Sunday, September 26, 2004

Captain Ed links to a story in the London Telegraph which says that Saddam sent a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists to Syria before the war started. Syria has been hiding these guys ever since and now wants to send them to Teheran. Captain Ed has analysis and outrage.

This is scary stuff. This is what I would be asking the candidates about in the debate.

UPDATE: The Telegraph's story seems even scarier when paired with this column by the former head of Saddam's nuclear centrifuge program.
So what now? The dictator may be gone, but that doesn't mean the nuclear problem is behind us. Even under the watchful eyes of Saddam Hussein's security services, there were worries that our scientists might escape to other countries or sell their knowledge to the highest bidder. This expertise is even more valuable today, with nuclear technology ever more available on the black market and a proliferation of peaceful energy programs around the globe that use equipment easily converted to military use.

Hundreds of my former staff members and fellow scientists possess knowledge that could be useful to a rogue nation eager for a covert nuclear weapons program. The vast majority are technicians who, like the rest of us, care first about their families and their livelihoods. It is vital that the United States ensure they get good and constructive jobs in postwar Iraq. The most accomplished of my former colleagues could be brought, at least temporarily, to the West and placed at universities, research labs and private companies.

Mahdi Obeidi explains his thinking of how the world could have thought Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program when he really didn't. Saddam himself thought he did. His portrayal of a delusional Saddam is illuminating, however, I don't think it means that Saddam was no danger. Imagine such a man still in power if he'd gotten away with staring down the United States in 2003? He could have reconstituted those programs with one word. The threat was there. That threat is now in Syria and Iran. We can't relax.