These are some of Modher Sadeq-Saba Tamimi's secret sketches for two illegal long-range missiles, one using two engines and one using five boosters.
Photo Credit: Preston Keres -- The Washington Post
When I saw these advanced sketches, I thought I was looking at The Onion, but actually the image comes from this Washington Post story about Iraq's weapons programs. The story deconstructs the pre-war claims of the "grave threat" Iraq's WMD's posed to the world.
The broad picture emerging from the investigation to date suggests that, whatever its desire, Iraq did not possess the wherewithal to build a forbidden armory on anything like the scale it had before the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
The article says that Iraq may have been working on designing long range missiles based on the Al Samoud, missiles which the Iraq declared to the UN and which UNMOVIC subsequently destroyed. These secret, longer range missiles were never built and seemed to rely on obsolete designs. In fact,
In test flights, the Al Samoud missile never landed -- literally -- within a mile of its target. In 2001, Tamimi obtained a small black-market supply of precision Russian gyroscopes. He hoped they would increase the missile's accuracy from about 1.5 miles to 500 yards. To increase accuracy still further, he said "we were near success" in negotiating a contract -- he would not say with whom -- for a complete Russian-built inertial navigation system.
But it appears that the engineers never succeeded (due to the embargoes, containment, and constant UN pressure/inspections) in building any such missiles. Furthermore, Dr. Kay's investigation team is uncovering a web of internal deception aimed to appease Saddam Hussein and deter foreign conflict by exaggerating their own WMD claims.
"Saddam Hussein ordered this work, but where would we get the materials?" said an Iraqi general who declined to be named and who kept close tabs on Tamimi's missile designs. "This was the case in every field. People would prepare reports under the order of Saddam Hussein and the supervision of the people around Saddam Hussein. But it was not real."
The story paints a picture of an Iraqi weapons program plagued by obsolete technology, infighting, exaggerated claims, and lack of materials -- a far cry from the "grave danger" this administration warned against in the run-up to the war.
I hope this story gains traction and that more people start waking up to the Bush administration's pattern of lies.
As my bumper sticker succinctly states: "George W. Bush: Ignorant, a Liar, or Just Incompetent?"
No matter how you slice it, it's bad news for the country.