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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

It's becoming more and more apparent that before the war with Iraq, U.S. intelligence agencies didn't have enough evidence to prove the existence of chemical weapons in Iraq. A New York Times piece today points out some of the difficulties that have plagued U.S. search teams tasked with finding CNB weapons. To quote from the article:

"But after a week in which expectations of finding proof of unconventional weapons soared and were repeatedly deflated, the military experts said the survey showed the difficulty of discovering hard evidence without specific information from Iraqi scientists and military officers."


'The plant near here was one of Iraq's leading ammunition production facilities, but much of it was under construction when the war began and American bombs targeted it. Although international inspectors visited the plant as late as February, they failed to find biological or chemical weapons or agents.'

'After the war began, the site was visited by advancing American troops, who reported finding nothing of special interest to weapons inspectors. But because the site was considered sensitive, officials in Washington said, an Army specialist team was also sent to the plant. But that team, too, missed the buried containers of biological equipment and the radioactive material, which was stored openly in a maintenance building.'


'The 75th Exploitation Task Force, camped farther south in Iraq, has struggled to carry out its mission as Washington's attention has shifted from the search for chemical and biological weapons, the ostensible reason for the United States' decision to go to war, to war crimes committed by the Iraqis after the war began. Resources, including communications equipment, security, engineers and even basic supplies like generators and batteries, have often been unavailable. Helicopter transport, essential for rapid mobility in such a large country, has been sporadic, and the weapons teams have had to scrounge vehicles from other units to travel to suspect sites'

On a related note, the U.S. is now in a very good position to verify if its intelligence sources reporting on Iraqi CNB weapons were accurate, and I'd hope that we get a full accounting on what U.S. intelligence knew and what forces on the ground are able to verify after this is all said and done. Reporting this information will help the U.S. evaluate the effectiveness of its intelligence-gathering and may highlight areas which need improvement.

Andrew 3:24 PM : |


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