by Fred Feldman
Now that UN inspectors have been withdrawn Bush is sure to “find” the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) whose existence he has been claiming for months without being able to provide any proof.
Attached below, for the information of readers, is an interesting article on how many UN inspectors feel about being kicked out of Iraq for the second—and presumably last—time by the United States government.
Since Washington must find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it will. That is a foregone conclusion, not a question mark (and cheering crowds can be organized too, especially for reporters who are “embedded” in military units and basically operating under their discipline).
The Iraqi government undoubtedly has some remaining stockpiles of weapons—many of them rapidly decaying of course—scattered around the country.
But the invading troops will be coming from the country with the most enormous stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction of every variety in the world. My own experience is that it is much easier to find things if you remember where you put them, and even easier if you bring them with you. The same is true of weapons of mass destruction.
There will now be no specialists involved in this process of “searching for WMD” who will not be entirely under the control of the U.S. military—no one to check on the real origins, viability, and so forth of any weapons that are found. Even the very minimal critical and politically-biased standards that the UN inspectors utilized will be thrown to the wind. An essentially disarmed and defenseless Iraq will be transformed by the magic of hype and lies (at least in this country) into a secret military superpower that was ready, willing, and able to destroy the world “any minute now,” and was stopped not a moment too soon.
The next week or two may well belong to the war mongers and to the hallucinations of the American triumphalists. Although nothing is inevitable, Washington’s overwhelming military power and Iraq’s relatively poor level of readiness for genuine popular self-defense are facts. These make the initial appearance of victory a high probability. But even if the probable happens, the key word is appearance.
The unprecedented political and moral isolation and weakness that the U.S. imperialists demonstrated in the “run-up” to the war—where the situation got worse for them with every delay—was not a fluke. The decline of American moral and political power in the months before the war reflects the fact that its raw access to military force is wildly disproportionate to its overall strength. Without a degree of moral and political credibility, which U.S. imperialism does not have in the world today, military power cannot build or maintain a world empire.
So let’s keep on protesting and keep on telling the truth as we see it. There are a lot of people on our side—including some who may be bullied into relative silence for a bit—and they need to see, hear, and participate in a loud and visible opposition right now.
The horrible crimes about to be committed will not accomplish the goals of the criminals. The wall of triumphalist noise is fated to crumble, and the bloated image of absolute power is going to deflate in devastating and unpredictable ways.
Nuclear inspectors reportedly angry
CHECKING FALSE U.S. LEADS WASTED TIME, SOURCE SAYS
By Dan Stober
As United Nations nuclear inspectors flee Iraq, some of them are angry at the Bush administration for cutting short their work, bad-mouthing their efforts, and making false claims about evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Some inspectors are “scandalized'” at the way President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, among others, have “politicized'” the inspection process, said a source close to the inspectors.
None of the nuclear-related intelligence trumpeted by the administration has held up to scrutiny, inspectors say. From suspect aluminum tubes to aerial photographs to documents—revealed to be forgeries—that claimed to link Iraq to uranium from Niger, inspectors say they chased U.S. leads that went nowhere and wasted valuable time in their efforts to determine the extent of Saddam Hussein's arsenal of weapons banned after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
The administration said the Iraqi aluminum tubes were uniquely suited for centrifuges to make bomb-grade uranium. But U.N. officials argue that the Iraqi explanation—that the tubes were destined to become artillery rockets—was more plausible. Moreover, the source close to inspectors said, the U.S. military uses similar tubes for a rocket known as the Hydra 70.
In October the White House released aerial photos of activity at former Iraqi nuclear facilities. The inspectors, however, found no sign of weapons activity and suggested that Saddam was not likely to reuse known nuclear sites.
In February the administration
said trucks were spotted at facilities shortly before the arrival of
inspectors, apparently to haul away and hide banned equipment. But in one case,
according to a U.N. official, the trucks were fire engines standing by the
building for safety reasons.
In the case of the Niger documents, they appeared genuine at first glance—accurate nomenclature, proper stamps—but further study turned up crude errors, such as words misspelled in French and dates that did not match the day of the week. Who created the counterfeit documents remains a mystery.
Recent inspection teams have included a new batch of U.S. nuclear scientists from Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories. The U.N. official described these inspectors as arriving as hawks and leaving as doves, after finding Iraq “a ruined country, not a threat to anyone.”' It is a view radically different from the administration’s view.
The nuclear inspectors trudged through the Iraqi countryside for months. They found the Iraqi weapons infrastructure, built at great expense in the 1980s, to be in a state of decay. They sought out out-of-the-way machine shops or companies where Iraqi scientists might be congregated. But they found no sign of an organized nuclear weapons program.
At the most, the U.N. official said, there may be “a few guys with paper and pencil and some computer in a back room.”
Responding to the U.S. emphasis on underground facilities, the inspectors slugged through the mud beneath a petroleum plant and paid a visit to an irrigation reservoir carved into the inside of a mountain. Neither contained anything suspicious.
The nuclear inspectors—the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Iraq Action Team—are led by a Frenchman, Jacques Baute. Under his direction the team has focused on unraveling the clandestine Iraqi procurement networks that imported nuclear weapons technology in the 1980s and the aluminum tubing more recently.
During unannounced visits to trading companies, the inspectors used special equipment to copy the hard drives of computers. Among the thousands of files they found some leads, as well as pornography.
Traders in the procurement networks, the inspectors discovered, have been using their positions to steal oil-for-food money and shift the stolen profits out of the country. For example, a $100,000 purchase of humanitarian goods from Jordan might be inflated to $200,000, with the extra money split between the Iraqi buyer and the Jordanian seller.
Some of the inspectors leave with a deep suspicion of U.S. motives. Some believe, for example, that recent flights of U.S. U-2 spy planes were intended to help the military draw up target lists, not to aid the inspectors in their search for weapons of mass destruction.