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Final (?) Thoughts on the ‘Mobile Bio Labs’ April 15, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Politics (Ghahh!), WoT.
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I’ve been ruminating over the discussion about the mobile labs. I have my own entry below. While I tend to lean towards the Duelfer conclusion that they were meant for hydrogen production, I still have some questions that haven’t been completely answered, at least to my satisfaction. Maybe there are answers out there, but I haven’t seen them.

1) We know that Hussein was real big on ‘dual-use’ components and equipment. We have many records of him purchasing various pieces of equipment that had both legitimate industrial application, as well as application towards ends that violated his agreements with the U.N./U.S. The trucks that we found were (and still are, to me) somewhat suspicious in that regard. Why did he have them built in such an odd fashion? They, by all appearances, are not ideally suited towards the manufacturing of hydrogen in the field. The equipment being used, the way it was constructed, the cost of manufacturing this equipment, none of it lends itself towards a clean, cost-effective means of manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons, or artillary equipment, as has been claimed.

2) Why build it in the first place? They certainly could have purchased this equipment much cheaper.

3) Why weren’t these trucks declared to the weapons inspectors? There were 6 other categories of trucks declared to the inspectors over the years. Why not these? Did the Iraqis simply forget? Color me sceptical.

4) Especially questionable to me: why was the equipment scoured with a highly corrosive, toxic cleanser? There is nothing about the manufacturing of hydrogen in the field that requires solvents that are only used to clean equipment that has been exposed to either dangerous chemicals, or dangerous biological agents.

5) The Duelfer Report states pretty unequivocally that the trucks could really only be used for hydrogen manufacturing in the field. However, it has been argued elsewhere (no links, sorry; I’ll dig around and update this, if I get the chance. I know that the CIA page has an example of possible configurations.) that all of the objections raised in the Report are answered if you employ multiple trucks for the operation. Cleansing of the system, pumping the manufactured agents, etc. Every objection is answered. Now, it is up to reasonable people to reach their own conclusions regarding how realistic these counter-arguments are, but that’s part of my point. I think reasonable people can reach their own conclusions. I don’t think this is as cut-and-dry as the Duelfer Report would have us believe. Given Hussein’s known perfidy, I think it is more than reasonable to reach conclusions different than the Report does.

These are questions that I think need to be answered before I can really put this to rest in my mind. I’m going to re-read the Duelfer Report and see if anything new jumps out as answers. I’ll post if anything new comes up. If anybody’s reading this, comments are more than welcome. I only ask that it be reasonable. I’ll nuke partisan sniping in a heartbeat! On both sides….

Update: I need to clarify the last paragraph above: I’ve only read the sections on the analysis of the mobile lab, and parts of another section. Those sections will be my primary focus. I do need to take the time to read the entire report. I’ve glanced at sections in the past, and read some summaries. That’s clearly not enough. I need to read the whole thing. In all of my spare time…!

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