On Saturday, former UN weapons inspector David Kay told Reuters that Iraqi WMD stockpiles may not have existed at all.
“I don’t think they existed,” Kay told Reuters news agency on Friday. “What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the  gulf war, and I don’t think there was a large-scale production program in the ’90s.”
As expected, some of Bush’s detractors were pleased with the news. One senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace went so far as to ask for President Bush to testify in court for his part in the Iraq war.
“The jury is in, the foreman has delivered his verdict. The only thing missing is the president standing up in the courtroom and admitting he was wrong,” said Joseph Cirincione, a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
But contrary to what Kay told Reuters, he also said in an interview with The Telegraph that some weapons–including WMD–may have been shipped to Syria prior to the Iraq war early last year.
“We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons,” he said. “But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam’s WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.”
Not only that, but Kay’s own report of last year documents rather well Iraqi WMD programs.
- We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002.
- A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.
- In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence — hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use — are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.
With so many conflicting–but still not outright contradictory–stances, I believe it’s fair to say that the word of David Kay should be taken with a grain of salt. And as for those wishing to stick it to Bush, I’d caution them against jumping to premature conclusions. The jury on Iraqi WMD is not in, and anyone who thinks so is playing pure politics.
Besides, the belief that Hussein had WMD was one of the main reasons for an Iraq war, and Hussein went to great lengths to make sure the rest of the world questioned his WMD activities by inhibiting UN inspectors. Futhermore, British, French and American intelligence all warned of Iraq’s WMD capabilities. Hussein’s efforts to complete WMD programs prior to the 1990 Gulf War are no small secret either.
And after all, Hussein’s removal from power and the liberation of a nation are indeed things to be cheered.