Proof of Iraqi Chemical Weapons
I have had a link to Powell's speech to the UN in the Raw Data
section of my blogroll since it was posted. I read it at the time, and like most everyone else, was intrigued--short of convinced, but I found what he said worth considering.
For the past few weeks, anyone who talks about the reasons for war cites that presentation as "proof" that the Iraqis have chemical weapons. I have a higher standard for proof than that. In fact as I read his statement over again, I find it sorely lacking in any kind of proof. It only qualifies as proof if I just take Powell at his word, and if I do, I don't need to see any evidence. This is an excerpt from his speech, but I have replaced his evidence with what I feel is an equivalent.
Remarks to the United Nations Security Council
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President and Mr. Secretary General, distinguished colleagues, I would like to begin by expressing my thanks for the special effort that each of you made to be here today. This is an important day for us all as we review the situation with respect to Iraq and its disarmament obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1441.
Let me begin by playing a tape for you. What you’re about to hear is a conversation that my government monitored. It takes place on November 26th of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq. The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general from Iraq's elite military unit, the Republican Guard. [editor: Please note that while the general is giving instructions, his cohorts are laughing at us. AUDIO]
SECRETARY POWELL: Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation that you just heard between these two officers.
First, they acknowledge that our colleague, Mohammed ElBaradei is coming, and they know what he's coming for and they know he's coming the next day. He's coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is expecting these gentlemen to cooperate with him and not hide things.
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, poring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate, to our imagery specialists.
Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji. This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the additional four chemical weapons shells.
Anyway, Powell went on like this for a couple of hours. He told us he was showing us proof, he told us we wouldn't understand it. We were asked to take his word. Those who do, didn't need to see any evidence. Those who feel like they've been fooled too often by this administration would like to see a little more.