Condi on WMD

by on January 29th, 2004

I’m more interested in Condi’s appearances on the talk show circuit in connection with the BBC’s recent apology for its claims that Tony Blair “sexed up” intelligence on Iraq. While Blair looks exonerated, that hasn’t helped Bush much. People are still loudly proclaiming that the Kay report said there were “no” weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (In fact, the report merely said that there were no stockpiles in Iraq.) Few people are going to remember that — unless I’m misremembering his words — President Bush did not claim that there were massive stockpiles of WMDs in either his 2003 or 2002 State of the Union addresses. The only thing that comes close is his claim that Iraq had 30,000 rockets outfitted with chemical warheads (some of which were found), and Kay himself said that his team had similar reports and did not deny that they could still exist. “We have not yet found stocks of weapons, but we are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone.”

The problem is Powell’s speech at the U.N. One line from it, “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent,” is what is getting the administration into trouble now. Ye the Kay report itself says, “For example, there are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined.” Hardly condemning of Powell, eh?

So what, exactly, is all the fuss about Kay’s report? When I first read it, I thought it pretty much a vindication of U.S. intelligence efforts. I’ve yet to see where exactly “Bush lied.”

I.J. Reilly