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In the Crossfire

'Saddam's Bombmaker' gives insider's view


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(CNN) -- Khidhir Hamza, author of "Saddam's Bombmaker," spent decades helping to develop Iraq's weapons programs. The nuclear scientist defected to the U.S. Embassy in Hungary in 1994.

Hamra stepped into the "Crossfire" on Friday with hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson to discuss a possible U.S.-led war with Iraq and Iraq's weapons capabilities.

CARLSON: Knowing what you know -- and you know a lot, you know Saddam Hussein personally -- do you support a U.S.-led war to remove him from power?

HAMZA: Actually, yes. There's no fix to the problem Saddam created. In a sense, inspection is not going to disarm him because what you need with the inspections to be successful, especially in monitoring that he doesn't get armed again, is that you need the transparency in government.

People should be able to talk. Inspectors should have free access to government and what are the institutions. You should be able to go anywhere. Iraq's system of government is impossible. So what you have here -- even if you take what he has now -- it's impossible to keep him from rearming, so actually there's no fix for this.

Removing him -- regime change -- is the only solution to this problem. Otherwise, what you have is containment, which is what gave you 9/11 -- containment to create a lot of frustration. The Iraqi people will suffer. People will sympathize with their suffering. ... And eventually you'll get the nucleus of another group that [will enact] terrorist acts against the U.S.

So it is not a solution that eventually, in the long range, will bring back the U.S. into the region in a favorable way.

BEGALA: Let me ask you about 1991. Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear bomb. He did have chemical and biological weapons. He did not use them against American troops, not because I think he's a nice guy -- he certainly doesn't come off very nicely in your book -- but because he was deterred by the force of the U.S. military. Will deterrence work again if we invade Iraq, or will we be hit with chemical and biological weapons?

HAMZA: No. Actually, he used them indirectly. What he did is placed them in the path of U.S. troops coming toward Baghdad. The explosions, which blew up a lot of gases ... around the American troops, is probably the cause for the Gulf War Syndrome now. ...

You see 10 times as much among the Iraqis in the region. Iraqi hospitals are full of people with cancers and all kind of diseases from the chemical weapons Saddam placed presumably in the path for American troops.

BEGALA: He will use them if we have another war?

HAMZA: The planning now, the Pentagon planning, is to take care of this. There's a lot of planning to prevent that.


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