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Find Iraqi WMD, earn $$$ -- maybe


Life imitates art, and occasionally it chases after satire as well. About half a year ago, some wise guy suggested, in not so many words, that if the U.S. government were really so concerned about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, they might have put a price on their (war)heads, just as they did for Saddam & Sons.

Priorities, priorities. Oh well. Now that Saddam is in the pokey, reality seems to have caught up with the joke.

As of Feb. 10, the CIA website announces the "Iraqi Rewards Program," asking for information on a range of issues from "Insurgency and terrorism" to "Missing Coalition personnel." (No dollar figure appears, and if you read carefully, it doesn't actually promise any reward -- clever!)

Back in last August, I wrote:

Henry Ryan, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Creative Thinking, described a range of new ideas currently under consideration. "So far, we've approached Iraqi nuclear scientists with a strategy of alternating indifference and sudden midnight abductions. It's kept them off balance. But now we're thinking that we could start offering rewards for the location of the missing weapons of mass destruction."

Senior defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a new five-dollar reward may soon be announced, to be paid to any Iraqi who can explain to coalition forces how to get to Iraq's Tuwaitha nuclear complex. "We'd like to post some 'IAEA Keep Out' signs on the gates, if we could ever find the place," one official said.

I guess you had to be there to get that one.

And now, the CIA offers the following:

Weapons of mass destruction: The presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq puts at risk the health and safety of all Iraqis. The U.S. Government offers rewards to Iraqis who give specific and verifiable information that helps Iraqis rid their country of these dangerous materials and devices. Rewards will be available for specific and verifiable information on:
  • The location of stocks of recently made chemical or biological weapons munitions, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, or their component parts;
  • The location of chemical or biological laboratories and factories, development and production sites, and test sites associated with WMD, or sites where these materials were secretly disposed of;
  • Weapons system plans, military orders, or other relevant documents about biological and chemical weapons, missiles, or unmanned aerial vehicles;
  • Iraqis who are able and willing to provide detailed information on Iraq's WMD programs and efforts to hide them.
Sure, it's late in the game, but it ain't over 'til it's over. And when is that, you ask? Well, back in August, this was how it looked to one satirist:
According to Mr. Ryan, future rewards may be paid to anyone who can discover the whereabouts of Iraqi democracy. "This could leverage off the Administration's depth in the campaign finance field," observed American Enterprise Institute scholar J. Orne Normstein. "Possibly the suggestions that James Baker would go to Baghdad were premature. They might want him there in time for the elections, though."

Others were less enthusiastic. Said one diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, "Once they hand out the reward money for Saddam, it's going to be catch as catch can."

As of today, Saddam is in the bag, elections are on hold, and sovereignty will revert to the Iraqis on June 30, 2004, come what may -- so says L. Paul Bremer III.

Some parting advice to Iraqis: get what you can from the American taxpayer while you can. The CIA's secure online form is here in English, and here in Iraqi Arabic. Good hunting and best wishes. As the kids liked to say back in the day, it's been real.


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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000190.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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