Iraq: January 8, 2004

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The US search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction) in Iraq has pretty much come up dry. American investigators have found and interrogated hundreds of  Iraqis who worked on these weapons programs. It appears that most, if not all, of the chemical and biological weapons were destroyed in the 1990s. The nuclear weapons and long range missile program had not gone far. However, Saddam ran a very fragmented police state, where no one knew what was going on everywhere. There were many different "special weapons" programs going on independently. None of those interrogated so far have admitted to knowing about stocks of chemical or biological weapons. Much work was done on plans for quickly building factories that could produce old, and new designs, for chemical and biological weapons. But the 1991 oil embargo hit the Iraqi economy very hard and there wasn't money for building these plants and producing the weapons. It is still not clear why Saddam did not admit that he had no chemical weapons and allow UN inspectors to verify this. It is thought that he feared UN investigations would uncover evidence of mass murders and corruption. The interrogations of Saddam are trying to resolve these questions.

 

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