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[casi] IISS Report Distortions

Today a British think-tank released a report on Iraq's "Weapons of Mass
Destruction".  The group (IISS) noted their report summarized existing material,
and the BBC rightly concluded the report contained "little new".

However, throughout the day MSNBC has led with the story, distorting it beyond
recognition with the headline, "Iraq Could Arm Weapons Within Months, Report

What IISS actually said was this: "[Iraq] could assemble nuclear weapons within
  MSNBC's headline is not news; it's a tautology ('Iraq could arm a weapon if
they had a weapon') employed as propaganda during a period of national mourning
and debate.

Fissile material remains the barrier to atomic weaponry -- not the engineering
of the bomb mechanism.  Provided with fissile material, "even a high school
student could make a bomb in short order" as Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez has

The process to enrich uranium remains extremely difficult.  IISS concludes:
"Iraq does not possess facilities to produce fissile material in sufficient
amounts for nuclear weapons. It would require several years and extensive
foreign assistance to build such fissile material production facilities."

There remains no indication of 'extensive foreign assistance' and no evidence
that Iraq's enrichment facilities are being rebuilt.  Late Friday, shortly after
Bush and Blair mentioned reports of an IAEA photo purportedly showing
reconstruction, the IAEA issued a press release to "make it clear there is
nothing new."


Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

[1] The report from British think-tank IISS:

[2] The BBC's analysis:

[3] Manhattan Project member Alvarez's comment:

[4] IAEA photo clarification:

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