Cheney's Bogus Nuclear Weapon
by Imad Khadduri
March 20, 2003
On NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, March 16, 2003, Vice President Cheney audaciously reiterated an ominous note.
NBC: "And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree?"
Cheney: "I disagree, yes. And you'll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. … We know that based on intelligence, that [Saddam] has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong."
After 218 inspections of 141 sites over three months by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei charged that the U.S. had used faked and erroneous evidence to support the claims that Iraq was importing enriched uranium and other material, notably the aluminum tubes and small magnets for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. "After three months of intrusive inspections, we have, to date, found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq," the chief atomic weapons inspector had told the U.N. Security Council on Friday March 7, 2003.
In December 2002, the American and British intelligence communities did provide, under Blix's insistence, a list of 25 sites garnered from Iraqi defectors and other intelligence sources. The inspectors visited all of these sites, including one site that intelligence communities had claimed would be a promising find. Tellingly, the inspectors found nothing and their "hush hush" information was referred to by one inspector as "garbage after garbage after garbage."
So why is Cheney, after the total disrepute of all American misinformation about a rejuvenated Iraqi nuclear weapons program, still claiming that the U.S. has untold intelligence information about this program?
I now tend to believe there is a more sinister implication behind Cheney's continued assertions so late in the misinformation campaign and so close to the war.
Iraq claims it has no nuclear weapons related components left. Cheney claims that U.S. intelligence can prove that Iraq does have these components. What if the U.S. goes in and, after killing possibly hundreds of thousands, cannot find any components?
Would they not want to reiterate up until the last minute, as Cheney seems to be doing, that their "intelligence" does confirm that Iraq has nuclear weapons components to justify their criminal war?
However, in the event that no such components are to be found in Iraq, would it not be past the American intelligence community's bag of dirty tricks to place some bogus evidence (in places where the inspectors have not been so they can't be refuted by them) to vindicate the tens of billions of dollars spent on this war crime and the devastation it will undoubtedly incur?
It would otherwise be hard to challenge the timing and triviality of Cheney's claim on March 16, with Bush declaring war only one day later on March 17.
Imad Khadduri has an MSc in Physics from the University of Michigan (United States) and a PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Khadduri worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 till 1998. He was able to leave Iraq in late 1998 with his family. He now teaches and works as a network administrator in Toronto, Canada. Email: email@example.com. This article first appeared at Yellow Times.org