Thursday, September 30, 2004

Iraqi Nuclear Scientist Speaks Out

There was an article in the New York Times (registration required) on 9/26 written by former Iraqi nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi. He writes at length about the state of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program program. The key quotes here:

"...the blueprints and prototype parts for the centrifuge, which I had buried under a tree in my garden...

"Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers...

"Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980's, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology. Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months if not years off our previous efforts."

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