Over the weekend Laurie Mylroie circulated to her Iraq News e-list the letters to the editor by General Meekin and David Kay that Rocket Man wrote about yesterday. Her preface to the letters was interesting in its own right: “Last Sunday, the Wash Post ran a big, front-page story, authored by Barton Gellman, to the effect that David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group had pretty much concluded that Iraq did not have a significant nuclear program after 1991.
“Yesterday, the Post published a letter from Kay, complaining that Gellman had grossly distorted the record. One major source for the story, Australian Brig. Gen. Stephen Meekin did the same, explaining that he does not work for or report to Kay (as Gellman claimed) nor does his work have anything to do with Iraq’s nuclear program (as Gellman also claimed).
“In a similar vein, Wash Post columnist David Ignatius writes today, ‘Hussein never posed the sort of imminent danger to America that administration officials implied,’ even as he states, ‘I find it impossible to fault on moral grounds the case for toppling Saddam Hussein last March, and for staying the course now.’
“So why nit-pick? Iraq was an imminent danger, and perhaps still is. The key issue is Iraq’s biological program. Don’t people remember the anthrax letters that followed the 9/11 strikes and the eensy, invisible-to-the-naked-eye amount of material that constituted a lethal dose?
“When the extraordinary dimensions of Iraq’s BW program were first revealed in the fall of 1995, as a result of Hussein Kamil’s defection, Madeleine Albright, then U.N. ambassador, affirmed that Saddam could ‘destroy all humanity.’
“So what happened to Iraq’s BW stockpile? Several readers responded with concern to the Oct 28 AFP report quoting the head of the Defense Dep’t’s National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Lt. Gen. (ret) James Clapper. Clapper, as was widely reported–including in the NY Times, but not the Wash Post–explained that at least some of Iraq’s proscribed weapons were probably moved to Syria before and during the war.
“A retired US Army colonel emphasized to ‘Iraq News’ that the US had to get that material from Syria. He also concurred with ‘Iraq News’ in its estimate of the potentially very damaging impact of these highly-distorted stories suggesting that Saddam was not a real threat. Those who would be most likely to push for an aggressive approach to Syria are now obliged to defend their position that a serious danger did exist. Thus, they are not so well-placed to explain why it should be an urgent US priority to determine what happened to Iraq’s BW stockpile and seize it from whatever party may now be in possession of it.”
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