‘Cause Charles A. Duelfer is pissing all over Chimpy’s casus belli.
Iraq now appears to have destroyed its stockpiles of illicit weapons within months of the Persian Gulf war of 1991, and by the time of the American invasion in spring 2003, its capacity to produce such weapons was continuing to erode, the top American inspector in Iraq said in a report made public today.
The report by Charles A. Duelfer said the last Iraqi factory capable of producing militarily significant quantities of unconventional weapons was destroyed in 1996.
At the time of the American invasion, Mr. Duelfer concluded, Iraq had not possessed military-scale stockpiles of illicit weapons for a dozen years and was not actively seeking to produce them.
“Over time he was getting further away from nuclear weapons,” an official familiar with the report said of Saddam Hussein in advance of the public release of Mr. Duelfer’s report. “He was further away in 2003 than he was in 1991. The nuclear program was decaying rather than being preserved.”
Mr. Duelfer concluded that Mr. Hussein made fundamental decisions, beginning in 1991, to get rid of Iraq’s illicit weapons and accept the destruction of its weapons-producing facilities as part of an effort to win an end to United Nations sanctions.
The official familiar with the report said that interviews with other former top Iraqi leaders had made clear that Mr. Hussein had left many of his top deputies uncertain until the eve of war about whether Iraq possessed illicit weapons. The official said that Mr. Hussein seemed to fear a new attack by Iran, whose incursions into Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 were fended off by Baghdad only with the use of chemical munitions fired on ballistic missiles.