As expected, the United States declared Iraq in material breach of various United Nations resolutions calling on him to disarm, and had Secretary of State Colin Powell give the world the bad news at a press conference today. According to the State Department, here are examples of omissions:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
December 19, 2002
Illustrative Examples of Omissions from the
Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council
Anthrax and Other Undeclared Biological Agents
- The UN Special Commission concluded that Iraq did not verifiably account for, at a minimum, 2160kg of growth media.
- This is enough to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax — 3 times the amount Iraq declared; 1200 liters of botulinum toxin; and, 5500 liters of clostridium perfrigens — 16 times the amount Iraq declared.
- Why does the Iraqi declaration ignore these dangerous agents in its tally?
- Iraq has disclosed manufacturing new energetic fuels suited only to a class of missile to which it does not admit.
- Iraq claims that flight-testing of a larger diameter missile falls within the 150km limit. This claim is not credible.
- Why is the Iraqi regime manufacturing fuels for missiles it says it does not have?
- The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.
- Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?
- In 1999, UN Special Commission and international experts concluded that Iraq needed to provide additional, credible information about VX production.
- The declaration provides no information to address these concerns.
- What is the Iraqi regime trying to hide by not providing this information?
Chemical and Biological Weapons Munitions
- In January 1999, the UN Special Commission reported that Iraq failed to provide credible evidence that 550 mustard gas-filled artillery shells and 400 biological weapon-capable aerial bombs had been lost or destroyed.
- The Iraqi regime has never adequately accounted for hundreds, possibly thousands, of tons of chemical precursors.
- Again, what is the Iraqi regime trying to hide by not providing this information?
Empty Chemical Munitions
- There is no adequate accounting for nearly 30,000 empty munitions that could be filled with chemical agents.
- Where are these munitions?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Programs
- Iraq denies any connection between UAV programs and chemical or biological agent dispersal. Yet, Iraq admitted in 1995 that a MIG-21 remote-piloted vehicle tested in 1991 was to carry a biological weapon spray system.
- Iraq already knows how to put these biological agents into bombs and how to disperse biological agent using aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles.
- Why do they deny what they have already admitted? Why has the Iraqi regime acquired the range and auto-flight capabilities to spray biological weapons?
Mobile Biological Weapon Agent Facilities
- The Iraqi declaration provides no information about its mobile biological weapon agent facilities. Instead it insists that these are “refrigeration vehicles and food testing laboratories.”
- What is the Iraqi regime trying to hide about their mobile biological weapon facilities?
None of these holes and gaps in Iraq’s declaration are mere accidents, editing oversights or technical mistakes: they are material omissions.
By trotting out the administration’s lone dove to make this announcement, the Bushies were signalling Saddam that he was on a weak limb over a very long drop. And the administration was also currying favor with the Europeans, who think Powell is the only sane man in the White House.
But I’d just like to talk about one charge: the anthrax. At his news conference, Powell said: ” Before the inspectors were forced to leave Iraq, they concluded that Iraq could have produced 26,000 liters [27,500 quarts] of anthrax. That is three times the amount Iraq had declared. Yet the Iraqi declaration is silent on this stockpile, which alone would be enough to kill several million people.”
OK… So that means Iraq declared roughly 8,700 liters. But note the hedge “could have produced.” Going on the basis of these statements and the rush for war in the White House, doesn’t this seem more like speculation that evidence of wrongdoing? What if Iraq had the capablity to produce 26,000 liters but never actually produced that much? Granted, I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to a murderous thug, but still… Statements like these make the United States look like it’s making stuff up. Perhaps it is. It’s only been 12 days since Iraq turned in its dossier.
Also, U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered up to 50,000 more troops to the Gulf region, which would bring total troop levels to about 110,000. It will take some time for them to get there, and most observers now say the U.S. should have its forces in place in early February. An additional 250,000 reservists will likely be activated, too. British Prime Minister Tony Blair told troops, in his annual Christmas address, to “prepare for war.”
In the financial markets, bond markets were on fire as investors fled risky stocks for the relatively safe-haven of government securities. The Canadian dollar, as well as major indexes in Paris and Tel Aviv, fell as the war drum beat louder.
While the Bush administration still makes noises about how the president hasn’t made up his mind yet or that “Iraq is well on its way to losing this last chance,” implying that war is not inevtiable, anyone with half a brain can see that Bush has made up his mind and it’s only a matter of time.