Can we deal with this now?
Newsweek reported (in its "Periscope" section -- an odd place to hide a major story) this story February 24th, but it got little play. Now that Bush is finally being asked some real questions about why we went to war, someone should ask him why he withheld information from the American people when he gave this speech on October 7, 2002:
Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?
In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.
We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.
The head of Iraq's "military industries" was Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law. He did, indeed defect and told UNSCOM that they had produced more weapons than we imagined. Bush touted Kamal's testimony as gospel, as did Tony Blair, Colin Powell and the Big Dick, who said, "we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself." However, they were all lying. I say this without a bit of my usual hemming or hawing, because the info is on the web for all to see.
You see, Hussein Kamal was spreading the gospel, if by gospel you mean the "good news" that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction left. They used to have more than we thought, but they were all destroyed around 1992. Here are quotes from Kamel's questioning by Prof. M. Zifferero of the IAEA, Amb. Ekeus of Jordan and N. Smidovich of UNSCOM:
Smidovich: Were weapons and agents destroyed?
Kamal: Nothing remained.
Smidovich: Was it before or after inspections started?
Kamal: After visits of inspection teams. You have important role in Iraq with this. You should not underestimate yourself. You are very effective in Iraq. There was an engine for long range missiles. I didn't want to get involved. It was a lost battel and they chose to stop from using this.
Smidovich: We could not find any traces of destruction.
Kamal: Yes, it was done before you came in. The place where they buried them was found by you.
Ekeus: Did you restart VX production after the Iran-Iraq war?
Kamal: We changed the factory into pesticide production. Part of the establishment started to produce medicine.
Kamal: All chemical weapons were destroyed. I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons -- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed.
Smidovich asked if there was a report to the President with an inventory of all available proscribed weapons in mid-May 1991.
Kamal: I am not aware...
Smidovich asked way missiles and chemical weapons were kept in part while biological weapons were all destroyed.
Kamal: In the nuclear area, there were no weapons. Missile and chemical weapons were real weapons. Our main worry was Iran and they were against them.
Remember, this is one of the main guys Bushies used to justify this war, but, clearly, they didn't want America's citizens to know the whole story. Now's the time to force this issue.
A last thought: Republicans keep saying that it was up to Saddam Hussein to prove that he had destroyed all the WMDs. Could it be that, after losing Kamal, who had managed the destruction, Hussein simply didn't have anyone left with the knowledge of how, where and when that destruction had occurred?
Update: Bush lied to the UN, too.
In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.
From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
Why didn't he point out that the same official said that those weapons had been destroyed and their factories turned into pesticide and medicine factories? I wonder.