This, of course, represented the tip of the iceberg, as Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation notes. Saddam's entire reign rested on bribes and kickbacks, especially during the sanctions years. Even if the Swedes didn't do business that way, the French, Germans, Russians, and many others stood ready to conduct business Saddam-style, as the Oil-For-Food program proved. Coincidentally or not, that corruption started in earnest after [bribed UN weapons inspector Rolf] Ekeus' departure from the scene.
This brings up another, more serious question. If Saddam didn't have the WMD ... why did Tariq Aziz offer Ekeus $2 million for a clean bill of health? Wouldn't just have been easier to produce the documentation demonstrating his innocence or allow for complete inspections, as the UN demanded?
Read it all.
UPDATE: Reader RMBN comments that Saddam was just as fooled as the rest of us about Iraqi WMD, and that "nobody dared tell him otherwise." I've heard that one before, and so has super commenter Dafydd ab Hugh, who seems to pop up from out of nowhere when his wisdom and perspective are needed:
Interesting theory, RBMN, but this whole "Saddam was fooled" idea runs aground on the shoal of Hussein's innate distrust of everybody.
I certainly think Hussein could have been fooled into believing Iraq had more and better WsMD than they actually did. But does anybody here really imagine that Hussein would passively buy whatever his scientists told him without demanding to see some of those chemical and biological weapons -- and probably see them tested on some prisoners? First, to make sure they're real; and second, because he enjoyed watching helpless people being tormented.
Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It's entirely possible they never had as much as their own internal records indicated, but they definitely had them (those Kurds, Shi'a, and Iranians didn't die by black magic). And I am extraordinarily skeptical that from 1991 through 2003, they developed and produced exactly zero chembio weapons, which is what is required to maintain the idea that there were none for the inspectors to find.
They were hidden; they were moved; there never were quite as many as we (and Hussein) thought there were... but some still exist, whether in Syria, Iran, or buried in the desert in Iraq.
The suggestion that none existed is such an extraordinary claim that it requires extraordinary evidence... not simply the absence of post-1991 stockpile discoveries.