Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Saddam tapes: "We did not reveal all that we have."

Well I was fairly sure neither the US nor the UN was given full access or accurate answers by Saddam's regime. At least we have that on tape now. The man quoted is Lieutenant General Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, and he's speaking directly to Saddam with several other aides in the room

Not the type of the weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct. They don't know any of this. We did not say we used them on Iran. We did not reveal the volume of the chemical weapons that we had produced. We did not reveal the type of the chemical weapons. We did not reveal the truth about the volume of the imported materials.

[...] As for the nuclear, we say we have disclosed everything but no. We have undeclared problems in nuclear as well, and I believe that they know. There are teams working with no one knowing about some of them.

Sir, I regret that I am speaking so candidly but although everything has ended, if they find out. No, sir, they didn't know, frankly speaking not all the methods, not all the means, not all the scientists and not all the places. Yes, some of the activities have been uncovered but so that you know, sir, when they say biological is the issue, no sir, the biological is the least [important]; I am sorry to say it is the most futile of the problems. OK, the 17 tons is no problem but thousands of tons here and thousands of tons there. Where did they go? How were they manufactured? And how were they used? Sir, we really have to be frank, so that the resolution that comes is not restricted to the biological and the next day the missiles and then the nuclear the next day and then the next day and the next day.

I go back to the question of whether we should reveal everything or continue to be silent. Sir, since the meeting has taken this direction, I would say it is in our interest not to reveal. Not just out of fear of disclosing the technology we achieved, or to hide it for future work. No. The game has gone on for too long.

Well now we've just got to find where it all went and Syria just keeps looking better and better.

Here's a link to the original news story from Nightline, the above story was an exclusive bonus release, and this link is to another bonus release where Saddam laments that he didn't get to launch more missiles at Israel. What a pity.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard more completely makes a point that I alluded to when I posted prior to seeing the Nightline special report: that Saddam at least thought he had tons of WMDs.

A hypothetical: If the tapes are in fact authentic, imagine that they include audio of Saddam Hussein talking about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Does this mean that Iraq actually had these weapons Saddam thought he had? Not necessarily. One of the leading theories about Iraqi WMD holds that Iraqi scientists misled Saddam about his WMD capability. These scientists, according to this theory, lied to their superiors for fear of reprisals if their lack of progress on WMD development was discovered. That Saddam believed he had these proscribed weapons is not proof that he did.

Totally possible. Hopefully we can get through the mountains of documents we've collected since we've been in Iraq to get a final definitive answer to the WMD question.