Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
In Chapter 2, I introduced my basic theoretical explanation of nuclear weapons project efficiency as a consequence of the top leadership’s approach to management and, behind that, of the institutionalization of the state. Now, to assess the empirical value of the theory, I turn to a first in-depth historical case study: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
In 1991, after Iraq’s defeat in the first Gulf War, UN inspectors were shocked to discover that Saddam’s regime had mounted an intense, 10-year, billion-dollar quest for the bomb right under the nose of the IAEA. Indeed, not long before the truth came out, IAEA Director of Safeguards Jon Jennekens had even praised the country for its “exemplary” conformity to its NPT commitments. The revelations of Iraq’s misdeeds also tarnished the reputation of the US intelligence community, which turned out to have been “totally unaware of more than 50 percent of all the major nuclear weapons installations in Iraq.” This was an intelligence failure of the first order.