Iraq Wasn’t Another Sweden Just Because They Weren’t Producing WMD Throughout The Nineties

I think something important has been lost in all of the hubbub about David Kay’s recent comments. Quite understandably, most people have been focusing on the fact that Kay says that there was not a, “large-scale production program in (Iraq in) the ’90s”. That’s certainly something worth discussing and it merits an investigation to find out why the intelligence fed to Republicans and Democrats alike, was so far off.

However, I think it is also worth pointing out that the following argument made by Bush over and over before the war, has not been discredited…

“Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

But, Iraq had no WMD so how could they “provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group” on “any given day”? Well, they certainly had the nuclear material needed to make a dirty bomb at the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility among other places. Having a dirty bomb go off in New York, DC, LA — or all 3 cities at the same time — could be far more devastating than 9/11.

Furthermore, as David Kay also pointed out recently, Iraq was, “working to produce a (chemical) weapon using the poison ricin until the American invasion last March”. Hello…RICIN…it has no cure. How can anybody just shrug their shoulders and act like that doesn’t matter?

On top of that, Kay noted in his interim report that, “(e)ven those senior officials we have interviewed who claim no direct knowledge of any on-going prohibited activities readily acknowledge that Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed.”

What programs did Saddam likely intend to resume you may ask?

“When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons, he told ISG that after he consulted with CW experts in OMI he responded it would take six months for mustard.

Another senior Iraqi chemical weapons expert in responding to a request in mid-2002 from Uday Hussein for CW for the Fedayeen Saddam estimated that it would take two months to produce mustard and two years for Sarin.”

What you have to understand here is that Iraq wasn’t another Sweden just because they weren’t producing WMD throughout the nineties. We had an anti-American dictator who hated America, had started two wars of aggression, tried to assassinate a US President, had terrorist ties, had WMD programs going, and intended to produce more WMD as soon as the heat was off.

Moreover, you have to understand that our troops could not encircle Iraq indefinitely and the inspectors would have been kicked out of the country again when they left — not that they were even stopping Iraq from working on “a (chemical) weapon using the poison ricin” while they were there. Given that, if you thought Saddam was a threat before the war, despite all the sound and the fury, nothing has happened since then that should have changed anyone’s mind. Taking out Saddam was the right decision and I only wish we had done it a long time ago.

***Update #1***: RWN reader David F. Carlson sent me an email saying in part,

“Ricin as a toxin is not biologically active. It is a toxin, and as such is a chemical weapon. It is derived from a castor bean but does not “infect” its target host.”

That is my thinking on the subject as well, but I’ve taken a look at a dozen plus articles on Kay’s latest comments and they all seem to be referring to the ricin as being part of a biological weapon, not part of a chemical weapon. I suspect that they’re just copying an error made by the New York Times, but on the other hand, I’m not an expert on WMD and perhaps and I’m missing something. So can someone clear this up definitively in the comments section?

***Update #2***: Jed Babbin has chimed in on this topic at The Corner,

“Ricin — a toxin extracted from castor beans – is not, as being reported, a biological weapon. It is a very potent chemical weapon. A dose as small as one milligram can kill an adult. Biological weapons cause disease. Chemical weapons — such as ricin or the nerve gas VX — poison. Exposure to ricin is not infectious. All chemical weapons require ingestion into the body, by breathing, absorption through the skin, or other intake. Ricin poisoning, unlike many biological weapons such as anthrax, and some other chemical weapons, is not treatable.”

That’s good enough for me. Changes have been made in the article above to reflect the correct status of ricin.

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