May 04, 2003

Ken Pollack Interview Transcript of

Ken Pollack Interview

Transcript of interview with A Threatening Storm author here.

Key portions:

Q: "Did Saddam Hussein actually have unconventional weapons, and is there any evidence he was developing them?"

A: "We really don't know yet. I still think it is very premature to suggest that Saddam either did or did not have the weapons. Now it's not just that the fat lady hasn't sung yet, it's that in some senses the orchestra is just starting to tune up. We are only at the very beginning of what will have to be a very extensive weapons search throughout Iraq."

Q: "Before the invasion, there was a lot of talk about Iraq possessing tons of materials for chemical weapons and biological weapons. Was that an exaggeration by the intelligence community or by the administration itself?

A: "I don't think it was an exaggeration by anyone. The tons were based on what Iraqis imported during the 1980s and in some cases the 1990s. And it was all stuff that was documented by the U.N. inspectors. So the question was, where the hell was this stuff? And I think the answer is, we still don't know."

Q: "What would you have done if you were plotting the strategy back in the fall, would you have sought a Security Council resolution?"

A: "Assuming that we were going to war in 2003, or under my longer term scenario?"

Q: "Either way."

A: "For 2003, I think Resolution 1441 was fine; I thought it was actually a very good resolution. But I would not have handled it necessarily the way that the administration did. I would have done one of two things. Either, I would have had the troops all in place and ready to go, and then when the December Iraqi [weapons] declaration came in, which was an absolute farce, I would have then used that as the casus belli to launch the war, because in fact that was the clearest instance of outright Iraqi noncompliance that we got and were ever likely to get."

Put simply, despite the comfort I derive from Iraqi material breach having occurred (thus providing a justification for the war per Resolution 1441) both with regard to the false December weapons declaration and findings of banned WMD materials in Iraq post-war (if in somewhat de minimis quantities) the bottom line is that it's simply too early to judge what the Iraqi regime may or may not have possessed at this juncture. Patience, everyone!

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