WMD policy maker speaks to ‘Summit Soldier’ | SummitDaily.com
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WMD policy maker speaks to ‘Summit Soldier’

Rob IrvineBreckenridge

I would like to thank you for your new series by the “Summit Soldier” on the war in Iraq. It is refreshing to read something positive from a knowledgeable source on the ground about U.S. efforts to create an environment supportive of the formation of a democracy in that country. On the other hand, having observed the tenor of SDN editorials and letters to the editor over the 14 months that we have lived in Summit County, I was not surprised to see that a couple of your readers interpreted this as an effort to glorify U.S. Administration efforts in Iraq. While nothing I could say would change the minds of those who hate everything about President George Bush, I would like to clear up one common misconception frequently reported in national media.George Bush did not lie to the American public about Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As Deputy Assistant Secretary General for WMD Policy in HQ NATO’s International Staff (2002-04), I was well familiar with efforts within NATO HQ and the 26 NATO countries to stem the proliferation of WMD (nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological agents and weapons). The intelligence agencies in the NATO nations, several of whom had independent sources separate from US intelligence sources (CIA, DIA) due to their long association with Arabian Gulf countries, were aware of Sadaam’s efforts to develop WMD. Virtually all of these countries believed that Sadaam already had significant chemical and biological weapon stockpiles. Before the U.S. and its coalition partners invaded Iraq, there were intensive efforts in the Pentagon to develop a program to control any WMD that were captured during the invasion so that they would not fall into the hands of terrorists and unfriendly countries. I was present when a senior Pentagon official briefed a NATO non-proliferation group on these efforts. This program was never publicized. There would have been no reason to implement these extraordinary efforts if Iraq’s WMD development efforts were simply a fabrication.Before they was kicked out of Iraq after the first Gulf War, inspectors for a UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) destroyed all known stockpiles of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons and agents. Were U.S. and other nations’ intelligence assessments wrong about remaining stockpiles? Were the stockpiles hidden in Iraq and do they still exist today? Were they secreted out of the country before the invasion? Did Iraqi WMD development agencies lie to Sadaam about their efforts to develop these weapons? Perhaps we will never know the answers to these questions. I pray that we don’t learn the hard way when one is used against the United States or one of its allies. Write to usThe Summit Daily News welcomes letters to the editor, preferably by e-mail to letters@summitdaily.com. Past letters can be read at http://www.summitdaily.com. All letters must be submitted along with the author’s name, hometown and phone number.


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