General Hussein Kamel is a key player in the U.S. case for Iraq’s weapons regime. His defector testimony has been cited again and again by administration officials as saying that Iraq had not destroyed its weapons.
Then, someone leaked a transcript of that fabled 1995 interview:
Kamel definately confirms what anyone should agree upon: Iraq still had ambitions to restart its weapons programs post 1991. But he also says that it did destroy its weapons in 1991 (“All weapons-- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed.”). Why is this a problem? Because the administration has repeatedly used this previously classified interview as part of their case for why Iraq is a danger, citing Kamel’s description of what weapons the regime had in 1991… and then simply ignoring the parts where Kamel says that these weapons were destroyed.
Indeed, the administration has basically used Kamel as the cornerstone of their argument that inspections don’t work in getting Saddam to disarm (which Kamel’s actual story contradicts), that Iraq will never disarm (again, Kamel describes them doing so), and, most ironically, that defectors are far more reliable sources of evidence than inspections findings.
Let’s keep in mind that, even though the administration has assured us that Kamel’s story is water-tight evidence, he never led us to any substantive proof or documentation of any weapons destruction. And, I’m sure if this story gets any big play in the media, it will soon be revealed that the administration doesn’t think we should put much stock into defector testimony… I mean, what are we: that guilible? Sheesh.
So, whither now? Well, Kamel’s story, if true, tells this.
- Up until Kamel’s defection, Iraq had every intention of starting its weapons programs up again sometime in the future, and has HAS been hiding the techonology and industrial equipment necessary to build them.
- It did, however, destroy the very same batches of weapons that administration has continually talked about (VX, anthrax, various nuclear components) all the way back in 1991.
- The administration has been very misleading up until know about point #2 whenever they publically cited Kamel (often citing him in ways that implied he gave them evidence of Iraq NOT destroying those very same weapons)
What do we make of all this?
(Newsweek has a story on this
(On preview, the link to the key document seems extremely overloaded and slow: I reccomend downloading it for local view, rather than trying to load the pdf in a browser. I have it downloaded, so I know it isn’t just a phantom doc)