Colin Powell, the Kay Report, and a Little Logic

NPR’s Morning Edition had an excellent story today about the Kay Report. We all know that the Kay Report found no WMDs in Iraq. But what I found more interesting were the implications regarding the containment of Iraq from 1991-2003. As NPR’s Mike Shuster put it:

Kay reported that the 1991 Gulf War, and the efforts of UN weapons inspectors coupled with economic sanctions had largely kept Saddam Hussein’s appetite for WMDs in check.

No surprise there – it’s a reasonable reading of the Kay Report, though it is one that the Bushies have not emphasized, for obvious reasons. So imagine my surprise when they included a clip from Colin Powell last week saying the following regarding the Kay Report:

“[The Iraqis] were determined to have the capability to develop [WMDs], and it is clear that they never lost that intent. The programs were kept intact. They were just waiting to see if they could break out of sanctions, if they could break away from the constraints of the United Nations, and start all these programs back up again.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this mean that Powell is saying that the containment of Iraq worked perfectly well to keep WMDs out of Hussein’s hands? Put another way, doesn’t this imply that Powell understands that, as long as the UN kept up its sanctions and other constraints, Iraq could not develop WMDs? The logical implication is that the war was not necessary to keep Hussein from getting WMDs. Too bad Colin Powell refuses to follow his own reasoning to its logical conclusion. Because if he did, he would have to admit that the war did nothing to keep the US safe from WMDs.