October 06, 2004
ISG Reports, You Decide

If you don't have time to read the full document, it's still worth the time to read the 19 page "Key Findings" (PDF, 304KB) of the
CIA Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

It's a punchy and intriguing document that the Iraq Survey Group has provided. And there's something for everyone in it, pro-intervention-now and anti-intervention-now.

The core of the findings, in my own quick takeaway, are that.

  • Iraq's weapons programs were largely inactive, destroyed and/or ineffective under the sanctions, and since the 1990s
  • The Bush Administration can point to a desire on the part of Iraq (and specifically in Saddam Hussein, who held the entire plan in his head apparently) to resurrect these programs, and that Iraq had tried to lay what shaky groundwork they could to do so when sanctions ended.
  • But the focus of Hussein's desire was not the US, but Iran
  • Sanctions mostly worked, but were leaky in some troubling areas, including weapons sales to Iraq by our Allies, including the new Slavics, Russia, and Poland
  • We really haven't found much of anything that would pose a present threat
  • A lot of the intelligence we were fed by Iraqi refugees was pretty damn bad>/li>

A lot of facts in this summary are cleanly expressed, but there is a lot of soft language for the Iraqi programs "desired," "plans or designs," "intended to reconstitute," "ambitions," "intent," "intentions," or "intended to preserve."

The programs in chemical and biologic weapons (which we looked away from in the Iran/Iraq conflict, of course) appear to have stayed intellectually closest to the surface, and would probably have resurrected most quickly in a post-sanctions Iraq (though not for a period of years, most likely). Even those programs the ISG expresses a number of doubts about.

Posted by esinclai at October 06, 2004 10:13 PM |

Specifically, the weapons were all destroyed in 1991.

All the weapons programs were destroyed by 1996.

The Bush administration found no documentary evidence, or had any witness state, that Saddam had planned to start the WMD programs up again after sanctions. The "desire" argument is conjecture, often based on the testimony of people who didn't know Saddam Hussein al-Majid well at all.

Iraq was allowed to buy some weapons, to the best of my knowledge, but nothing related to WMD.

Posted by: Josh Narins on October 19, 2004 07:29 PM
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