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Monday, May 05, 2003

 
Here are a couple of paragraphs from a story in today's Independent:


'"The only true weapon of mass destruction is nuclear," said Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge University expert. Yet even though President Bush warned of a "mushroom cloud", this was the weakest part of the case against Iraq. By the start of the war the US and Britain had virtually abandoned their nuclear claims.'

'Chemical and biological substances can – in theory – kill millions of people, but manufacturing them is difficult and delicate. Putting them into weapons is even harder: when the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult manufactured sarin nerve agent and deployed it on the Tokyo subway in 1995, thousands of people were sickened, but only 12 died. Even if Iraq's allegedly vast stockpiles of anthrax material, botulinum toxin, mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents turned out to exist, along with mobile biological weapons labs, they would not qualify as weapons unless effective delivery systems were found as well.'

'Some highly specific allegations, such as Iraq's alleged possession of 1.5 tonnes of VX agent, were based on paper discrepancies between Iraqi declarations, calculations from exports to Iraq and the former regime's claims on what it destroyed. Experts conclude that in any case, the method used by Iraq to produce VX meant it would have degraded long ago. The same was true of sarin, which Iraq could never make in a pure enough form to be effective as a weapon. Similar juggling with figures and glossing over technical details are necessary to sustain the claim that Iraq had huge stocks of anthrax.'



Andrew 1:23 PM : |



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