This is from Judith Miller's latest New York Times article on the teams hunting for Iraqi WMDs:
Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time.
Doesn't this seem plausible? Doesn't it seem plausible that at a certain point Saddam might have abandoned or suspended any programs he had to develop chem, bio, or nuclear weapons, in the hope of getting the hated sanctions lifted? It seems to me he really wanted his country to lose its pariah status, while giving up as little of his nasty behavior as possible. But if Blix and ElBaradei couldn't find WMDs, if we can't find WMDs, if he didn't give WMDs to any terrorists who then used them to attack the West, if he didn't give WMDs to Palestinian suicide bombers, then maybe he just didn't have them in recent years.
Which doesn't mean he wouldn't have restarted weapons programs if the sanctions were lifted. But the sanctions weren't going to be lifted.
Maybe -- at least as regards production and use of WMDs -- the sanctions worked.