« Now for Syria? | Main | Lenin & Liberalism »

January 31, 2004



Hm. The way I read it (from the Hutton report), what was meant that Saddam had, or rather, was thought to have, an array of WMDs, a number of which were slated for use against targets in Iraq (in the event of another rising, say), and that a number of those were capable of being launched at 45 minutes' notice.

A hypothetical example would be a 120mm mortar unit stationed in or near Basra, with a (small) stockpile of 120mm bombs loaded with a CW agent (such as mustard gas) securely locked away at an ammunition storage facility nearby. Upon receiving instructions through the appropriate chain of command, the unit would be able to retrieve its mortars from the armoury, retrieve (under the supervision of a politically reliable officer) the CW munitions, and have its armament set up, laid and ready to fire 45 minutes after receiving the order.

I think that would have been a pretty plausible scenario at this time last year.

John Kozak

You quote Blair as saying that SH had "plans for the use of" CBW. Note the "for the use of" - so this doesn't mean these "plans" are design design documents for weapon systems, but a military strategy for the deployment of such weapons: Blair is trying to create the impression of actual, not possible weapons.

How can you misunderstand something so straightforward?

Mick H

I don't see that I'm misunderstanding. "Plans for the use of..." doesn't imply they're already there.

John Kozak

"active and existing military plans for the use of" certainly does imply the prior existence of the CBW. An active military plan to use a non-existing weapon system isn't a military strategy, it's one of Baldrick's Cunning Plans.

Mick H

What can I say? "We have active and existing military plans for deploying artillery along this border", doesn't necessarily mean you've already got this artillery.

John Kozak

An "active plan" is one which can be put into operation as desired, including immediately: therefore it implies the existence of its prerequisites.

Mick H

That's an entirely arbitrary definition of "active plan". I would have thought an active plan was a plan that was, um, active. I think we should just agree to disagree.

John Kozak

It's not arbitrary: it follows from the nature of things military, and that such things don't necessarily happen at a time of one's choosing. If your "active plan" against being nuked is to take to a bunker, and that bunker doesn't exist when actually nuked, you'll make a very embarrassed-looking white silhouette.

Amateur linguistics hat on: I think that hardly anyone who hadn't been immersing themselves in Bushite WMD-programme-related-activity theology would come up with your intpretation of that chunk of Blair.

The comments to this entry are closed.