Blix and the WMD

Captain Ed has a post regarding Hans Blix and his prewar reports on Iraqi WMD (The Captain gives a hat tip to Secure Liberty.)

Blix himself reported back to the UNSC that Saddam was not cooperating — which made the inspections pointless. Inspections can only confirm compliance; they cannot reliably determine locations and stocks of weaponry, at least not on the scale used by the UN in a country the size of Iraq. Besides, the 17 UNSC resolutions placed the burden of proof on Iraq as a consequence of their rape of Kuwait and their continued intransigence. Saddam had to prove he’d completely disarmed. Failing that, he abrogated the terms of the Safwan cease-fire and technically initiated hostilities with the UN once again.

And there is the point. It was on Saddam to provide proof. I am of a party that Iraq wasn’t about finding WMD: it was about stopping WMD. Also, many other things, but that is for a different day. We have kept Saddam from reconsituting weapons programs. He had the materials to make them, what has been referred to as “precursors.” What need is there of a huge chlorine plant in what is generally a desert country? Not much in the way of swimming pools, and how much is necessary for water purification? But, chlorine makes a nice chemical agent on its own (if rather weak and short lasting.) It is also an ingredient in mustard gas. I knew it was an ingredient, but did not know this:

Topping the chemical precursor list is thiodiglycol, commonly used as a solvent for ball point pen ink, cosmetics and antiperspirants.

Combined with hydrochloride — known as muriatic acid in hardware stores, where it is sold to remove iron stains from bathtubs — thiodiglycol creates mustard gas.

”You can almost do it in your bathtub,” Parshall said. ”Actually, I don’t want to provide a chemical warfare cookbook, but you CAN do it in your bathtub.”

In a bathtub. ‘Nuff said?

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