IRAQI WMD….Whatever other misgivings I entertained during the runup to war, one thing I never really doubted was that Iraq did indeed have proscribed WMDs and that Saddam did indeed covet more. But as time goes by I’m beginning to wonder about this on a couple of different levels. Here’s the current military perspective quoted in the Saudi Gazette:
“Efforts are ongoing. We had some preliminary examinations that occurred that did not prove to be weapons of mass destruction, we found some things that were potentially agricultural,” Brigadier General Vincent Brooks said Tuesday. But he said he was certain that “we are going to find something as time goes on.”
General Tommy Franks, commander of US forces in Iraq, has no doubts either. “Whether we’ll turn out at the end of the day to find them in one of the two or three thousand sites that we already know about, or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will actually tell us there’s another site I’m not sure, but I am sure there are weapons in the country, yes,” he said in a television interview Sunday.
Now, I know that Iraq is the size of California and we can’t search it all at once, but before the war we insisted that we had irrefutable intelligence about Iraqi WMD. We couldn’t reveal it to anybody, of course, because that would compromise our sources, but we did know.
But if that’s the case, then (a) surely we can reveal everything now, since there are no longer any sources to compromise, and (b) even if we can’t do that, surely we can go straight to the sites containing all the WMD. After all, there are no Iraqis around anymore to quickly hide it all as soon as they see us coming.
And yet, so far there’s nothing. No sign of nuclear development, which is very hard to hide, and not even any sign of chem or bio weapons yet. Since our case for war was predicated on the notion that Iraq posed an imminent danger, one that required immediate action instead of allowing the inspectors more time to work, surely there ought to be enough of this stuff around that we should be finding it by now. After all, we don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands, so locating it and securing it ought to be a top military priority.
If we don’t find it quickly, this indicates that our intelligence operations were wildly ineffective. If we don’t find it at all, it means we were lying through our teeth. Neither one is an appealing prospect.
I gotta say that I really don’t relish the idea of watching Jacques Chirac a year from now crowing about how he was right the whole time. This stuff better show up.
POSTSCRIPT: And if anybody says that it used to be around but since September it’s all been moved to Syria, I’m going to scream.