Secretary Powell, I have a couple of questions for you
I’ll keep this brief, because I know you are busy redefining “Republican”, but I have a question to ask. Actually, first I have a brief bit of history to share – something that happened after the Gulf War in 1991. I believe you were involved in that, no? Anyway, some background courtesy of a Congessional Research Service Report dated October 7, 2003 – background with which I am sure you are all too familiar:
The inspections conducted in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War verified Iraq’s violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of bacteriological or chemical weapons in warfare. From May 1991 to December 1998, UNSCOM and the IAEA’s Action Team on Iraq conducted several thousand inspections at over 1,000 facilities. The extent and scale of Iraq’s programs to develop biological weapons, chemical weapons, and nuclear weapons surprised even thoseknowledgeable in those areas. IAEA inspections uncovered a Manhattan-Projectlike nuclear weapons program, which employed thousands of scientists and explored many avenues of producing weapons-grade material.
I think we all agree that Saddam Hussein was a pretty bad guy. So bad, in fact, that you had a little something to say about it when you went before the U.N. a few years later. From the same report:
Secretary of State Powell addressed the U.N.Security Council on February 5 with a briefing on Iraq’s attempts to evade disarmament and the links to terrorism. The briefing included audiotapes of Iraqi military officers discussing hiding modified vehicles from inspectors and orders to eliminate talk of “nerve agents” in wireless communications. Secretary Powell shared anecdotes of documents in cars driven by Iraqi intelligence officers, removing hard drives from computers, and sanitizing all of the presidential palaces of traces of WMD, derived from human intelligence sources.
And there was more:
Secretary Powell also showed satellite photos of bulldozed chemical weapons sites and the removal of telltale vehicles and equipment from chemicalweapons bunkers at the Taji facility before the December 22, 2002 inspections. In addition, Secretary Powell cited 4 human intelligence sources about the existence of about 18 mobile biological weapons laboratories. Powell noted that it would be virtually impossible to find these mobile labs without Iraqi cooperation.
Then there was all that nuclear stuff:
In the nuclear area, Secretary Powell reported on Iraqi attempts to procure magnets and high speed balancing machines from companies in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia to support assertions that Iraq is pursuing a centrifuge uranium enrichment program.
But did they have a delivery system?
With respect to missiles, Secretary Powell reported that Iraq had continued to import SA-2 rocket engines as late as December 2002 but did not provide further evidence. Finally, Secretary Powell showed a satellite photograph depicting a racetrack-shaped flight path of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was tested for a distance of 500km without refueling. Iraq’s December 7th declaration claimed that its UAVs had ranges of just 80kms.
It looks like you covered all the bases, Secretary Powell, and it also looks like you believed what you said. I mean, it didn’t make much sense that Saddam Hussein had made a drastic conversion since you helped defeat him in the first Gulf War.
Unless you were lied to by the CIA, like Nancy Pelosi. Unless you were misled by President Bush, like the Democrats who voted for the use of force now say they were.
So here is the question – do you stand by the case you made to enforce UN Resolution 1441? Or do you believe you were lied to? If you were lied to, when and by whom? Or did you know what you were saying was overblown, had reservations about the use of force against Iraq, and made the case before UN under duress?
As you trot out your Republican bonafides, it would be really helpful to clear this situation up. Thanks in advance.