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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Dear CASI friends: This article was distributed to Laurie Mylroie's newsletter list, the antithesis, I should imagine, of CASI's list, only I got myself on it to stay abreast of what's going on. She is the author of "Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War against America." As for the current administration in the U.S., I cannot recall in my lifetime bamboozling on such a great scale-a kind of political prestidigitation-"If you don't see it, it's there!" Suzy The Wall Street Journal REVIEW & OUTLOOK Dance of Saddam's Seven Veils Iraq says it has no weapons? That's a material breach. Friday, December 6, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST Sunday is the deadline for Iraq to fess up to all of its secret weapons programs, but we already have a suggestion of what that list will be worth. "We have no weapons of mass destruction, absolutely no weapons of mass destruction," said Iraqi Major General Hussam Muhammad Amin this week. Well, that's a relief. This remarkable non-admission is the real Iraq news this week, not the dance of the seven veils now being undertaken in Baghdad by United Nations weapons inspectors. The latter couldn't be more amusing if it had been written by the Friar's Club. The inspectors pretend to be "surprising" the Iraqis about their inspection destinations, while the Iraqis pretend to be cooperating. This week they even managed a surprise visit to one of Saddam Hussein's umpteen presidential sites and/or palaces. Iraqis claimed to be outraged at this intrusion into their sovereignty, as if they haven't long ago had the chance to conceal whatever they really want to keep secret. The real, stunning surprise will be if the inspectors find something. In recent years Saddam has developed mobile laboratories that can take off in the opposite direction if they see a U.N. team heading their way. Nor does he have to keep many of his lethal weapons actually in stock. As a senior U.S. official told us this week, he's perfected the art of "just in time inventory" and has the ability to cook up weapons on demand. Some of the ingredients even have legitimate alternative uses, so Iraqis will insist they aren't a problem. The Iraqi report due this weekend could run to thousands of obfuscating pages, and the Bush Administration says it likely will take a while to respond. But the reality is that we already know Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, both from intelligence information and from U.N. inspections during the 1990s. All of this was laid out a couple of months back in a dossier by Tony Blair's Labor government. The Brits released another report on Iraq this week, this time reminding the world about Saddam's human-rights abuses. But the earlier report is more relevant to this weekend, demonstrating as it does that any assertion that Iraq lacks mass-murder weaponry is one more lie. Saddam's inventory includes: . up to 360 tons of bulk chemical warfare agent, including 1.5 tons of deadly VX nerve agent; . up to 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals for use in chemical weapons; . growth media for the production of biological weapons (enough to make more than three times the 8,500 liters of anthrax spores that Iraq admits to having manufactured); . and more than 30,000 special munitions "for delivery of chemical and biological agents." The British dossier also performs a useful service by describing in detail what it calls Iraq's "large, effective system for hiding proscribed material." That includes forged documents, dual-use facilities and hiding spots close to roads and telecommunications so illicit items can be moved at short notice. It's always possible the inspectors will get a break and stumble onto something, much as inspectors got lucky with defections in the 1990s before Saddam threw them out. But Saddam will always win a game of inspect and pretend on his home turf. In the meantime, the world is left to live with the knowledge that, as the British report also notes, Iraq can get weapons of mass destruction ready for use within 45 minutes of Saddam's order. In the foreword to the report, issued on September 24, Prime Minister Blair previews the charade we've been watching in Baghdad this week. Saddam, he warns, will "do his utmost to try to conceal his weapons from U.N. inspectors" and will "go to extreme lengths, indeed has already done so, to hide these weapons and avoid giving them up." It's the same old pattern of deceit that Saddam has gotten away with for more than a decade. But with the accounting due this weekend, the dance should finally be up. As U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week, "The United States knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The U.K. knows that they have weapons of mass destruction. Any country on the face of the Earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." If Iraq asserts this weekend that it has no such weapons, then that will on its face be a material breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding that he disarm. And a material breach means Iraq must be disarmed by force. The U.S. and Britain ought to say so, the U.N. should then bring its inspectors home, and the hour will be at hand to liberate Iraqis and the world from Saddam Hussein's terror threat. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk