Colin Powell made a strong case for eliminating Saddam and his regime ASAP. Indeed, in some respects, the information he presented was stronger than his conclusions; the case was understated.
Among the revelations: Iraq is moving SCUD missiles with biological warheads around Western Iraq. Presumably, Israel is the target.
Powell’s disclosures suggest Baghdad’s biological weapons (BW) program never stopped — even when UNSCOM (a far more muscular organization than UNMOVIC) — was in Iraq. As Powell noted, Iraq developed the means to produce powdered biological agents in 1998 and a BW accident occurred that killed twelve people. Most probably, Iraq is producing biological agents now, in mobile labs.
The same can be said for Iraq’s chemical and nuclear programs. Iraq continued those programs after the Gulf War, but took extraordinary measures to hide them — like using dual-use facilities to produce banned agents on Thursday night and Friday, then cleaning them up for the regular work week.
The presentation of Iraq’s ties with al Qaeda was, however, weaker. Powell failed to mention that Baghdad harbors an indicted terrorist from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Nor did he mention the two defectors who described Iraq’s training of militants to hijack airplanes, testimony corroborated by a satellite photo of a plane in an area under control of Iraqi intelligence.
— Laurie Mylroie is the author of The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks, A Study of Revenge.