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[casi] in your spare time...

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The following is a story in Time.  I am not sure when it was written but felt
it was ridiculous enough to merit a response, I wrote one and invite the rest
of you to do the same.
Best Wishes.

What Saddam's Got
Much of his chemical and biological weaponry remains unaccounted for, and
he's working on nukes.
When Iraq accepted the terms of the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire, it agreed to
"destroy, or render harmless," all its weapons of mass destruction. The last
U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in December 1998, after obstruction by
officials there rendered their work pointless. It is generally agreed that
Saddam Hussein has not been behaving himself in their absence. The U.N. has
collected reams of color satellite photos showing an unmistakable boom in
reconstruction of Iraqi sites, some of which were weapons facilities in the
past. "You can see hundreds of new roofs in these photos," says Hans Blix,
the Swedish diplomat who heads the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, which is preparing to conduct future inspections in
the event Saddam consents to them. "But you don't know what's under them."
U.S. intelligence officials beg to differ. Says one: "The Iraqis have been
putting themselves in a position to rejuvenate their
weapons-of-mass-destruction programs." DOES SADDAM HAVE THE BOMB? No one has
a precise answer. The International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled 40
nuclear-research facilities before the U.N. inspectors left Iraq, including
three uranium-enrichment sites. Prior to the inspections, Saddam's
stealthiness had been so effective that none of the 40 were known to the
outside world. Clearly, Iraq was on its way to becoming a nuclear power.
Without ground inspections, those who track Iraq's nuclear development have
had to rely on interviews with recent defectors and surveys of suppliers
Baghdad has contacted seeking parts. Both suggest that Iraq's nuclear program
is back in full swing. "Iraq's known nuclear scientists are gravitating to
the country's five nuclear research sites," says Charles Duelfer, who was the
second-ranking official on the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq until
it was disbanded in 1999. "That doesn't appear to be coincidental." Experts
including Duelfer and Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington, believe Saddam has the
sophisticated triggers, weapon housings and everything else he needs to build
a nuclear device—except for a sufficient supply of weapons-grade enriched
uranium. Intelligence indicates that he is angling to obtain some on the
international black market, but it's not something that your friendly
neighborhood arms smuggler can lay hands on right away. So Saddam also is
working to enrich his own uranium. That's a major technological challenge,
but Iraq is expected to succeed within three to six years, at its current
about Iraq's capabilities on these fronts is firmer and no less frightening.
"We destroyed a lot of chemical weapons," says Duelfer of the U.N. inspection
team. "They had a facility that was going night and day, like some weird
James Bond movie." Inspectors discovered and disposed of 38,500 chemical
munitions (such as shells, warheads, bombs), 690 tons of chemical weapons
agents, 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals and 426 pieces of chemical
production equipment. But Iraq never accounted for all the 100,000 chemical
weapons it produced for use in the Iran-Iraq war, and there are fears that
thousands of them, filled with either deadly VX or mustard gas, could be
squirreled away. Cia Director George Tenet told Congress in February,
"Baghdad is expanding its civilian chemical industry in ways that could be
diverted quickly to chemical weapons production." Procedurally there is not
much difference between making pesticides and making chemical weapons.
According to former UNSCOM chief Richard Butler, Iraq takes advantage of the
similarities and eludes sanctions by using Jordanian front companies to
import lathes and machine tools, which, once inside Iraq, are easily adapted
to the production of chemical weapons. The Iraqis consistently deny violating
the sanctions or the cease-fire deal. Prior to the Gulf War, according to the
Iraqi government, Baghdad produced 8,400 liters of anthrax, 19,000 liters of
botulinum and 2,000 liters each of aflatoxin and clostridium. A single gram
of anthrax—roughly 1/30 oz.—contains 1 trillion spores, or enough for 100
million fatal doses if properly dispersed. "In terms of where it went," says
Duelfer of the Iraqi bio cache, "we could never nail it all down." Even if
inspectors had found all the materials before they left the country, Iraq has
almost certainly made more in the past three years. Thanks to Rihab Taha, a
British-educated Iraqi biochemist, nicknamed Dr. Germ by the U.N. inspectors,
Saddam still has the best biological expertise in the region. Chemical and
biological agents can wipe out entire populations, but first they must be
placed in an effective delivery system, such as a bomb or warhead fitted with
an aerosol diffuser that will spread its plagues or poisons before the weapon
explodes. Iraq is believed to be working to perfect such delivery systems.
All but about a dozen of Iraq's Soviet-made Scud missiles were accounted for
and dismantled after the Gulf War, but last year Iraq began testing a new
line of short-range ballistic missiles, which could potentially be loaded
with viruses or gases and hit targets as far away as 93 miles. An internal
report from the Iraqi National Congress, the chief Iraqi opposition group,
says that during a televised procession at Baghdad's military parade ground
last year, new missiles were displayed, including ones that appeared to
violate the U.N. ban on long-range missiles that is meant to prevent Iraq
from threatening Europe. A chemical weapons unit marched with the missiles
that day. As it passed Saddam's reviewing stand, he became noticeably
excited, firing several shots into the air. Perhaps the rest of the world
should consider those fair warning. — Reported by Massimo Calabresi and Mark
Thompson / Washington, Scott MacLeod / Amman and Azadeh Moaveni / New York

Roger Stroope
Peace is a Human Right
Austin College

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