Sunday, March 02, 2003

Iraq and disarmament, round two. Two follow-ups to Friday's item on that Newsweek report over whether Iraq had rid itself of chemical and biological weapons as of 1995:

  • The Boston Globe reported yesterday that even if Saddam Hussein's very late son-in-law Hussein Kamel was telling the truth, UN and CIA officials believe Saddam Hussein has had more than enough time since then to build more weapons. Former UN weapons inspector Jonathan Tucker told the Globe's John Donnelly, "If true, and that's a big if, it would simply mean that Iraq destroyed its pre-'91 stocks, and had retained the ability to reconstitute them at any time. We don't know what they did after 1995, and it's very possible when the inspectors were out of the country, they reconstituted some of their stocks.''
  • Reader CC upbraids me for writing that UN weapons inspectors were "kicked out" of Iraq in 1998. He writes: "The UN withdrew them. You may consider this splitting hairs, but the phrase 'kicked out' has implications that are overblown." CC is correct. As this story from 1998 makes clear, the weapons inspectors left Iraq voluntarily to protect themselves from US military strikes after Saddam had refused to allow them to do their work.

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