Friday, January 30, 2004

One of the stories going around from Bush apologists, featured in particular in the increasingly strained-sounding apologetics of David Kay, is that

Iraqi scientists had presented ambitious but fanciful weapons programs to Mr. Hussein and had then used the money for other purposes.

This theory is all over the blogs of the Bush apologists ("Saddam was deceived about his own weapons capabilities, so it's just dandy that we were, too!"), and even non-apologists like Calpundit.

But in Kenneth Pollack's recent Atlantic article, Hesiod finds this:

Sources told the [Iraq survey] group that Saddam and his son Uday had each, on separate occasions in 2001 and 2002, asked officials associated with Iraq's chemical-warfare program how long it would take to produce chemical agents and weapons. One official reportedly told Saddam that it would take six months to produce mustard gas (among the easiest such agents to manufacture); another told Uday that it would take two months to produce mustard gas and two years to produce sarin (a simple nerve agent). The questions do not suggest the presence of large stockpiles. The answers do not support a just-in-time capability.

So, guess what. When Saddam told the UN that he didn't have any weapons capability, as he did, repeatedly and unambiguously, he was not only telling the truth, but he knew he was telling the truth.



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