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[casi] Proof by Absence of Proof #2

Proof by Absence of Proof #2

1) Don't bother them with facts
2) No Weapons Doesn't Mean No Threat



Don't bother them with facts

By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

    To hear a number of leading Democrats tell it, the report issued last
week by David Kay, chairman of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), was proof
positive President Bush had effectively committed a war crime: He launched a
war of aggression on the pretext Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) and now, thanks to Mr. Kay, we know that wasn't true.
    There is only one problem with this highly partisan attack, and the
parallel media reporting that has taken a similarly pollyannish line about
the Kay report: No responsible reader could take any comfort from its
findings, let alone construe them as an indictment of the Bush
administration and its decision to liberate Iraq.
    While the president's critics may not wish to be bothered by the facts,
they are, as the saying goes, "stubborn things." And those laid out by Mr.
Kay and his colleagues paint a picture of Saddam Hussein as despot
relentlessly engaged in the pursuit of the most devastating weapons known to
    The Iraq Survey Group's inability to date to locate the weapons the
United Nations previously determined were in Saddam's hands should be a
matter of grave concern - and redoubled effort. Its report certainly is not
cause for, as some have suggested, shutting down the ISG and reallocating
its resources elsewhere.
    Consider, for example, the following facts that belie the conclusion
Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction:
    c  The Kay team has thus far been able to examine only 10 of the 130
known ammo depots in Iraq, some of which are as large as 50 square miles. It
would be folly to say on the basis of a less-than-10-percent sample whether
WMD are to be found in the remainder.
    c  These depots are filled with immense quantities of ordnance. Since
the regime made no appreciable effort to distinguish which contained high
explosives and which were loaded with chemical or biological agents,
establishing exactly what is in such facilities is time-consuming and
    c  In addition to the known depots, there are untold numbers of covert
weapons caches around the country. These caches have been the source of much
of the ordnance used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to attack
American and coalition forces. Whether any of these contain WMD remains
unknown at this juncture. But if they do, IEDs could, in the future, be
vastly more devastating - especially to unprotected Iraqis in proximity to
the attack.
    c  The task is further complicated by the relatively small size of the
objects of the search. Mr. Kay has noted that all of Saddam Hussein's as yet
unaccounted for WMD could be stored in a space the size of a two-car garage.
According to former Clinton CIA Director R. James Woolsey, his entire
suspected inventory of the biological agent anthrax would fill roughly half
a standard semi's tractor trailer.
    Taken together with the assiduous efforts of Saddam to conceal and
otherwise to obscure his weapons of mass destruction program (also
documented by Mr. Kay and his team), these factors give rise to an
ineluctable reality: If the ISG is having a hard time ferreting out the
truth about Iraq's WMD, U.N. inspectors would likely never have found
dispositive evidence of Iraqi WMD given the additional constraints they
labored under that no longer apply (notably, those imposed on freedom of
travel and inquiry by Saddam's totalitarian system and the attendant lack of
cooperation from Iraqi scientists).
    The really bad news in the Kay report are its revelations about the role
being played in WMD-related activities by Saddam's dreaded Iraqi
Intelligence Service (known as the IIS, or Mukhabarat). According to Mr.
Kay, the Mukhabarat had more than two-dozen secret laboratories - and more
are still being found - that "at a minimum kept alive Iraq's capability to
produce both biological and chemical weapons."
    In addition to discovering work aimed at weaponizing various deadly
diseases, the Iraq Survey Group received from an Iraqi scientist "reference
strains" for one of the most lethal substances known to man: Botulinum
toxin. In short order, with the right equipment and growth material - items
Saddam was able to acquire and retain since they were inherently "dual use"
and could also be used for commercial purposes - such strains could
translate into large quantities of biological agents.
    Lest we forget, it was this sort of capability that President Bush cited
as grounds for war. He warned of the possibility that weapons of mass
destruction could be made available to terrorists. It would not take large
quantities to inflict immense damage. And it would likely be the Iraqi
Intelligence Services, rather than the regular army or even the Republican
Guard, who would be responsible for providing such support to the regime's
terrorist proxies.
    In a little-noted aspect of his recent "Meet the Press" interview, Vice
President Richard Cheney for the first time offered official confirmation
that Iraqi agents appeared to have played such a catalytic role in the first
attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
    It is one thing to ignore the facts available, and their ominous
implications. It is, however, another thing altogether to pretend David Kay
has shown there is no danger from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction, when the facts are otherwise, and bothersome indeed.

    Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and
a columnist for The Washington Times.



