Disconfirmations Disconfirmed: Saddam Had Nuke Program (Updated)

The media have been telling us for years that Saddam had no WMD, so "Bush's War": was based on a "lie." And those who believed Saddam did have WMD or WMD programs were delusional or worse.

But today, on July 6, 2008, the Associated Press reports that 

  • Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program
  • At the Tuwaitha nuclear complex just south of Baghdad
  • Which included 550 metric tons (over 1.2 million pounds) of "yellowcake", or concentrated uranium
  • And multiple devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon. 

The AP does not say alleged nuclear program.  It does not add "according to military experts."  It simply says "Saddam Hussein's nuclear program."

That's pretty big news, isn't it?

For about five years now, those of us who thought Saddam Hussein probably had at least WMD programs, if not WMD themselves, have been called not only wrong, but illogical and insane.

One example was an article by Sharon Begley in the Wall Street Journal  titled People Believe a 'Fact' That Fits Their Views Even if It's Clearly False  .  (Her article series is called, without irony, the "Science Journal".)  Ms. Begley reported that "six months after the invasion, one-third of Americans believed WMDs had been found, even though every such tentative claim was discomfirmed [sic]."  She cited psychologists to explain this strange behavior.  They used terms like "world views" and "mental models."

Jim Lobe at CommonDreams.org (Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community)  reported that "Three out of four self-described supporters of President George W. Bush still believe that pre-war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or active programs to produce them."  He went on to quote the director of the polling company as saying

"To support the president and to accept that he took the U.S. to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about pre-war Iraq."

These findings on people's beliefs were based on a survey that asked people if they believed Saddam had WMD or WMD programs .  Apparently, Sharon Begley, Jim Lobe and a whole lot of other people not only believed Saddam had no WMD programs, but that anyone who did believe such a thing was clearly illogical or insane.  In fact, the only interesting question to them was what is wrong with our minds.

World views.  Mental models.  Cognitive dissonance.  Suppressed awareness.

Fast forward to today.  Now we hear from the Associated Press that "The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program -- a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium -- reached a Canadian port."  That last "remnant" was 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium.  That is over 1.2 million pounds of yellowcake!  Also, the military had previously withdrawn "four devices for controlled radiation exposure ... that could potentially be used in a weapon."  All this was located at "the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad."

The AP even reminds us that

"Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger -- and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims -- led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration."

By the way, is it illogical or insane to think that Saddam could not possibly obtain yellowcake, and did not even try to, because one former ambassador went to one country in Africa and said he couldn't find it there?  What about after they found over a million pounds of it just south of Baghdad?  Is it now considered reality-based to think Saddam "sought" yellowcake, just as President Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address ?

Should psychologists study Sharon Begley's brain now that the disconfirmations have been "discomfirmed"?  Should the CIA send Joe Wilson to Canada to monitor the destruction of the yellowcake he could not find in Africa?

Update:  The AP article states "U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

While this 550 tons of yellowcake was news to some of us, it was not news to Douglas Hanson  or Rick Moran at American Thinker.

As Douglas Hanson asked in 2004:

"Why did the IAEA allow Iraq to retain such massive amounts of nuclear material, when its three nuclear facilities had been destroyed over 12 years ago, and have never been repaired?"

In another AT piece , he went on to say

"How many nuclear weapons can you build [with 500 tons of yellowcake]?  The answer is 142."
The media have been telling us for years that Saddam had no WMD, so "Bush's War": was based on a "lie." And those who believed Saddam did have WMD or WMD programs were delusional or worse.

But today, on July 6, 2008, the Associated Press reports that 

  • Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program
  • At the Tuwaitha nuclear complex just south of Baghdad
  • Which included 550 metric tons (over 1.2 million pounds) of "yellowcake", or concentrated uranium
  • And multiple devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon. 

The AP does not say alleged nuclear program.  It does not add "according to military experts."  It simply says "Saddam Hussein's nuclear program."

That's pretty big news, isn't it?

For about five years now, those of us who thought Saddam Hussein probably had at least WMD programs, if not WMD themselves, have been called not only wrong, but illogical and insane.

One example was an article by Sharon Begley in the Wall Street Journal  titled People Believe a 'Fact' That Fits Their Views Even if It's Clearly False  .  (Her article series is called, without irony, the "Science Journal".)  Ms. Begley reported that "six months after the invasion, one-third of Americans believed WMDs had been found, even though every such tentative claim was discomfirmed [sic]."  She cited psychologists to explain this strange behavior.  They used terms like "world views" and "mental models."

Jim Lobe at CommonDreams.org (Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community)  reported that "Three out of four self-described supporters of President George W. Bush still believe that pre-war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or active programs to produce them."  He went on to quote the director of the polling company as saying

"To support the president and to accept that he took the U.S. to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about pre-war Iraq."

These findings on people's beliefs were based on a survey that asked people if they believed Saddam had WMD or WMD programs .  Apparently, Sharon Begley, Jim Lobe and a whole lot of other people not only believed Saddam had no WMD programs, but that anyone who did believe such a thing was clearly illogical or insane.  In fact, the only interesting question to them was what is wrong with our minds.

World views.  Mental models.  Cognitive dissonance.  Suppressed awareness.

Fast forward to today.  Now we hear from the Associated Press that "The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program -- a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium -- reached a Canadian port."  That last "remnant" was 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium.  That is over 1.2 million pounds of yellowcake!  Also, the military had previously withdrawn "four devices for controlled radiation exposure ... that could potentially be used in a weapon."  All this was located at "the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad."

The AP even reminds us that

"Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger -- and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims -- led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration."

By the way, is it illogical or insane to think that Saddam could not possibly obtain yellowcake, and did not even try to, because one former ambassador went to one country in Africa and said he couldn't find it there?  What about after they found over a million pounds of it just south of Baghdad?  Is it now considered reality-based to think Saddam "sought" yellowcake, just as President Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address ?

Should psychologists study Sharon Begley's brain now that the disconfirmations have been "discomfirmed"?  Should the CIA send Joe Wilson to Canada to monitor the destruction of the yellowcake he could not find in Africa?

Update:  The AP article states "U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

While this 550 tons of yellowcake was news to some of us, it was not news to Douglas Hanson  or Rick Moran at American Thinker.

As Douglas Hanson asked in 2004:

"Why did the IAEA allow Iraq to retain such massive amounts of nuclear material, when its three nuclear facilities had been destroyed over 12 years ago, and have never been repaired?"

In another AT piece , he went on to say

"How many nuclear weapons can you build [with 500 tons of yellowcake]?  The answer is 142."