Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 23, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

WMD HUNT SEMI-FINALE....David Kay gives a valedictory interview upon stepping down as chief U.S. arms hunter in Iraq:

Q: You came away from the hunt that you have done believing that they did not have any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the country?

A: "That is correct."

Q. Is that from the interviews and documentation?

A. "Well the interviews, the documentation, and the physical evidence of looking at, as hard as it was because they were dealing with looted sites, but you just could not find any physical evidence that supported a larger program."

Q: Do you think they destroyed it?

A: "No, I don't think they existed."

Q. Even though in the mid-1980s people said they used it on Halabja?

A. "They had stockpiles, they fought the Iranians with it, and they certainly did use it on the Kurds. But what everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s."

Now, it's worth noting that Kay was careful to say "large-scale" throughout this interview. But even so, the takeaway from his remarks is fairly stunning:

  • He's stepping down because, essentially, he feels the administration is not really serious about looking for WMD at this point. This is basically an admission that no one in the administration thinks there's anything to be found. If they did, there's no way they would allow the inspection program to wind down like this.

  • There was no nuclear program to speak of. "There had been some restart of activities, but they were rudimentary."

  • There was no serious chemical or biological weapons development in the 90s. Not just after 1995, not just after 2001, but at no time in the entire last decade. And yet the world's intelligence services were apparently fooled for that entire time.

  • The search is pretty much complete and there's not much chance we're going to find anything more. "I think we have found probably 85 percent of what we're going to find."

Can someone please tell Dick Cheney about this?

Kevin Drum 3:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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