Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Demanding Defeat

Why isn't the MSM calling politicians on such obvious unseriousness and insanity?

The criticism had been "not enough boots on the ground."

The "solution" is therefore for Congress to attempt to prevent more troops from being deployed.

The criticism had been that "stay the course" was not working.

The "solution" is therefore for Congress to attempt to prevent any change of strategy.

Unless, presumably, it's to declare defeat and withdraw.

Although the motivation to simply defeat the REAL enemy -- G. W. Bush -- is so strong, I wouldn't be surprised to see Congress immediately resolve to demand total war if W were to suddenly say we can't win and are leaving tomorrow.

By the way, the notion we needed 500,000 troops in there instead of the 160,000 we used instead was always a canard, because that would represent the entire army and it would be impossible and ridiculous to have them all in Iraq. The point was to then say, oops, guess we can't do it, so we better not go to war at all!

And then what would be the odds Saddam Hussein would be building an A-bomb by now? That 1.77 tonnes of enriched uranium we removed after the invasion wasn't sitting around for his health -- and represented a stage much further along than Iran is right now. The Nuclear Control Institute was alarmed way back in 1999:
“According to officials involved in these decisions at the time [after the first Gulf War], the IAEA decided to permit Iraq to keep its LEU [Low Enriched Uranium] and natural uranium stocks for possible future use in a ‘peaceful’ nuclear program,” said Steven Dolley, NCI Research Director. “Agency officials also concluded that the cost of removing these materials from Iraq would be prohibitive, even though Iraq was required under U.N. mandate to pay all such expenses.”

The deadline for annual, routine inspection of this material, required under Iraq’s pre-Gulf War safeguards agreement with the IAEA, expired this week. Iraq has refused to issue visas to the IAEA inspectors, thereby blocking the inspection---a violation of its safeguards obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Shortly after the Gulf War, IAEA and Bush Administration officials downplayed the risk of Iraq's LEU and natural uranium stocks, assuming that Iraq would not be technically capable of enriching the uranium to weapons-grade. However, Iraq’s development of high-speed centrifuges had advanced to the point that the deployment of a small, well-concealed centrifuge enrichment facility cannot be ruled out.

Dr. Edwin Lyman, NCI Scientific Director, calculated that Iraq’s low-enriched uranium stocks would be sufficient to produce over 45 kilograms of bomb-grade HEU, enough for two nuclear weapons. Only about 260 small centrifuges would be required to enrich this material to bomb-grade in one year. Iraq’s known stocks of natural uranium could be converted into an additional 70 kilograms of bomb-grade HEU over a somewhat greater length of time. Some 25 kilograms of HEU is officially considered the amount needed for a bomb, although nuclear weapons can be built with less.

“If Iraq continues to bar inspectors following today's Security Council action, there may be no way of knowing whether all the enriched and natural uranium, which was left under seal, is still there,” said Leventhal. “If Iraq doesn’t let the IAEA in, it would be prudent to assume the Iraqis have a reason for keeping the inspectors out---such as the material has been diverted to weapons use. In any event, there is no excuse for the IAEA not to insist on an inspection, or for the Security Council not to take up the matter urgently if the Agency is rebuffed.”
I can't believe how everyone forgets this when suggesting the removal of Saddam Hussein and his LEU wasn't worth it, when the inspectors had been kicked out and sanctions were crumbling!

Which is also why whether or not in one specific instance they were looking for Nigerian yellow cake is irrelevant (and regardless of Joe Wilson's lies, they probably were) -- they already had LEU which is much further along in the process.

Everyone fixates on the lack of finding obvious stockpiles of chemical weapons when we found the 1.77 tonnes of LEU and hauled it away shortly after the invasion. Somehow that doesn't count for anything at all, because alternate history apparently would have evolved in the most benign way imaginable, compared with the current situation, right?

What kind of risk planning is that?

Are we or aren't we supposed to connect the dots???

Was this not vital to our National Security?
Fifteen months after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the United States has removed nuclear material from the country that posed a potential proliferation threat, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced July 6 [2004].

Department of Energy experts packaged 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU), as well as approximately “1,000 highly radioactive sources,” according to a press release. The Department of Defense then airlifted the material, which had been stored at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, to the United States on June 23.

The material could “potentially [have been] used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program,” according to an Energy Department press release. A radiological weapon uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material but is not nearly as powerful as a nuclear weapon. LEU can be used in civilian nuclear reactors but also can be further enriched for use as the explosive material in nuclear weapons.
If that's meaningless, we might as well hand Iran a bomb now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're misrepresenting what I wrote while at NCI. The HEU was all removed from Iraq by 1992. The LEU I was talking about in that press release was under IAEA safeguards, and Saddam allowed their inspectors to confirm that it was present and hadn't been diverted right up until the 2003 invasion...even when he was messing with the inspectors in other areas.

Also, the LEU you're so worried about was NOT SECURED by the US until weeks after the invasion. In fact, the administration allowed the LEU and the Tuwaitha nuclear facility to be looted. Local Iraqis dumped out the uranium and carried away the 55-gallon plastic drums for home use. The US Army had to institute a buy-back program to retrieve the buckets, out of concern for the health of the local populace.

We were tricked into this war by fabricated and manipulated intelligence. Don't abuse my research to try to prove your point.

Steven Dolley
Former NCI Research Director

6:25 PM, March 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam allowed the IAEA to allow routine inspections of the LEU in January 2000, weeks after the December 1999 NCI press release which you represent. And the US did not haul away the LEU weeks after the invasion (see my earlier post).

Steven Dolley

6:27 PM, March 16, 2007  

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