The un(der)reported truth

Andrew Sullivan lays out the truth in the David Kay preliminary report. Andrew points out that some fellow journalists aren't being accurate with the analysis. It's a shame, because it's a topic that deserves review without being slanted.

For example….

Andrew points out the bias and distortion in David Sanger's NYT "analysis" makes a complete misstatement (that even the Times ran a correction on) that includes this line:

"…but that nothing found so far backs up administration claims that Mr. Hussein posed an imminent threat to the world."

As Andrew (and later the New York Times itself) points out, that is not what the administration claimed. The administration claimed that:

Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had hidden materials from the United Nations, was hiding a continued program for weapons of mass destruction, and that we should act before the threat was imminent. The argument was that it was impossible to restrain Saddam Hussein unless he were removed from power and disarmed. The war was legally based on the premise that Saddam had clearly violated U.N. resolutions, was in open breach of such resolutions and was continuing to conceal his programs with the intent of restarting them in earnest once sanctions were lifted. Having read the report carefully, I'd say that the administration is vindicated in every single respect of that argument.

It's becoming clearer (and will continue to as we get more info) that the war in Iraq was the right thing to do. It was morally correct, it was prudent to do now, and it was justified by the case made to the American people.

Here are some highlights, if you will, from David Kay's report on Iraq's WMD program (All of the following are from the report.):

We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG [Iraq Survey Group] has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. . . .

So even last year when inspectors went back in, Iraq was still concealing the program. Remember how Iraq had to comply with 1441? That statement alone is case closed justification.

Among the initial discoveries (most/all of which are previously unreported):

A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.

* A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.

* Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

* New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.

* Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).

* A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

* Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.

* Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km – well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

* Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles –probably the No Dong — 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.

Later in the report:

All of this suggests Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents.

Hey, great! Biowarfare agents ready at the beck & call. Here's more on concealment:

One noteworthy example is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced. This discovery – hidden in the home of a BW scientist – illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.

I know, I know. Howard Dean, the American apologists & Mr. Frenchy Frenchman are all saying, "But where are the weapons?"

There are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous.

This will take time, but it is clearly the right thing to do (and the right thing to have done). There is no way to letting even these preliminary findings go unchecked in a post 9-11 world.

I don't want Saddam with pre-cursors & missile research. Some people would have been ok with that, but it's too frightening to think about. We're talking about missile technology that could reach NATO countries, in addition to existing technology that could hit anywhere in Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and many other key interests.

I'm tired of hearing people question why we went into Iraq. Read the report yourself or you lose all privileges to question it.

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