AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
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AP story, link to the Washington Post:
Iraq Arms Hunt May Hinder Other U.S. Aims

By DAFNA LINZER
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 30, 2003; 11:20 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In nine months, not a single item has been found in Iraq from a long and classified intelligence list of weapons of mass destruction which guided the work of dozens of elite teams from Special Forces, the military, the CIA and the Pentagon during the most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history.

For U.S. allies, arms control experts and some involved in the hunt, the lack of evidence in a war premised on the threat of proliferation will have far reaching consequences in the coming year for the United States in its efforts to curb Iran, North Korea, Syria and others.

While some argue the Iraq war helped push open the doors of closed regimes such as Libya and Iran, others say it has only strengthened convictions that negotiations, U.N. inspections and sanctions work.

A look at new details of Iraq's clandestine efforts and its behavior during the 13 years when it was supposed to disarm could serve as a lesson for future moves against any potential proliferator.

The American-led effort has shed new light on Iraqi expertise, some of which was unknown to U.N. inspectors and hasn't been made public before.

In one case, Iraqis used front companies to import German and Russian-made missile parts between 1999-2002, the period when they banned U.N. inspectors from the country. They later lied to inspectors and said some of the parts were acquired inside Iraq.

"We didn't accept the sanctions then," Dr. Modher Sadeq-Saba al-Tamimi, Iraq's top missile designer, told The Associated Press. "From 1999-2002 we bought German and Russian parts," for the al-Samoud missiles which were later destroyed by returning U.N. inspectors because several tests flights showed a capability to go beyond a 93-mile U.N. limit.

The purchases, often done through a web of middlemen and front companies, were investigated by the U.N. but such Iraqi imports wouldn't be considered a violation. American investigators are still sifting through documents.

Modher is free and has shared his work with British military personnel. Ever ambitious and talented, he told AP in two separate interviews that he and his teams dreamed up ingenious designs for long-range missiles which he hoped to work on once sanctions were lifted.

That information, which also wouldn't be considered a violation by U.N. inspectors, constitutes the bulk of what the America-led search has learned in the missile area.

The teams have closed their chemical and nuclear files and David Kay, the man currently leading the search, is considering stepping down, those involved in the hunt told AP on condition of anonymity.

The remaining hope for the operation is in the biological area, a field U.N. inspectors were all suspicious of. Kay's teams have found no evidence Iraq had smallpox but has continued questioning Iraqi biologists and were pursuing information about anthrax and aflatoxin.

Of the handful of Iraqi weapons scientists remaining in U.S. custody, two are missile experts, and seven worked on past biological programs, according to Iraqi officials now working for the American occupation.

All continue to claim that Iraq hasn't worked on weapons of mass destruction for years.

Modher said he gave his word to Saddam that the al-Samoud missiles were designed to conform with U.N. regulations and his staff signed official letters forswearing proscribed activities.

On Feb. 20, one month before the U.S. attacked, Modher met with Saddam, his sons and five other men responsible for Iraq's air defenses to discuss the coming war. "We talked about the preparations." Modher had designed anti-aircraft missiles "but they were never fired because nobody fought," he said.

There was no mention in the meeting of other defense systems, such as chemical or biological weapons, Modher recalled.

To date, Congress has approved $700 million for the weapons hunt, according to Congressional staff, a figure higher than previously reported. The U.N. effort during the 1990s cost an estimated $60 million a year, which was paid by several countries and the United Nations.

The Bush administration began planning its own hunt six months before it went to war, military officers said.

Working in secret, the Pentagon set up the first U.S. teams designed to search for, identify and destroy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The mission, which military planners expected to be brief, was a failure and in June the Pentagon announced a larger operation with investigative capabilities to be led by Kay and Gen. Keith Dayton.

By August the operation, known as the Iraq Survey Group, was underway. Its most notable determination to date has been that two mobile trailers found in April and May were not biological laboratories as senior administration officials had claimed. In a BBC interview Kay called the trailers "a fiasco."

