could go along with, that one fine. Inspect some more, get more concessions, and so on.

Obviously the problem is that the compliance is dependent on multiple US carrier groups in the area and a huge air and ground force assembling. Effective, but costly and demanding diplomacy.