"Saddam Hussein has stockpiled, weaponized, and used chemical and biological weapons. And he has made no secret of his desire to acquire nuclear weapons. He has ignored international agreements and frustrated the efforts of international inspectors, and his ambitions today are as unrelenting as they have ever been.
We do know, however, that Iraq has weaponized thousands of gallons of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. We know that Iraq maintains stockpiles of some of world’s deadliest chemical weapons, including VX
, sarin and mustard gas. We know that Iraq is developing deadlier ways to deliver these horrible weapons, including unmanned drones and long-range ballistic missiles. And we know that Saddam Hussein is committed to one day possessing nuclear weapons. If that should happen, instead of simply bullying the Gulf region, he could dominate it. Instead of threatening only his neighbors, he would become a grave threat to US security and to global security. The threat posed by Saddam Hussein may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored..." -- Tom Daschle, October 11, 2002
"Remember, as a condition of the cease-fire after the Gulf War, the United Nations demanded not the United States the United Nations demanded, and Saddam Hussein agreed to declare within 15 days this is way back in 1991 within 15 days his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them, to make a total declaration. That's what he promised to do.
The United Nations set up a special commission of highly trained international experts called UNSCOM, to make sure that Iraq made good on that commitment. We had every good reason to insist that Iraq disarm. Saddam had built up a terrible arsenal, and he had used it not once, but many times, in a decade-long war with Iran, he used chemical weapons, against combatants, against civilians, against a foreign adversary, and even against his own people...
Now, instead of playing by the very rules he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War, Saddam has spent the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment. Consider just some of the facts:
Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports.
For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM.
In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and the chief organizer of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more.
Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth. Now listen to this, what did it admit?
It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs..." --Bill Clinton February 17, 1998
Go back and take a look at the report Hans Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27. On the question of Iraq's stocks of anthrax, Blix reported "no convincing evidence" that they were ever destroyed. But there was "strong evidence" that Iraq produced more anthrax than it had admitted "and that at least some of this was retained." Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of "bacterial growth media," enough "to produce . . . 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax." Cirincione concluded that "it is likely that Iraq retains stockpiles of anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin."
On the question of VX
, Blix reported that his inspections team had information that conflicted with Iraqi accounts. The Iraqis claimed that they had produced VX
only as part of a pilot program but that the quality was poor and the agent was never "weaponized." But according to Blix, the inspections team discovered Iraqi documents that showed the quality of the VX
to be better than declared. The team also uncovered "indications that the agent" had been "weaponized." According to Cirincione's August 2002 report, "it is widely believed that significant quantities of chemical agents and precursors remain stored in secret depots" and that there were also "thousands of possible chemical munitions still unaccounted for." Blix reported there were 6,500 "chemical bombs" that Iraq admitted producing but whose whereabouts were unknown. Blix's team calculated the amount of chemical agent in those bombs at 1,000 tons. As Blix reported to the Security Council, "in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for."
Today, of course, they and many other known weapons are still unaccounted for. Does it follow, therefore, that they never existed? Or does it make more sense to conclude that the weapons were there and that either we'll find them or we'll find out what happened to them?
The answer depends on how broad and pervasive you like your conspiracies to be. Because if Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are lying, they're not alone. They're part of a vast conspiratorial network of liars that includes U.N. weapons inspectors and reputable arms control experts both inside and outside government, both Republicans and Democrats...
Maybe former CIA
director John Deutch was lying when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 19, 1996, that "we believe that [Hussein] retains an undetermined quantity of chemical and biological agents that he would certainly have the ability to deliver against adversaries by aircraft or artillery or by Scud missile systems."
Maybe former defense secretary William Cohen was lying in April when he said, "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons. . . . I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out."
Maybe the German intelligence service was lying when it reported in 2001 that Hussein might be three years away from being able to build three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe.
Maybe French President Jacques Chirac was lying when he declared in February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that "we have to find and destroy them."
Maybe Al Gore was lying when he declared last September, based on what he learned as vice president, that Hussein had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Finally, there's former president Bill Clinton. In a February 1998 speech, Clinton described Iraq's "offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs." Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors "that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons." That was as unequivocal and unqualified a statement as any made by George W. Bush...