Now that everybody in the world knows that Saddam had no WMD, maybe this can stop being a political issue and we can actually look at the WMD that Saddam really had. From NewsMax, with thanks to Joyce:
Is it really true that Saddam Hussein had no “stockpiles” of weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invaded in March 2003?
Not exactly – at least not if one counts the 500 tons of uranium that the Iraqi dictator kept stored at his al Tuwaitha nuclear weapons development plant.
The press hasn’t made much of Saddam’s 500-ton uranium stockpile, downplaying the story to such an extent that most Americans aren’t even aware of it.
But it’s been reported – albeit in a by-the-way fashion – by the New York Times and a handful of other media outlets. And one of Saddam’s nuclear scientists, Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, admitted to the BBC earlier this year, “We had 500 tons of yellow cake [uranium] in Baghdad.”
Surely 500 tons of anything qualifies as a “stockpile.” And press reports going back more than a decade give no indication that weapons inspectors had any idea the Iraqi dictator had amassed such a staggering amount of nuke fuel until the U.S. invaded.
That’s when the International Atomic Energy Agency was finally able to take a full inventory, and suddenly the 500-ton figure emerged.
Still, experts say Saddam’s massive uranium stockpile was largely benign.
Largely? Well, except for the 1.8 tons of uranium that Saddam had begun to enrich. The U.S. Energy Department considered that stockpile so dangerous that it mounted an unprecedented airlift operation four months ago to remove the enriched uranium stash from al Tuwaitha.
But didn’t most of that enrichment take place before the first Gulf War – with no indication whatsoever that Saddam was capable of proceeding any further toward his dream of acquiring the bomb?
That seems to be the consensus. But there’s also disturbing evidence to the contrary.
David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector who was hailed by the press last year for pronouncing Iraq WMD-free, shared some interesting observations with Congress this past January about goings-on at al Tuwaitha in 2000 and 2001.
“[The Iraqis] started building new buildings, renovating it, hiring some new staff and bringing them together,” Kay said. “And they ran a few physics experiments, re-ran experiments they’d actually run in the ’80s.”
“Fortunately, from my point of view,” he added, “Operation Iraqi Freedom intervened and we don’t know how or how fast that would have gone ahead. … Given their history, it was certainly an emerging program that I would not have looked forward to their continuing to pursue.”