Monday, July 7, 2008

Saddam's WMD ambitions

In case you missed this story: American troops, when they invaded Iraq in 2003, found some 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium - sufficient to produce 142 nuclear weapons. The yellowcake has just been sold to Canada, where a Canadian company will process it into fuel for use in nuclear reactors. See the op-ed in Investor's Business Daily for more details.

Cognoscenti of the 'Bush lied' accusations that began with Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, will remember that the CIA sent Wilson to Niger to explore allegations that the Iraqis had sought to obtain yellowcake there. Wilson confirmed that an Iraqi delegation, headed by a nuclear weapons expert, had visited Niger, but found no evidence that the deal had been consumated. (Nor did Bush say that it had.)

Yet Saddam over the years purchased a good deal of yellowcake. According to official USG reports released after the invasion, Saddam never abandoned his ambitions to develop WMD. Rather, he was waiting for a chance to do so, once the international sanctions on Iraq were lifted. Perhaps Bush, rather than lying, was too cautious in his remarks.

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