IRAQI NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM DISCOVERED….Via Michael J. Totten, a report in the Telegraph that says UN inspectors in Iraq have discovered proof of an ongoing nuclear weapons development program:
Acting on information provided by Western intelligence, the UN inspection teams discovered a number of documents proving that Saddam is continuing with his attempts to develop nuclear weapons, contrary to his public declarations that Iraq is no longer interested in producing weapons of mass destruction.
….A Western diplomat closely involved with the investigation into Saddam’s nuclear capability yesterday confirmed that the documents showed that Iraq was still attempting to develop its own atomic weapons.
“These are not old documents. They are new and they relate to on-going work taking place in Iraq to develop nuclear weapons,” the official told The Telegraph. “They had been hidden at the scientists’ homes on Saddam’s personal orders. Furthermore, no mention of this work is made in the Iraqi dossier that was submitted to the UN last December.”
This report is currently unconfirmed, but if it holds up it’s hard to imagine that anything more is needed to get widespread global support for military action. This is not a dozen short-range artillery shells, it’s a current, ongoing program to build nuclear weapons.
I have argued before that when it comes to military action the UN does not deserve the abuse it gets from conservatives. In fact, the UN’s judgment has been pretty reliable on this score over the past couple of decades, supporting the U.S. when it deserves support and condemning it when it deserves condemnation. And I predict that if these document show what the Telegraph says they show, the UN will once again demonstrate sound judgment and approve a resolution authorizing military force to depose Saddam Hussein.
UPDATE: According to AP, Iraq says the documents relate to an old laser isotope separation program from the 70s and 80s that proved too difficult and was abandoned in 1987. The AP reports quotes Hans Blix as saying that that the UN “was perfectly aware that the laser production took place before 1990, and it doesn’t add very much to that knowledge. What it teaches is that they are not declaring meticulously what they should have been declaring.”