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WMD: Weapons Must've Disappeared?

Like the mythical World War II G.I. who inscribed "Kilroy was here" on everything from troop ships to Stalin's outhouse at Potsdam, the words of Iraq's WMD czars go before them. Leaders of UN inspections, which began as a condition of surrender just after the Gulf War, come in varying political stripes-Hans Blix, for instance, opposed regime change-when it comes to the U.S. war with Iraq. But together with the two postwar czars over U.S. inspections teams (both David Kay and Charles Duelfer were inspectors for the UN teams), they clocked hundreds of inspection tours over 12 years inside Iraq to reach obvious conclusions-capsulized here in their own words:

Issue: "Iraq: The WMD debate," Feb. 21, 2004

Rolf Ekeus

Head of UN WMD inspections 1991-1997

"Detractors of Bush and Blair have tried to make political capital of the presumed discrepancy between the top-level assurances about Iraq's possession of chemical weapons (and other WMD) and the inability of invading forces to find such stocks. The criticism is a distortion and trivialization of a major threat to international peace and security." -Washington Post op-ed, June 2003

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Richard Butler

Head of UN WMD inspections 1997-1999

"Iraq certainly did have weapons of mass destruction. Trust me. I held some in my own hands." -September 2003 to convention of utility and transportation contractors in Atlantic City

Hans Blix

Head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), 2000-present

"The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, ... that the agent was never weaponized."

UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared, according to a report to the Security Council last January: "Iraq has declared that it produced about 8,500 liters of this biological warfare agent [anthrax], which it states it unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. Iraq has provided little evidence for this production and no convincing evidence for its destruction. There are strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared, and that at least some of this was retained after the declared destruction date. It might still exist."

David Kay

CIA Special Adviser for Strategy, Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs (head of Iraq Survey Group), June 2003-January 2004

"We have found an extensive network of laboratories operated by the Iraqi intelligence service now numbering about two dozen that were not known before. We have also found that the Iraqis initiated work on new agents: Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever being one, brucellosis being another, that they had not done before and had not declared. So we found quite a bit of activity in the weapons area, but we have not, again, we haven't found the weapons." -October 2003 interview, Newshour with Jim Lehrer

Charles Duelfer

Successor to David Kay, appointed by CIA Director George Tenet, January 2004

"When [weapons inspectors] left in December 1998, there certainly remained in Iraq the intellectual know-how to continue all these programs. UNSCOM had significant concerns about remaining production capability and indeed, weapons themselves. During the period of time UNSCOM still worked in New York, but was not in Iraq, it continued to collect evidence of ongoing Iraqi work in all areas of WMD. I doubt anyone believes Iraq has stopped its WMD efforts." -testimony before U.S. House of Representatives, October 2001

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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