Yet once again… Relevant findings from the Butler Report (UK)
[b]It would be rash to say now that no evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programmes will ever be found
Before the war Iraq wanted to get banned weapons, including a nuclear programme
Iraq was developing ballistic missiles with a longer range than allowed [/b]
The war decision
There was “no recent intelligence” to lead people to conclude Iraq was of more immediate concern than other countries, although its history prompted the view there needed to be a threat of force to ensure Saddam Hussein’s compliance
Intelligence only played a “limited” role in determining the legality of the war
No evidence was found that Britain went to war to secure continued access to oil supplies
Tony Blair’s policy to Iraq shifted because of 11 September, not the pace of Iraq’s weapons programmes.
Uranium from Niger
British intelligence on the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger was “credible”. There was not conclusive evidence Iraq actually purchased the material, nor did the government make that claim.[/b]
and more important… the Duelfer report…
Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted.
• Saddam totally dominated the Regime’s strategic decision making. He initiated most of the strategic thinking upon which decisions were made, whether in matters of war and peace (such as invading Kuwait), maintaining WMD as a national strategic goal, or on how Iraq was to position itself in the international community. Loyal dissent was discouraged and constructive variations to the implementation of his wishes on strategic issues were rare. Saddam was the Regime in a strategic sense and his intent became Iraq’s strategic policy.
• Saddam’s primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq’s intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. Indeed, this remained the goal to the end of the Regime, as the starting of any WMD program, conspicuous or otherwise, risked undoing the progress achieved in eroding sanctions and jeopardizing a political end to the embargo and international monitoring.
• The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.
• By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.
Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.
• Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq’s principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.
• Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judges that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped Saddam’s belief in the value of WMD. In Saddam’s view, WMD helped to save the Regime multiple times. He believed that during the Iran-Iraq war chemical weapons had halted Iranian ground offensives and that ballistic missile attacks on Tehran had broken its political will. Similarly, during Desert Storm, Saddam believed WMD had deterred Coalition Forces from pressing their attack beyond the goal of freeing Kuwait. WMD had even played a role in crushing the Shi’a revolt in the south following the 1991 ceasefire.
• The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them.[/quote]
Kenneth Pollack also in the Threatening Storm lists quotes by Saddam in that he wished he had invaded Kuwait AFTER he had nuclear weapons. He viewed THIS not the invasion as his primary strategic mistake in the conflict. He believed that he would then have had an unopposed effort to do what he wanted in the region because the US and its allies would have feared to attack lest he attack and destroy the Saudi oilfields. According to Pollack, Saddam was reckless and the threat of an international economic depression and collapse, which would have certainly resulted from the huge spike in oil prices had the 22 percent of world oil from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq been removed from the market, would not have deterred him in this effort.[/quote]
a) I’m not holding my breath waiting for evidence to be found. b) There is a difference between intent and ability c) That is some very selective parsing of the report. d) Pollack has long been in support of the war.