CIA Reports to Congress on Iraq, Hans Blix, David Kay and the Power of Words, Part 2
Hans Blix and the United Nations inspectors returned to Iraq in November of 2002. Unlike the UN inspections previous experiences, they appeared to be given every cooperation by the Iraqis.
On February 14, 2003, he made a report to the Security Council in which he said in part:
How much, if any, is left of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter – and one of great significance – is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were “unaccounted for”. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.
How much more careful he is than the CIA report! By this time, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell had already made those speeches in Cincinnati, the UN and elsewhere in which statements are made about what was “known” about Iraq’s weapons that really wasn’t known, emotions in the US had been whipped to boiling, and war was imminent.
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors — confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.
Bush’s Speech before the United Nations September 13, 2002 :
As we meet today, it’s been almost four years since the last UN inspector set foot in Iraq – four years for the Iraqi regime to plan and to build and to test behind the cloak of secrecy.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?
The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein regime is a grave and gathering danger.
To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble, and this is a risk we must not take.
The “evidence”? What evidence?
Rumsfeld Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, September 18, 2002 on Saddam Hussein :
“He’s amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons, including Anthrax, botulism, toxins and possibly Smallpox.
“He’s amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, Sarin and mustard gas.
“His regime has an active program to acquire nuclear weapons.
“His regime has dozens of ballistic missiles and is working to extend their ranges in violation of UN restrictions.”
We do know that Saddam Hussein has been actively and persistently pursuing nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. But we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons. They’re much simpler to deliver than nuclear weapons and even more readily transferred to terrorist networks, who could allow Iraq to deliver them without Iraq’s fingerprints on the attack.
“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? ”
“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.”
What a tragedy that the following warning fell on deaf ears! Hans Blix’s team was airlifted out of Iraq on March 18, 2003, the day before the “war” began, it’s work abruptly interrupted by those who could no longer be convinced by any evidence as they had already decided what was true and what wasn’t and convinced themselves that only they held the right answers.
We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist. The US Secretary of State presented material in support of this conclusion. Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors. Inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on evidence, which they can, themselves, examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise.
There’s that word evidence again. Only this time it really means something. Governments would do well in future to follow that advice about verifiable evidence.
In his report to Congress on October 2, 2003, David Kay makes the following statements:
We need to recall that in the 1991-2003 period the intelligence community and the UN/IAEA inspectors had to draw conclusions as to the status of Iraq’s WMD program in the face of incomplete, and often false, data supplied by Iraq or data collected either by UN/IAEA inspectors operating within the severe constraints that Iraqi security and deception actions imposed or by national intelligence collection systems with their own inherent limitations.
The result was that our understanding of the status of Iraq’s WMD program was always bounded by large uncertainties and had to be heavily caveated.
It is an open denial of what the Bush Administration kept endlessly repeating about what they KNEW about Iraq’s intentions and capabilities.
Dr. Kay’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee is even more of a flat statement:
“Senator Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq, indeed, had weapons of mass destruction.
I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war — certainly, the French president, Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq’s possession of WMD. The German certainly — the intelligence service believed that there were WMD.
It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing. ….