If there's one thing that seems "universally" accepted, it's that we were wrong about Saddam having WMD. While some accuse Bush of knowing this and lying about it, even those who trust Bush believe that the intelligence was simply wrong.
But could the truth be that we are wrong now? Could the intelligence have been correct? Could we simply not be able to find the WMD?
That may be the shocking revelation of the next few months, as thousands of boxes of records from Saddam's regime are translated, mostly by free-lance bloggers on their own time and dime. For some unfathomable reason (well not so unfathomable -- the records are about the past, and Bush has a remarkable laser focus on the future, even when the past could exonerate him) -- the administration did not see fit to translate these documents. Instead, they have simply released them to the public in the original language, leaving it to Arab-speaking literates to sift through the hundreds of thousands of pages.
So far, only a tiny fraction has been translated. But already there is solid evidence that Saddam was trying to hide something as late as 2002. (Note: there is also direct evidence that Saddam was trying to supply Iraqi air force personnel to Al Qaeda for attacks on America -- which would put to rest the "Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaeda" as well as the "Saddam was no threat" lies told by those who would rather depose Bush than protect our country from the real enemy).
I hope to chronicle these findings over the next few weeks, as I sift through them. Here is an example from a 2002 document that details the destruction of WMD records just prior to the return of the weapons inspectors (from document CMPC-2003-002284):
Translation of Page 3
In the Name of God the Merciful The Compassionate
On Friday that coincides on 23/8/2002 were destroyed the primary archives for the Atomic Energy Commission according to the instructions issued regarding this and it was destroyed (burned) in the outside warehouses and it was carried on Compact Discs and the destruction operation was achieved by the presence of:
1. Mr. Director of Energy Security- Mr. Saher Nassif Jasem
2. The Representative of the National Monitoring Department; General Kamal Abed Mohamad
3. Mr. The Director of the Disarmament Section- Mr. Maatook Abed Al Satar
4. Mr. Director of Monitoring Section in the Organization- Mr. Hani Hassan Ahmad
And according to this the document was signed (Remark: The remaining of the documents that are related to the purchasing of the Nuclear Program and that is 22 steel boxes will be received from the Monitoring Department to be dealt with)Signatures…
Mr. Hani Hassan Ahmad, General Kamal Abed Mohamad, Mr. Maatook Abed Al Satar; Mr. Saher Nassif Jasem
End of Translation of Page 3
The next page tells how other documents were hidden:
Translation of page 4
Subject: Receiving documents
The documents preserved by the National Monitoring Department were accounted for and received by Mr. Ayad Kihtan Talab, the representative of The Military Industrial Security Agency and its details are shown in the attached tables and its numbers (12) are twelve pages and in (9) nine cardboard boxes
The Representative of the National Monitoring Department.. Signature… General Kamal Abed Mohamad 17/6/2002
The Representative of the Intelligence Apparatus.. Signature… Hamood Awde Salem 17/6/2002
The Representative of the Industrial Military Security.. Signature.. Ayad Kihtan Talab 17/6/2002.
End of translation of page 4
On the following pages we find reference to chemical equipment:
Beginning of partial translation of Page 6
Box number 4 (Chemical-K)
1. Document folder of the Air Force Equipment in the Glorified Qadisya Saddam, correspondences regarding the Chemical Equipments (all assembled in a Red folder mark on it Very Important)
16. File regarding the examination of the Special Equipment
End of partial translation of page 6 and 7.
And what is "Special equipment"? Well, in other records translated for the trial of Saddam, we find that the chemical weapons used to gas the Kurds were referred to as "Special Equipment".