Saturday, May 27, 2006

a close look at what Charles Duelfer said:

From Chicago Tribune article:

David Kay's successor as chief U.S. weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, reported to Congress on Oct. 6, 2004, that he, like Kay, had not turned up stockpiles of illicit weapons in Iraq. But Duelfer added an intriguing new dimension to the debate—a possible plot line of why Hussein had hoarded not his weapons but, rather, his ability to produce them. To give that dimension context: A nation capable of producing toxic weapons on relatively short notice wouldn't need to keep stockpiles.

Hussein had come "palpably close" to eradicating UN sanctions against Iraq, Duelfer concluded, by corrupting the UN's oil-for-food program, plundering it to bribe officials and citizens of influential countries. "He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD and with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face."

Duelfer's bottom line: As soon as Hussein's friends at the UN succeeded in removing sanctions from Iraq, the dictator would rebuild his prior WMD programs—and enhance them by acquiring nukes.

Charles Duelfer's October 2004 report on his search for Iraqi weapons succinctly framed Hussein's modus operandi. Duelfer also said Hussein's scheme to parlay oil-for-food into the end of UN sanctions had almost succeeded. Duelfer wrote: "He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections--to gain support for lifting sanctions--with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD and with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. ... By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime ..."

Once liberated from sanctions, Duelfer concluded, Hussein intended to recreate Iraq's illicit weapons capability.

The most thorough hindsight attempt to evaluate the nuclear case for war was the Oct. 6, 2004, report to Congress by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in postwar Iraq. Duelfer had succeeded David Kay, who concluded a year earlier that, based on statements from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials, "Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons." Paradoxically, this declaration had elicited vocal scorn for Kay from opponents of the war who previously had lionized him for his frankness in saying his searchers had found no stockpiles of illicit weapons.

Duelfer essentially echoed, but expanded, what Kay and the Senate Intelligence Committee had concluded: "Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability--in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks--but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare capabilities." Duelfer said his searchers "discovered further evidence of the maturity and significance of the pre-1991 Iraqi nuclear program but found that Iraq's ability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program progressively decayed after that date. ... "Senior Iraqis--several of them from the regime's inner circle--told [Duelfer's investigators] they assumed Saddam would restart a nuclear program once UN sanctions ended."

Duelfer reported that in the year before the war, Iraq "undertook improvements to technology in several areas that could have been applied to a renewed centrifuge program for uranium enrichment." But he found "no indication that Iraq had resumed fissile material or nuclear weapon research and development activities since 1991."

Duelfer, like the Senate Intelligence Committee before him, found no evidence to support intelligence and administration assertions that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from other countries since the Gulf war. He similarly concluded that "high-level Iraqi interest in aluminum tubes appears to have come from efforts to produce 81 mm rockets, rather than a nuclear end use."

From Wikipedia:

* Iraq's main goal was to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute WMD production.
* Iraq's WMD programs had decayed significantly since the end of the first Gulf War.
* No senior Iraqi official interviewed by the ISG believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever.
* "Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq's principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary."
* Iraq had no deployable WMD of any kind as of March 2003 and had no production since 1991.
* The ISG judged that in March 2003, Iraq would have had the ability to produce large quantities of Sulfur Mustard in 3-6 months, and large quantities of nerve agent in 2 years.
* There was no proof of any biological weapons stocks since 1991.
* Iraq's nuclear program was terminated in 1991, at which point micrograms of enriched uranium had been produced from a single test gas centrifuge.
* Iraq had intended to restart all banned weapons programs as soon as multilateral sanctions against it had been dropped, a prospect that the Iraqi government saw coming soon.
* Smuggling was used by Iraq to rebuild as much of its WMD program as could be hidden from U.N. weapons inspectors.
* Iraq had an effective system for the procurement of items banned by sanctions.
* Until March 2003, Saddam Hussein convinced his top military commanders that Iraq did indeed possess WMD that could be used against any U.S. invasion force, in order to prevent a coup over the prospects of fighting the U.S.-led Coalition without these weapons.
* Iraq used procurement contracts allowed under the Oil for Food program to buy influence among U.N. Security Council member states including France, China, and Russia, as well as dozens of prominent journalists and anti-sanctions activists.
* "The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them."
In March 2005 Duelfer added an addenda to the original report, covering five topics:
* Prewar Movement of WMD Material Out of Iraq, stating "ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place" but also acknowledging that "ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war."
* Iraqi Detainees, concluding "the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible. ... there is no further purpose in holding many of these detainees".
* Residual Proliferation Risks: People, concluding "former WMD program participants are most likely to seek employment in the benign civil sector, either in Iraq or elsewhere ... However, because a single individual can advance certain WMD activities, it remains an important concern".
* Residual Pre-1991 CBW Stocks in Iraq, concluding "any remaining chemical munitions in Iraq do not pose a militarily significant threat ... ISG has not found evidence to indicate that Iraq did not destroy its BW weapons or bulk agents".
* Residual Proliferation Risk: Equipment and Materials, concluding "Iraq’s remaining chemical and biological physical infrastructure does not pose a proliferation concern".

From USA Today article on Saddam reportedly warned US of terrorism:

Charles Duelfer, who led the official U.S. search for weapons of mass destruction after the first Gulf War, told ABC News the tapes show extensive deception but don't prove that weapons were still hidden in Iraq at the time of the U.S.-led war in 2003. "What they do is support the conclusion in the report which we made in the last couple of years, that the regime had the intention of building and rebuilding weapons of mass destruction, when circumstances permitted," he said.

From a Paul Bremer speech:

I think the mystery is why the intelligence was not that good. Not just ours, but everybody’s. Charlie Duelfer, whoissued the final report on the search for weapons of mass destruction, made three points that were largely overlooked by the press. First that Saddam retained the strategic intention to reconstitute weapons of mass destruction. Secondly that Duelfer had found clear evidence that Saddam retained the program’s personnel and equipment quickly to resume those programs, including finding laboratories that were working on Ricin, which is one of the most deadly toxins, and efforts to aerosolize those. And thirdly, that Saddam’s intention was to reconstitute as soon as sanctions were lifted. But where the weapons went, we know he had them because he used them. Where they went, and what became of them, or perhaps more importantly why the intelligence communities of the world’s largest countries missed it, is something that historians are going to have to judge. I don’t have an independent view on it.

From the New York Sun (quoting a Fox News interview):

* “We found, you know, 10 or 12 sarin and mustard rounds.” The Web site of the Council on Foreign Relations says, “One hundred milligrams of sarin — about one drop — can kill the average person in a few minutes if he or she’s not given an antidote. Experts say sarin is more than 500 times as toxic as cyanide.”
* The New York Sun has reported on the 7-pound block of cyanide salt found in the Baghdad safehouse of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in January 2004.


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