His first order of business was to throw out a U.S. intelligence list which inaccurately identified locations of chemical weapons, stores of highly enriched uranium and laboratories for anthrax and smallpox. He told team members that working off lists had been a mistake.

Instead, he ran the hunt as an investigation, the way the United Nations had done when he briefly worked for them in Iraq in 1991. Under Kay's direction, hundreds of Iraqis were interviewed, some were detained, no one has been charged. University science professors said ISG staff still come by once a week to poke around and ask questions.

At first, some ISG members identified themselves as journalists or academics interested in working on joint research projects, according to university staff and administrators. Dr. Modher said the ISG team that interviewed him in November said the meeting would be about privatizing his missile factory.

The CIA declined to comment on ISG activities or methods. It wouldn't release spending figures for the operation and Kay turned down a request for an interview. His interim report remains classified.

By contrast, the U.N. teams were required to file public reports every three months. Their major findings and expenses, later by Iraqi oil proceeds, were public as well.

Since the war was launched, American allies and U.N. Security Council members have talked of bolstering the work of U.N. inspectors and have used negotiations with Iran and North Korea as a way of reducing the threats those country could pose.

The United States tried a different route, pushing to rebuke both Iran and North Korea's nuclear activities in the Security Council but found no support for the moves.

"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea," said Hans Blix, the former chief U.N. inspector who will head a new nonproliferation center based in Stockholm.

That may be true, said William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, but he said the sudden attention paid to the issue of weapons of mass destruction is a tribute to the war.

"I don't believe the Iranians feel more confident that they can get away with a nuclear program today than they did a year ago," Kristol said.
I found several points of interest. First, there's the statement that "not a single item" from the WMD list has been found. I knew Kay came up dry; I didn't realize how dry. In spite of all the yammering by some that this thing or that thing was a U.N. violation, that doesn't appear to be the case.

I was surprised to hear we've spent $700M on this goose chase. As the article notes, this is more than previously reported.

Once again, to those folks who keep insisting the two trailers are proof of WMDs, more evidence your administration lied to you. Kay called them a "fiasco". His report clearly acknowledged the belief the trailers were for producing hydrogen.

Finally, note the highlighted paragraph near the end, "As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea." It sounds like the U.N. may not appreciate having its resolutions perverted to justify acts of agression. By pursuing his crusade again Hussein, Bush may have handicapped efforts to contain Iran and Korea. I find this rather ironic since both countries really do have nuclear programs. Both are considerably greater potential threats to U.S. and global security than Iraq. Oh well, I suppose that's a small price to pay for a photo op in a flight suit.

Anyway, I just thought I'd offer this update. For some reason, this story was hard to find. I only learned of it because it was mentioned on Crossfire today.


 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
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"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea."

I'm sure they were all fired up to pass sanctions on NK and Iran prior to Iraq? The UN is toothless.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
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Originally posted by: alchemize
"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea."

I'm sure they were all fired up to pass sanctions on NK and Iran prior to Iraq? The UN is toothless.
Perhaps so, but it seems leaders like GWBush are making it so. I happen to think that's a bad thing for the world, and I would think most capitalists would feel the same way. Wars and assorted skirmishes are impediments to global commerce. They increase the cost of doing business and add uncertainty to the markets.
 

alchemize

Lifer
Mar 24, 2000
11,489
0
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Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: alchemize
"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea."

I'm sure they were all fired up to pass sanctions on NK and Iran prior to Iraq? The UN is toothless.
Perhaps so, but it seems leaders like GWBush are making it so. I happen to think that's a bad thing for the world, and I would think most capitalists would feel the same way. Wars and assorted skirmishes are impediments to global commerce. They increase the cost of doing business and add uncertainty to the markets.

According to some folks, global commerce being impeded is a good thing ;)
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: Gaard
Holy crud! The most expensive snipe hunt in history!
Damn Iraqis anyway. The least they could have done was hide a Waldo over there so we'd have something to find.

