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April 18, 2004

Corrections to "Saddam Hussein & Charles Duelfer & Making Shit Up"

You would think I'd make sure the first real post on this site wasn't riddled with errors. However, you would be wrong. Thank god no one is reading this.

1. Glen Rangwala is an instructor at Cambridge, not Oxford. I have no excuse for this embarrassing mistake, except that I was assured by the CIA that my original information was correct. We've established a high-level commission to look into this intelligence failure.

2. I wrote that "the UN never... said that Iraq's UAVs were limited to a range of 150 km."

Glen notes in the comments below that this is incorrect -- as he writes, "Unmovic did [say this]." However, he further notes:

Blix engaged in a seemingly aberrant reading of the law in the Clusters document [an Unmovic report from March 6, 2003], pp.14-15. My brief account from the time is at the start of the evaluation section in:

There is no indication in any Unscom report, let alone any SCR [Security Council Resolution], that the range applicable to missiles is applicable also to UAVs. One argument used was that if it could fly more than 150km and release any weapon, then it was *like* a missile. Well, this would then read 687 as prohibiting Iraq from having planes at all (if it flies more than 150km, and the pilot could lob a grenade out the window, does that make having any plane equivalent to holding long-range missiles...?), which clearly hadn't been the intention then or a sensible reading of what a missile is.

So, I stand by the larger point. Charles Duelfer, like Saddam Hussein, claims that the relevant UN resolutions said something the actual words of the resolutions didn't say. That Blix sort of claimed the same thing doesn't change this. Moreover, I would contend Blix's position shows that Unmovic, far from mindlessly obstructing the US, was quite vulnerable to US pressure. But that's another subject.

3. I wrote that "according to several news reports," Saddam Hussein told members of the Iraqi government that the UN had not forbidden Iraq from having long-range missiles, as long as they didn't have WMD warheads.

I phrased this so vaguely because I couldn't remember where I read it. However, at Glen's prodding, I've dug up a story about it -- "Hussein Was Sure Of Own Survival," Washington Post, November 3, 2003 (no longer online):

[Tariq] Aziz, who surrendered to U.S. authorities on April 24, has also said Iraq did not possess stocks of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons on the eve of the war, an assertion that echoes the previously reported statements of other detained Iraqi leaders and scientists. Yet Hussein personally ordered several secret programs to build or buy long-range missiles in defiance of international sanctions, according to Aziz's reported statements.

The former deputy prime minister has described an argument he had with Hussein in 1999, in which the Iraqi president insisted that U.N. Resolution 687, enacted to limit Iraq's armaments, prohibited long-range missiles only if they were armed with weapons of mass destruction.

Aziz said he countered, "No, it's a range limit," and all Iraqi missiles able to fly beyond 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) were banned, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the interrogation reports. Hussein demanded in reply, "No, I want to go ahead," according to the senior official.

After nearly five months of prisoner interviews, document searches and site visits, "We know the regime had the greatest problem with the 150-kilometer limit" on missile ranges, said Hamish Killip, a former U.N. arms inspector now working with the Iraq Survey Group, a CIA-supervised body appointed by President Bush to lead the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Hussein and his most senior military commanders saw the range limit "as an invasion of their sovereignty," Killip added. They fumed because hostile neighbors might hit Baghdad with missiles, but Iraq would be unable to answer in kind.

Yet investigators have found no comparable evidence to date that Hussein was willing after 1999 to risk being caught in major defiance of U.N. bans on nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, officials involved in the weapons hunt said.

"They seem to have made a mental separation between long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction," Killip said.

Aziz's statements about the Iraqi missile program have been largely corroborated by documents and interviews with engineers and scientists, officials said.

4. Yes, I am aware of the irony that in a post titled "Saddam Hussein & Charles Duelfer & Making Shit Up," I apparently made shit up. Feel free to make jokes at my expense. You are particularly encouraged to do so if there are further errors in this correction.

Posted at April 18, 2004 05:50 AM

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I have written to many people in various organizations about me 'proving science wrong', and beating a man made disease that is I believe delibrately implemented for the sole purpose of continuous supply of big dollars to forever playing war games, one of many.
Being a woman nobody wants to hear about my discoveries not even my doctors because they know I am right, but they told me I should write about it.
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I am corresponding with a doctor who writes an honest website, maybe some think he is a "traitor", but in my view his inforamtion has clarified all my questions about our global markets and it's exploitation of the female species.
I always dreamt of world peace, but living in australia the secret country, nobody dares to open pandora's box. Australia is used as a living experiment for pharmacuticals, as I was. It's government does as ordered from america. It's like Chile, but more complicated and muzzled with the help of the press.
I believe that GE crops and the use of rBGH growth hormones in my meats/dairy is a grave "Illness for Business'.
If you care to know more, I would be happy to write to you.
Best of luck, b.r.

Posted by: b.r. at April 24, 2004 03:06 AM