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The Rebuke

This article from The Kansas City Star has been making the rounds, and it deserves the attention. It’s a point-by-point rebuke of the main charges in Powell’s UN speech regarding the call for war on Iraq.


Six months later, the file looks thin. Powell has said several times since February that he stands by what he said, the State Department said Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, however, told U.S. senators last month that the Bush administration had no "dramatic new evidence" before ordering the Iraq invasion.

"We acted because we saw the existing evidence in a new light through the prism of our experience on September 11," he said.

So how does Powell's pivotal indictment look from the vantage point of today? Today in The Kansas City Star, an Associated Press review analyzes what he said, based on what was known in February and what has been learned since.

-- snip --

Bioweapons trailers

Powell said that defectors had told of "biological weapons factories" on trucks and in train cars. He displayed artists' conceptions of such vehicles.

After the invasion, U.S. authorities said they found two such truck trailers in Iraq, and the CIA said it concluded they were part of a bioweapons production line. But no trace of biological agents was found on them.

Iraqis said the equipment made hydrogen for weather balloons, and State Department intelligence balked at the CIA's conclusion.

The British defense secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, has said the vehicles were not a "smoking gun."

The trailers have not been submitted to U.N. inspection for verification.

No "bioweapons railcars" have been reported found.

-- snip --

Deployed weapons

"Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons....And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them," Powell said.

No such weapons were used, and none was reported found after the U.S. and allied military units overran Iraqi field commands and ammunition dumps.

-- snip --

Aluminum tubes

Powell said that "most United States experts" thought aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were intended for use as centrifuge cylinders for enriching uranium for nuclear bombs.

Energy Department experts and the State Department intelligence bureau had already dissented from this CIA view.

On March 7, ElBaradei said his experts found convincing documentation -- and no contrary evidence -- that Iraq was using the tubes to make artillery rockets. Powell's scenario was "highly unlikely," he said.

No centrifuge program has been reported found.


Posted by jeremy at August 11, 2003 10:20 AM