because there can
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Biography (1869-1948)
The Salt March
                     THE CONCEPT

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14 mars 2002, 10:48  |   ARTIKLAR  

An “engineer” who worked on Saddam’s palaces spoke of underground tunnels and secreted documents.

Inspectors found only a drainage tunnel and no documents. But Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi persuaded his American sponsors that the tunnels existed.

When the Americans needed a link between Iraq and September 11, Chalabi trotted out a list of “defectors” who claimed that would-be hijackers were being secretly trained in the town of Salman Pak.

But America’s thinking is flawed on two counts.

Iraq has sought to embrace the Western model of economics and society.

And Hussein and Osama bin Laden are complete opposites in terms of ideology and motivation. They are natural enemies as opposed to secret allies. When George Bush recently told Iraq to let in UN weapons inspectors or “suffer the consequences,” Chalabi conveniently produced another “defector.”

He alleged that Saddam planned to hide biological and chemical weapons.

I spent more than six years investigating the organisations the defector claimed to work for.

Elements of his story ring true, but the details used to embellish his tale of weapons of mass destruction are either impossible to pin down or just plain wrong.

The UN stopped using Chalabi’s information as the tenuous nature of his sources and his dubious motivations became clear. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the US.

The reality is that most of Iraq’s biological agents, along with its production facilities, have been destroyed.

America claims that Iraq lied to inspectors and still has deadly stockpiles.

But the Bush administration has shown little interest in sending the inspectors back.

It has used their absence to hype the threat of a re-armed Iraq.

In any event, America would find another war against Iraq much tougher than the last. Troops could face conflict as bitter as Normandy in 1944.

Scott Ritter is a former weapons Inspector for UNSCOM and the Author of “Endgame: Solving the Iraqi Problem, Once and for All” (Simon & Schuster, 1999)