April 14, 2003

The Hunt for WMD

The last holding action for the much-battered antiwar forces is the whine "But they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction..."

Well, leave aside all those chem suits and atropine capsules found around Iraq, leave aside the fact that the military has been very busy pacifying the area around Baghdad for just 1 week, leave aside that there is still a war going on, let's just look at the scale of the task. Here's General Tommy Franks on the hunt as the US starts the real search for WMD.

"But you're talking about 2,000, 3,000 perhaps, places in this country where we know we're going to go and investigate each one of them. We may have ... somewhere between five and 10 and 15 site exploitations ongoing in a 24-hour period of time."

So, if they get to 10 site inspections a day (on average) it could take 7 to 10 months to visit all the already-suspected sites. If in the course of interrogation of Baathists and scientists, they uncover another 1,000 sites to visit, that's 4 more months. So 11 to 14 months just to inspect.

The UN had two, maybe three teams with much reduced leverage, zero control of the country, virtually no access to interviewing scientists and very poor operational and intelligence security than is now the case. So a rough guess is that it would have taken 5 years to even approach a fraction of the effectiveness we will now see. With the Iraqis scurrying around covering tracks, moving sites.

Looks like UN inspections had zero chance of actually working.

Posted by campbell at April 14, 2003 01:23 AM | TrackBack

Leaving aside WMD entirely... was Saddam's regime acceptable as such? Was it not something that begged to be brought down on its own merits?

Oh but if he didn't have WMD then he couldn't have threatened countries on other continents so it would have been OK to let him go on gassing and torturing his own people.
As long as we have it straight...

Posted by: Paulineee at April 15, 2003 11:48 AM