The UNSCOM Saga: Chemical and Biological Weapons Non-Proliferation
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Sympathetic analysts argue that Washington had no way of knowing how serious the threat of Iraqi WMD was, so intelligence agencies provided the administration with a wide-ranging set of estimates.
Earth Threat #8: Proliferation
In the post-September 11 security environment, the argument goes, the Bush administration had little choice but to assume the worst. Critics charge that the White House inflated and manipulated weak, ambiguous intelligence to paint Iraq as an urgent threat and thus make an optional war seem necessary.
A recent report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for example, found not only that the intelligence community had overestimated Iraqi chemical and biological weapons capabilities but also that administration officials "systematically misrepresented" the threat posed by Iraqi weapons. Public debate has focused on the question of what went wrong with U.
Given the deteriorated state of Iraq's unconventional weapons programs and conventional military capabilities, this is only appropriate. But missing from the discussion is an equally important question: What went right with U. On the way to their misjudgments, it now appears, intelligence agencies and policymakers disregarded considerable evidence of the destruction and deterioration of Iraq's weapons programs, the result of a successful strategy of containment in place for a dozen years.
They consistently ignored volumes of data about the impact of sanctions and inspections on Iraq's military strength. The United Nations sanctions that began in August were the longest running, most comprehensive, and most controversial in the history of the world body.
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