Hmmm. Maybe that's what the Kurds did with Hussein. They just forgot the red and white shirt.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
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Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: alchemize
"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea."

I'm sure they were all fired up to pass sanctions on NK and Iran prior to Iraq? The UN is toothless.
Perhaps so, but it seems leaders like GWBush are making it so. I happen to think that's a bad thing for the world, and I would think most capitalists would feel the same way. Wars and assorted skirmishes are impediments to global commerce. They increase the cost of doing business and add uncertainty to the markets.
According to some folks, global commerce being impeded is a good thing ;)
You sly dog. You're trying to turn me into a Bush supporter.

:)
 

dirtboy

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
6,745
1
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Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Perhaps so, but it seems leaders like GWBush are making it so. I happen to think that's a bad thing for the world, and I would think most capitalists would feel the same way. Wars and assorted skirmishes are impediments to global commerce. They increase the cost of doing business and add uncertainty to the markets.
Not speaking for all capitalists, but if a capitalist was to die because a plane crashed into his office building or died to a nuclear bomb or died due to a chemical attack that was caused by an outside force, it wouldn't help his capitalism much. Being that a living capitalist has more opportunities in the market than a dead one, it would seem logical that he or she would be willing to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their market from outside threats.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,398
19
81
Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: alchemize
Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: alchemize
"As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea."

I'm sure they were all fired up to pass sanctions on NK and Iran prior to Iraq? The UN is toothless.
Perhaps so, but it seems leaders like GWBush are making it so. I happen to think that's a bad thing for the world, and I would think most capitalists would feel the same way. Wars and assorted skirmishes are impediments to global commerce. They increase the cost of doing business and add uncertainty to the markets.
According to some folks, global commerce being impeded is a good thing ;)
You sly dog. You're trying to turn me into a Bush supporter.

:)
LOL:D


Hell that might be his grand plan ...sorta slipped it to us with steel and lumber tarriffs... but not quite the right envrioment yet.:evil:
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
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Holy crud! The most expensive snipe hunt in history!
I thought FOXNews reported the ISG did find snipe in Iraq?! It must be that damn liberal media distorting the Bush record!
 

chess9

Elite member
Apr 15, 2000
7,748
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Give it up BOW! Dari told me SH has weapons of mass destruction but it doesn't matter because SH was a not nice person. Don't you listen to the Fox Cartoon Network? Drudge? Our friend the Pain Killer Prince? :)

Everyone knows the AP is a left wing front for the Democratic Party.

Besides all that money went mostly to Americans on the team, so we just paid ourselves.

-Robert
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: chess9
Give it up BOW! Dari told me SH has weapons of mass destruction but it doesn't matter because SH was a not nice person. Don't you listen to the Fox Cartoon Network? Drudge? Our friend the Pain Killer Prince? :)

Everyone knows the AP is a left wing front for the Democratic Party.

Besides all that money went mostly to Americans on the team, so we just paid ourselves.

-Robert
You know he's probably sitting there nodding his head as he read your comment.
 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
8,911
0
0
Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: chess9
Give it up BOW! Dari told me SH has weapons of mass destruction but it doesn't matter because SH was a not nice person. Don't you listen to the Fox Cartoon Network? Drudge? Our friend the Pain Killer Prince? :)

Everyone knows the AP is a left wing front for the Democratic Party.

Besides all that money went mostly to Americans on the team, so we just paid ourselves.

-Robert
You know he's probably sitting there nodding his head as he read your comment.

And we all know who told him. :)
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: dirtboy
Not speaking for all capitalists, but if a capitalist was to die because a plane crashed into his office building or died to a nuclear bomb or died due to a chemical attack that was caused by an outside force, it wouldn't help his capitalism much. Being that a living capitalist has more opportunities in the market than a dead one, it would seem logical that he or she would be willing to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their market from outside threats.
That makes sense to me ... for Afghanistan. Doesn't have a thing to do with Iraq.