No Weapons Doesn't Mean No Threat

By Charles Duelfer
Monday, October 6, 2003; Page A23

The Iraq Survey Group headed by David Kay has now made an interim report.
Ironically, this group has inherited the obligation previously levied by the
United Nations upon Saddam Hussein -- namely, to credibly and verifiably
detail Iraq's program of weapons of mass destruction to a skeptical
international audience.

The group has had far more access and resources than the U.N. inspectors
under Hans Blix and it has been in Iraq longer. How is it faring and what
does the interim report tell us? Particularly, does the absence of a major
weapons discovery mean that U.N. inspections were working and the war was

Kay states that while no ready-to-use weapons have been found, Iraq is a big
country and many depots and other locations are yet to be inspected.
However, the Kay report does list evidence of continuing research and
development (though not production) in each weapon category. It also
describes activities and equipment that Iraq failed to declare to the United
Nations and that were not discovered by the inspectors.

Future reports will have to show in verifiable detail the extent of these
prohibited programs, but these findings will not greatly surprise
experienced U.N. inspectors. Hussein had long differentiated between
retaining weapons and sustaining the capability to produce weapons.
Experience has also shown that Iraq tended to pursue whatever relevant
research was allowed or was deemed undetectable.

The apparent absence of existing weapons stocks, therefore, does not mean
Hussein did not pose a WMD threat. In fact, fragments of evidence in Kay's
report about ongoing biological weapons research suggest that Hussein may
have had a quick "break-out" capacity to threaten his neighbors and, indeed,
the United States with biological agents (possibly including infectious

But clearly this is not the immediate threat many assumed before the war.
Large stocks of chemical and biological munitions have not been found. The
WMD threat appears to have been longer term. Assuming this finding does not
change, it will be very important for the Iraq Survey Group to establish
when all agents and weapons were eliminated. It will also be important to
analyze why the picture Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the
Security Council in February was so far off the mark.

Future reports will also have to demonstrate what facts about the Iraq WMD
program the U.N. teams missed and how Hussein's regime acted to thwart the
efforts of the United Nations. This latter issue is vital. Kay makes mention
of the Iraqi concealment and deception as one reason why he has found so
little. The first U.N. inspection team (UNSCOM) pursued a controversial
program to investigate what we termed the Iraqi concealment mechanism. The
goal was to show how the enormous resources of Iraq's security and
intelligence apparatus undermined the inspection teams. We accumulated
evidence that presidential secretary Abed Hamid Mahmoud, now in U.S.
custody, directed a government-wide effort to contain inspection activity.
This included penetrating the U.N. inspection teams and even obtaining
assistance from other prominent countries to fend off the inspectors.
Conducting surprise inspections had become almost impossible.

The Iraq Survey Group should now have access to the records and participants
of the former regime. Future reports must provide a clear description of the
Iraqi system for containing inspector activity. This is necessary to inform
judgments about the effectiveness of the U.N. inspections. The argument is
made that if no weapons were found in Iraq, then maybe the U.N. inspection
process was successfully containing Hussein and, therefore, the war was

This will be proven wrong if the Iraq Survey Group can show that Hussein
could outlast and outwit the efforts of the Security Council to keep him
from ever obtaining WMD. While the inspection system may have appeared to be
successful at a given point, it was not sustainable and eventually the U.N.
Security Council would lose focus. Kay's group needs to document the
strategy that Hussein's regime was pursuing to counter and erode the U.N.
disarmament measures.

The Bush administration appears committed to developing a full picture of
the Iraqi weapons program, even if it turns out to be less than was
forecast. This task in Iraq, like so many others, is made much more
difficult because of early mistakes. Key sites were left unsecured and
looters destroyed much evidence. Tons of documents were collected
haphazardly, and now they have to be sorted out by experts and linguists --
an extremely time-consuming process.

Finally, the Iraqis who are most knowledgeable have been living in fear of
arrest by the Americans or death from various internal Iraqi threats. Most
of the WMD program leaders have spent the summer in jail. The second-tier
scientists and engineers fear the night when U.S. military surround their
homes and take them away to face an unknown future. They do not find much
incentive to cooperate.

Kay appears to be making necessary course corrections, and a full verifiable
description of Hussein's programs and policies should be forthcoming. It
will have to be meticulous. There are many very knowledgeable people in the
audience, including U.N. inspectors and former Iraqi officials, who will
ultimately pass judgment on its veracity.

The writer, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, was deputy chairman of
UNSCOM, the first U.N. Iraq inspection organization, from 1993 to 2000.


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