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2/12/03 - IRAQ’S WEAPONS - 2003-02-12

There can be no doubt that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein has biological and chemical weapons and the capability to produce more. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the evidence on February 5th to the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Powell said that Iraq has the ability to dispense lethal poisons and diseases in ways that could cause massive deaths. In fact, Saddam Hussein has already used chemical weapons -- first during the 1980s in his war against Iran and then against Iraqi Kurds. “In the history of chemical warfare,” said Mr. Powell, “no country has had more battlefield experience with chemical weapons since World War One than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

Moreover, Saddam Hussein has never accounted for his stockpile of chemical weapons, which includes some five-hundred-fifty artillery shells with mustard gas.

Secretary of State Powell said, “Saddam Hussein knows what he did with it, and he has not come clean with the international community. We have evidence these weapons existed. What we don’t have,” said Mr. Powell, “is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are. That is what we are still waiting for.”

And, said Secretary of State Powell, “Iraq’s record on chemical weapons is replete with lies.” It took years for Iraq to admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent V-X. A single drop of V-X on the skin will kill in minutes. The admission only came after U-N weapons inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein’s late son-in-law. Yet, to this day, Iraq denies it has weaponized V-X. To make the U-N inspectors’ job more difficult, Iraq has embedded portions of its secret chemical weapons infrastructure in legitimate civilian industry.

As Secretary of State Powell put it, “Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option.”