Also note the context of the comment. It was Blix's concern that, "As long as the United States has a pre-emptive policy on the books, no one will pass sanctions against Iran or North Korea." It seems to me ignoring North Korea and Iraq is risky, attacking them will likely get messy. Bad for global commerce.

 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,383
1,013
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AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
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It's amazing that truth doesn't matter to Americans. The likelihood of finding WMD in Iraq is quite low now . . . and in all likelihood Bush-backers will say "no harm no foul" while reasonable people will say "$250B to pre-empt BS".
 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
8,911
0
0
Originally posted by: glenn1
AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?

Not that you care, but if the majority of Americans don't notice/care if we never find WMD I'd find that really sad.
 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,383
1,013
126
Not that you care, but if the majority of Americans don't notice/care if we never find WMD I'd find that really sad.
No argument. But the political parties seem to make a routine of incorrectly calculating the effects of various revelations to the American public. The Republicans were amazed when Monica Lewinski didn't hurt Clinton. The Democrats were amazed when Iran-Contra didn't hurt Reagan. Etc, etc, ad nauseum.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: Gaard
Originally posted by: glenn1
AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?

Not that you care, but if the majority of Americans don't notice/care if we never find WMD I'd find that really sad.
Probably, because in the end, the removal of hussein was the right thing to do.
 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
8,911
0
0
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: Gaard
Originally posted by: glenn1
AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?

Not that you care, but if the majority of Americans don't notice/care if we never find WMD I'd find that really sad.
Probably, because in the end, the removal of hussein was the right thing to do.
But the removal of Hussein wasn't the primary reason given for this war.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: glenn1
AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?
How I'll "deal" with it? What's to deal with? It is what it is.

I happen to place high value on having leaders with integrity. Bush-lite's lies about Iraq were offensive to me, reinforcing my belief he is unsuitable for President. It's obvious many Americans place a much lower priority on integrity. Otherwise, we wouldn't have a government dominated by scoundrels and whores (on both sides of the aisle).

If enough people consider Bush's dishonesty unacceptable, he'll be unemployed next January. If not, well that's the price of living in a democracy. We get the government we deserve.


 

syzygy

Diamond Member
Feb 5, 2001
3,038
0
76
Originally posted by: Bowfinger

Once again, to those folks who keep insisting the two trailers are proof of WMDs, more evidence your administration lied to you. Kay called them a "fiasco". His report clearly acknowledged the belief the trailers were for producing hydrogen.
kay detailed the vast clandestine programs operated by iraq's intelligence services, the development of new biological toxins,
saddam's continued interest and plotting to redevelop wmd capabilities once the international scrutiny subsided, and the poorly
obvious efforts by the remnants of iraq's intelligence services (or their sympathizers) to sanitize and destroy as much of their evil
doings as possible. the fact that you cannot read nor interpret the basic findings of his report has already been demonstrated.
if you want me to run through the report again with pitiable you, i'll take you by the hand and do so.


 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: Gaard
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: Gaard
Originally posted by: glenn1
AP: $700M and not a single item from WMD list found -- "most secretive, expensive and fruitless weapons hunt in history"
Just out of curiousity, have you figured out how to deal with the possibility that once "no WMDs" becomes an unambigiously clear fact, that the majority of the American people may not turn against Bush like you hope, or perhaps won't even notice/care?

Not that you care, but if the majority of Americans don't notice/care if we never find WMD I'd find that really sad.
Probably, because in the end, the removal of hussein was the right thing to do.
But the removal of Hussein wasn't the primary reason given for this war.
It was still one of the many reasons listed before the start of the war.
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
0
The Republicans were amazed when Monica Lewinski didn't hurt Clinton. The Democrats were amazed when Iran-Contra didn't hurt Reagan. Etc, etc, ad nauseum.
(Reagan/Bush41) Clandestine funding of foreign wars . . . (Clinton) fellatio + lying about fellatio . . . (Bush43) war waged under false pretenses . . . is it just me . . . one of these seems not like the others.
 

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