Friday, November 25, 2005

Target: Iraqi Scientists

On the eve of war in March 2003, there was almost no one in the credible, civilized world that did not think that Saddam Hussein's Iraq possessed biological, chemical, and possibly even nuclear weapons. Democrats as well as Republicans at home were convinced of the seriousness of the threat, while foreign intelligence agencies and governments questioned only the extent of Saddam's weaponry and their destructive potential. In the more than two years since the invasion, many have tried to explain how very little of Saddam's anticipated WMD stockpiles was ever located. Democrats have, as a party, chosen the disingenuous route of claiming that they were misled into war, even though they had access to the same exact information as the current administration, and held the same exact views even before President George W. Bush entered office.

The absence of a clear answer as to what happened to all of those anticipated weapons does not mean that there are not at least some clues that they did in fact exist. One such clue is the following disturbing trend: hundreds of Iraqi scientists who had know-how of and access to Saddam's weapons programs, ranging from university professors to nuclear technicians, are believed to have either been abducted or murdered.

In a recent interview with, former military intelligence officer and United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspector Bill Tierney provided substantial insight into the flawed weapons inspections that were conducted under the auspices of United Nations authority, During his interview, Tierney also made the following ominous comment with respect to Iraqi scientists:
During my eight months of counterinfiltration duty [in Iraq], we had 50 local Iraqis working on our post who were murdered for collaborating. Of the more than 150 local employees our team identified as security threats, the most sophisticated infiltrators came from the Baath Party. This was just one post, yet the [Defense Intelligence Agency] believes no one was afraid to talk, even though scientists who were cooperating with [the Iraqi Survey Group] were murdered.

Tierney's comments find support in other publications that can hardly be dubbed war-friendly. A November 11, 2005, periodical report from the Monitoring Network for Human Rights (MHRI), a coalition of roughly 20 Iraqi human rights organizations, chronicled the troubling trend of assassinations generally in Iraq, but found the volume of scientists murdered to be particularly unsettling. Here is a key excerpt from that report:
Iraqi police sources revealed that [up until] the end of March 2004[,] more than 1000 Iraqi scientists were shot. A report, which was previously published by the U.S. State Department, confirmed the killing of 350 scientists specialized in nuclear sciences, and 200 professors. The Network for Human Rights and Democracy in Iraq, had previously accused the Israeli Secret Services of the assassination of tens of Iraqi Scientists. [Emphasis added.]

At least one other publication, discussing the seemingly innocent topic of developing a virtual science library for the new Iraqi nation, implies that the project is having difficulty getting of the ground in part because of the fear over the unexplained murders of Iraqi scientists:
Many Iraqi academics, including most scientists, are worried about security and kidnapping, a State Department official said, and a recent report in Science magazine quoted an Iraqi engineering professor as saying at least 58 professors, 150 medical doctors, and dozens of scientists have been murdered since the war officially ended in April 2003. A State Department official indicated he had no reason to doubt those numbers. [Emphasis added.]

The numbers of alleged murdered scientists vary widely, but that is not unexpected under the circumstances. What should give pause to hawks and doves alike is the fact that there is reason to believe that there is a concerted effort to eliminate Iraqi scientists that had knowledge of what Saddam had accomplished prior to being toppled from power.

This begs the question: Who is killing these scientists?


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