September 30, 2004


Mahdi Obeidi, the former head of Saddam Husseinís nuclear centifuge program, on the wisdom of pre-emption:

Our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam's fingers. The sanctions and the lucrative oil-for-food program had served as powerful deterrents, but world events - like Iran's current efforts to step up its nuclear ambitions - might well have changed the situation.

Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980s, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology. Had Saddam ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months if not years off our previous efforts.

Read the whole thing. There are sections that might be easily excerpted by anti-war bloggers.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 30, 2004 02:33 AM

No, they couldn't have done that. Impossible, they told us all along there was nothing going on. Heck, I could not even think the Iranians could do this, no. There is no evil in this world, just misunderstandings and different nuances, right? Saddam was our friend, he never would have kept on developing a bomb and given one to a terrorist group or something now, would he?

Posted by: JEM at September 30, 2004 at 03:12 AM

There is, I think, quite a bit here that could be easily excerpted by consistent "keep the sanctions on" people. In a purely military and strategic sense, it does seem that the sanctions were quite effective. The human cost to Iraq was terrible (though not, it seems, as much as the antiwar types wildest figures would indiciated), though, and it seemed clear that they could not be sustained indefinitely.

Posted by: John Thacker at September 30, 2004 at 03:50 AM

What is left unsaid is that after we ignored the last 17 resolutions the sanctions regime was going to be unenforcable. It appears lots of folks were thrilled to defy it and sell Saddam whatever he wanted for a hefty cut.

If you're not going to do what you said you would, folks will play you for a sap every time. At some point you just have to step to the plate or the next thing you know, some lunatics parading around with a nuke and you're taking the blame.

Sound familiar, Blessed Leader?

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 30, 2004 at 05:20 AM

Saddam never accounted for his WMD and programs, and never made any serious attempt to. No one credible has bothered to try to dispute this, because it cannot be disputed.

Posted by: Sheriff at October 1, 2004 at 06:48 PM