Drooling on the Pillow

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hitchens vs. The Times 

Writing over at Slate, Christopher Hitchens discusses the WMD in Iraq issue, the latest revelations of Dr. Sami al-Araji and the Times' treatment of the story.

The Times article states:

after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, "looters systematically
dismantled and removed tons of machinery from Saddam
Hussein's most important weapons installations, including
some with high-precision equipment capable of making parts
for nuclear arms."

Although the word "looters", used by the reporters, James Glanz and William J. Broad, was supplied by Dr. al-Araji, the deputy minister of industry, what he is describing is far more systematic, organized and detailed than what could be organized by mobs or even any insurgent organizations extant at the time.
The kinds of machinery at the various sites included
equipment that could be used to make missile parts,
chemical weapons or centrifuges essential for enriching
uranium for atom bombs.
You know, that WMD stuff that didn't exist. The stuff that Chimpy lied about to get us to bleed for oil.

I've noted before that all of the chemical and biological agents ever alleged to be in the possession of Saddam would fit into a large swimming pool. It would be the work of an afternoon for a platoon to bury the stuff. Kill the platoon and it's gone for good. Until you want it.

It's legitimate to debate whether it was possible for the coalition forces to control and supervise all these hundreds of sites in the weeks after the fall of Baghdad and to criticize the war planning on that basis. Hitchens makes the point plainly. I don't know. I'm not a military expert. It's no longer legitimate to debate whether WMD existed, however. The machinery and assembly points did not exist on the come. They were there to make what everybody knew was there.

Where did the stuff go? There could be no shorter odds than Syria, of course, but other scenarios are possible.

Read the Hitchens piece. As always, it's well worth your time.
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