Tag Archives: WMD

Old men who send young men to war

Maureen Down in the NY Times today looked upon Donald Rumsfeld and found it distasteful. As she should.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld asked for a comprehensive report on the weapons intel. From Down today we learn this:

“Major Gen. Glen Shaffer, then the director for intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, responding to Rummy’s request to know the “unknowns” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, wrote “We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program.” Schaffer wrote. 

“Our assessments rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence,” the report said. “The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs.”

It added: “We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know.” And continued: “We do not know if they have purchased, or attempted to purchase, a nuclear weapon. We do not know with confidence the location of any nuclear weapon-related facilities. Our knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program is based largely — perhaps 90% — on analysis of imprecise intelligence.”

On biological weapons: “We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi facilities that produce, test, fill, or store biological weapons,” the report said, adding: “We believe Iraq has 7 mobile BW agent production plants but cannot locate them … our knowledge of how and where they are produced is probably up to 90% incomplete.

On chemical weapons: “We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi sites that produce final chemical agent.” And on ballistic missile programs they had “little missile-specific data.”

DOWD added: “Somehow that was twisted into “a slam-dunk.” You go to war with the army you have, but the facts you want.”