To be more specific:

Who said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in 2003?

By "weapons of mass destruction", I mean atomic, biological, or chemical weapons.

I'm looking for official government people -- presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of state, etc.

  • It may be difficult to distinguish between people who believed he had WMDs and people who said they believed he had WMDs. – Keith Thompson Aug 11 '12 at 3:14
  • Belief is a tough to ascertain thing. People have different agenda --what they publicly portray may not be what they believe. If you want an answer on public portrayal (true or false) of belief then that can be answered. – Apoorv Khurasia Aug 11 '12 at 4:55
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    This is one of those open ended questions that doesn't really have a practical answer, see the FAQ if you are unsure on what kinds of questions to ask: history.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask If you want to rescope the question you can ask to have it reopened, for now I am closing since this is either going to be about personal beliefs, or be speculative. – MichaelF Aug 11 '12 at 10:52
  • @MichaelF, I've reworded it to be about what people claimed publically, not what they may have believed in private. – Joe Aug 13 '12 at 23:46
  • @Joe Sure, that is much better and more answerable. – MichaelF Aug 14 '12 at 8:41

One thing that should be clarified is that it is a fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had WMD's at one point. We know this, because he used them on his own Kurdish population in 1988. At issue in 2003 was if he still had them, or if he'd dismantled them all, and his production program, as he'd agreed to do at the end of the first Gulf War.

Now, it would perhaps be easier to list who didn't think Iraq still had WMD's in 2003.

One name on that (much shorter) list would be Hans Blix, the guy in charge of weapons inspections for Iraq. In other words, the person most in a position to make that assessment. He made a statement before the war started that he thought they pretty much had all of Iraq's WMD source material accounted for. This was much derided by the right wing in America at the time.

A large part of the problem was that Iraq acted like they had WMD's. They were constantly refusing inspectors access to certian sites, then waiting a while and letting them back in. They were refusing access to scientists. They were just not cooperating in a way that didn't make much sense unless they had something to hide.

The explanation I've heard for this since was that Hussein felt like the weapons were a deterrent to Iran, and wanted Iran to believe he still had them. Sadly for him (and many others), he ended up decieving the wrong people.

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    LOL @ "deceiving the wrong people". – Apoorv Khurasia Aug 14 '12 at 13:58
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    That was always my assertion in arguments with people around the time, for Saddam acting like he had them was a deterrent to Iran. Giving that up would make him look weak, and potentially cause him to lose power, which it did anyway. Catch-22 by that point. – MichaelF Aug 15 '12 at 8:35
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    Interestingly, he may have still had WMDs as the Brits have recently been called in to help clean up the residues. news.yahoo.com/… It's not clear from anything I've seen whether this is 20-year-old residue, residue from weapons recently transferred or actual chemical weapons. Whatever they're cleaning up is hazardous stuff. – David Navarre Aug 15 '12 at 17:17
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    @DavidNavarre - My problem with "he may have had them because" arguments is that there are a lot of people, particularly here in the USA, who very badly want to believe that he had them. This isn't a productive way to reason about things at all. IMHO that means any such argument needs to be viewed with a couple of extra helpings of skepticisim. The assumption should be that he had neither WMD's nor super new railguns ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_gun#Practical_attempts ) nor tactical unicorns unless someone produces pretty compelling proof otherwise. – T.E.D. Aug 15 '12 at 17:57
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    It doesn't matter much to me whether he actually had them or not, since, as you noted, he tried to make everyone think he did. – David Navarre Aug 15 '12 at 20:49

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