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Joe Mariani

Is the UN Playing Games with American Politics?
Mar 4, 2004

Many of President Bush's opponents got a thrill out of a USA Today story this week stating that the United Nations is about to release a report claiming that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction after 1994. On the other hand, everyone not currently suffering from anterograde amnesia (somewhat like Drew Barrymore's character in the recent film "50 First Dates") got little more than a laugh. Either the United Nations is playing some sort of game to discredit President Bush at any cost -- even its own credibility -- or USA Today is seriously misreporting the story for the same reason.

In order to give any credence to this UN report, we need to forget the defection of Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, in 1995. UNSCOM weapons inspectors were shocked when he reported on Iraq's previously-unknown biological weapons program. In 1997 the banned chemical and biological material had yet to be turned over to the UN for destruction:

UNSCOM has destroyed large stocks that include half a million liters of live chemical weapons agent, 28,000 chemical bombs, and 1,000 tons of forbidden chemicals. Despite Iraqi denials, UNSCOM uncovered work on the nerve gas VX and says that 3,800 kilograms of VX is missing.
For years Iraq emphatically denied that it even had a biological program, and only admitted so in mid-1995 after confronted with evidence that included an array of bacteria, viruses, and toxins.
The UN was alerted by pre-war Iraqi imports of 39 tons of material used to grow spores. The amount was 200 times what was needed for medical uses. Some 17 tons have yet to be found.
Does the UN really expect us to forget how much material they themselves reported Saddam still had hidden? UNSCOM's official report from October of 1998 told us that much of what Iraq admitted to producing or purchasing had not yet been accounted for, and that much more production and purchase of WMD materials was suspected. Even as Coalition forces gathered onthe borders of Iraq, Saddam still had not turned over any of this material to UNMOVIC weapons inspectors. On 6 March 2003, among the details of concealed materials, unaccounted-for weapons, and page after page of outright lies by Saddam, Hans Blix reported:
UNMOVIC analysed the contents of artillery shells that had been stored for at least twelve years. The results revealed that the shells still contained high purity Sulphur Mustard.
There are 550 Mustard filled shells and up to 450 mustard filled aerial bombs unaccounted for since 1998. (page 76)

It, therefore, seems highly probable that the destruction of bulk agent, including anthrax, stated by Iraq to be at Al Hakam in July/August 1991, did not occur.
Based on all the available evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 litres of anthrax was not destroyed and may still exist.
As a liquid suspension, anthrax spores produced 15 years ago could still be viable today if properly stored. Iraq experimented with the drying of anthrax simulants and if anthrax had been dried, then it could be stored indefinitely. (page 100)

Iraq has declared that it produced three bacterial BW agents: about 19,000 litres of botulinum toxin (agent A), about 8,500 litres of anthrax (agent B) and 340 litres of Clostridium perfringens (agent G). (page 125)

Although agent G spores produced by Iraq in 1990 could still be viable in 2003 if properly stored, Iraq probably has seed stocks and can produce this agent quickly following a decision to do so. (page 114)

The undeclared quantities of agents potentially that could have been produced up to 1991 are significant and, at least anthrax and Clostridium perfringens, if stored appropriately, could still be viable today. (page 127)

(Clostridium perfringens is a close relative of botulinum.)

This was just a few paragraphs from a single page of a 175-page document entitled "Unresolved Disarmament Issues: Iraq's Proscribed Weapons Programmes." According to the latest and best information available three months after the December deadline Saddam was given by which he had to turn over all materials and documentation regarding his WMDs, he was still -- to the best of our knowledge -- concealing sizeable amounts of them and furnishing false reports about their destruction. As Blix himself said:
Little of the detail in these declarations, such as production quantities, dates of events and unilateral destruction activities, can be confirmed. Such information is critical to an assessment of the status of disarmament. Furthermore, in some instances, UNMOVIC has information that conflicts with the information in the declaration. (page 139)
Now that we've removed Saddam from power, we've finally been able to begin conducting serious inspections (still hampered, however, by terrorist activity). Dr. David Kay was able to uncover a secret network of biological labs, testing labs in prisons, ongoing work on possible bioweapons like Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, unmanned aerial vehicles, and live botulinum that could have been used to quickly produce biological weapons. He also stated, "The ISG nuclear team has found indications that there was interest, beginning in 2002, in reconstituting a centrifuge enrichment program." In January 2004, Kay said that he had not found large stockpiles of actual weapons, and the news media seized on that statement, ignoring what he actually did find. Now, despite the twelve years of UN insistence that Saddam had not accounted for all his WMDs, and the things that were found after the liberation of Iraq that Saddam never would have turned over to the UN voluntarily, is the United Nations seriously trying to say that they believe that Iraq had no illegal weapons since 1994? Does the UN really think we will forget their own reports to the contrary?

Or do some people want to hurt President Bush so badly that they'll sacrifice the credibility of the United Nations to do it?

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About the author: Joe Mariani is a computer consultant born and raised in New Jersey. He lives in Pennsylvania, where the gun laws are less restrictive and taxes are lower. Joe always thought of himself as politically neutral until he saw how far left the left had really gone after 9/11. His essays and links to articles are available at http://guardian.blogdrive.com/. Email Joe Mariani: CavalierX@yahoo.com

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