WMD in a Haystack

(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - Swedish arms inspector Rolf Ekeus headed the UN inspection team that from 1991 to 1997 uncovered not just tons of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq but a massive secret nuclear weapons program as well. Ekeus theorizes that Hussein decided years ago that it was unwise to store mustard gas and other unstable and corrosive poisons in barrels, and also difficult to conceal them. Therefore, rather than store large stocks of weapons of mass destruction, he would adapt the program to retain an infrastructure (laboratories, equipment, trained scientists, detailed plans) that could "break out" and ramp up production when needed. The interim report of chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay seems to support the Ekeus hypothesis. The question of whether Hussein actually retained finished product is still open. Hussein's practice was to store his chemical weapons unmarked amid his conventional munitions, and Hussein left behind 130 known ammunition caches, many of which are more than twice the size of Manhattan. Imagine looking through "600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs, and other ordnance" looking for barrels of unmarked chemical weapons. But the question of whether he was still in the WMD business is no longer open. "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities," Kay testified, "and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002."

2003-10-10 00:00:00

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