The UnAustralian

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Chemical Weapons in Iraq

According to Dow Jones Newswires, the suspected chemical weapons factory found in Iraq contained no chemical weapons and appeared to be abandoned long ago. (Courtesy of Hard News)

That being said, I do believe that Saddam has significant stocks of chemical weapons, but years of weapon inspections has reduced their effectiveness to the point where they can be considered fragmented and contained.

One aspect of WMD which has the potential to cause confusion in the mind of the general public, is that many of the important components of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons have many ordinary uses (duel-use). For example, my lab contains a number of precursors for the construction of chemical weapons, and one nerve agent. I'm not in one of Iraq's mobile labs, but rather I'm stuck doing ordinary research. However, if it was an Iraqi lab, then a initial scare story could quickly be concocted. Hence, one should always wait for varification from a reasonable and knowledgeable party before falling for the WMD angle.

Another bugbear of mine, is countries which have the potential to make WMD. In reality, most advanced countries could rapidly make WMD quiet easily. For example, Cuba has a relatively advanced biotechnology sector, however this means that they have plenty of fermentators, growth media etc. This is pretty generic equipment which can be used to make many useful compounds, and biological weapons. This is the main reason why comments like this one annoy me.
| 10:06 PM