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Duelfer report contradicts WMD letter

Simeon ThomasSummit Cove

Re: “WMDs were in Iraq” (Daily Mail, April 14)Make your own judgments. The following are direct quotes from the Duelfer report “Key Findings” and the Addenda:While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG (Iraq Survey Group) judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.• The scale of the Iraqi conventional munitions stockpile, among other factors, precluded an examination of the entire stockpile; however, ISG inspected sites judged most likely associated with possible storage or deployment of chemical weapons. Nonetheless, the interview process had several shortcomings. Detainees were very concerned about their fate and therefore would not be willing to implicate themselves in sensitive matters of interest such as WMD, in light of looming prosecutions. Debriefers noted the use of passive interrogation resistance techniques collectively by a large number of detainees to avoid their involvement or knowledge of sensitive issues; place blame or knowledge with individuals who were not in a position to contradict the detainee’s statements, such as deceased individuals or individuals who were not in custody or who had fl ed the country; and provide debriefers with previously known information. However, the reader should keep in mind the Arab proverb: “Even a liar tells many truths.”Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability – which was essentially destroyed in 1991 – after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability – in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks – but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.• Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq’s principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.• The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them.Remaining Uncertainties. Some uncertainties remain and some information will continue to emerge about the WMD programs or the former Regime. Reports cited in the Comprehensive Report concerning the possible movement of WMD or WMD materials from Iraq prior to the war remain unresolved. With the recent increase in security, planned efforts to investigate this issue were suspended. ISG developed an investigation plan that may be pursued when the security situation improves.WMD Leftovers. There continue to be reports of WMD in Iraq. ISG has found that such reports are usually scams or misidentification of materials or activities. A very limited number of cases involved the discovery of old chemical munitions produced before 1990. These types of reports (particularly scams) will likely continue for some time and local authorities will have to judge which merit further investigation.Overall, I (Charles Duelfer) have confidence in the picture of events and programs covered by this report. If there were to be a surprise in the future, it most likely would be in the biological weapons area, since the signature and facilities for these efforts are small compared to the other WMD types. ISG disproved much of the prewar reporting from a specific source concerning mobile BW capability, but it is still possible, though I (Charles Duelfer) would judge very unlikely, that such a capability remains undiscovered. Given the access to individuals involved in these programs, it would seem probable that someone would have given some concrete indication of surviving or undeclared capability.Please remember that the Iraq Survey Group was a joint endeavor of the CIA and the DIA , Defense (U.S. military) Intelligence Agency.


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