Iraq

American Forces Found 5,000 Chemical Weapons In Iraq—Just Not the Ones the Bush Administration Claimed Were There

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Photo credit: Marion Doss / Foter / CC BY-SA

There were thousands of chemical weapons in Iraq, some of which harmed Americans, according to a lengthy new investigative report in The New York Times—and the public, members of Congress, and even members of the military were misled about their existence. Nor were they the chemical weapons that the Bush administration said the U.S. was going after when it attempted to justify the military operation that became the Iraq War. 

According to the report, American troops and Iraqi allies found roughly 5,000 chemical weapons in various forms, including a single depository of about 2,400 warheads, between 2004 and 2011. In six separate instances, American troops or allies were wounded by the weapons. The New York Times managed to get in touch with 17 American troops, as well as seven Iraqi cops, and talk to them about the experience. The military says there were at least a few more who were injured by the hushed-up chemical arms, but won't say exactly how many. 

These were not products of the active, ongoing chemical weapons program that the Bush administration claimed existed and had to be stopped when it first made the case for war in Iraq. All the weapons were all more than a decade old by the time they were discovered. Most were made in the 1980s, and every single one of them had been created before 1991. 

The Times says flatly that "the discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government's invasion rationale."

Their existence was a closely kept secret, even within the government. As the Times notes:

Since the outset of the war, the scale of the United States' encounters with chemical weapons in Iraq was neither publicly shared nor widely circulated within the military. These encounters carry worrisome implications now that the Islamic State, a Qaeda splinter group, controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.

The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm's way and from military doctors. The government's secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war's most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

Soldiers who were aware of the discoveries were ordered to keep quiet about them, and even to mislead Congress about what they knew. "'Nothing of significance' is what I was ordered to say," retired Army Major Jarrod Lampier tells the Times. Lampier was on site when the biggest chemical weapons dump, containing 2,400 warheads, was found.  

The secrecy compounded the dangers posed by the weapons, creating a cascade of failures:  

In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war's outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.

Why didn't the government reveal their existence? Possibly because they were embarassed that they were wrong, or perhaps because in some cases the U.S. and some of its Western allies had played a role in designing or creating the weapons in the first place:

Participants in the chemical weapons discoveries said the United States suppressed knowledge of finds for multiple reasons, including that the government bristled at further acknowledgment it had been wrong. "They needed something to say that after Sept. 11 Saddam used chemical rounds," Mr. Lampier said. "And all of this was from the pre-1991 era."

Others pointed to another embarrassment. In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies.

All in all, it looks like the revelation of another colossal failure in what is already widely recognized as a colossal failure of a war. (But hey, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.)

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  1. Wait. Did we think they didn’t have an assload of chemical weapons?

    1. There are libs who were convinced they didn’t have any. The only debate is their condition.

      1. Everyone knew they had WW1 type mustard gas. The Bushpigs were claiming Saddam had an ongoing nuclear weapons program.

        1. Weigel! How are ya doin’ ol’ buddy? How’s the pizza face?

        2. Nuclear is different than chemical. Do keep on-topic.

          1. It’s pronounced nucular.

        3. Look on the bright side – at least your god, Obama the Lightworker, has his justification for war in Syria and just about anywhere else on the planet due to Bush’s AUMF in Iraq.

          1. Syria = Iraq. EXACTLY ALIKE!

            I hear that bullshit here often. Sometimes it is Libya instead.

            1. Were you born a fat, slimy, scumbag puke piece o’ shit, or did you have to work on it?

            2. EXACTLY ALIKE!

              Which was TOTALLY the claim being made!

        4. The Bush administration said that Iraq had tried to purchase large quantities of yellowcake uranium, and that waiting to see if they were making bombs was a bad idea. Since we removed a substantial quantity of yellowcake from Iraq this seems to me to be a reasonable position. I am aware that the Liberal Establishment has asserted that the yellowcake found was identified and sequestered by U.N. inspectors long before the invasion of Iraq, but I hope you will pardon me if I consider the United Kleptocrats a sours of information at least as compromised as any U.S. Presidential Administration, including our current bunch of idiots.

          The narrative that “We found no WMDs” is bullshit. The assertion that Bush lied is questionable, considering that the sources lie like they breathe. And we had an iron-clad legal reason to invade Iraq; Iraq had never complied with the terms of surrender from the LAST war.

          Which doesn’t make going back a good idea, or a bad idea. It just means that the narrative from the Left (and, sadly, from Reason too) about Bush and the War is completely divorced from reality.

          1. Yeah, but there was no evidence he was going to use these weapons against us. He would have killed Iranians or his own citizens. Considering those are the same people that now make up ISIS/L I fail to see how that’s a problem.

            Saddam was never a threat to the US. That’s the whole point.

            1. Sadaam’s intelligence agencies were involved in the first WTC bombing. That’s a threat.

              I wish Reason would have not lied so much about Iraq’s WMDs.

            2. Damnit, i’m gonna have to watch some Harvey Birdman this evening.

              Ha ha Dangley parts!

            3. Regardless of whether he intended to attack us in the future (and so much plain and fancy lying has been done on the subject that I doubt we will ever know). He was a standing threat to our credibility. If we didn’t take him out, the perception would have been that surrendering to us and then violating the terms of that surrender had no downside.

              It astonishes me that so few people seem to see this. I except the political left; they may see it, just as they saw the deaths Stalin caused, but their interests keep them from calling attention to it. This is why I consider the politically left to be scum. But lots of people who I consider otherwise reasonably intelligent don’t seem to understand.

              1. You mean the neocon throw some small country against the wall crap? Yeah, killing people for no reason other than to make people “respect” really works out so well.

                Bush could have allowed the inspectors back in and the mess in Iraq now would at least be on Saddam’s hands.

        5. You mean these “Bushpigs”, right?:

          “There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” Letter to President Bush, Signed by: Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

          “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.” Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

          “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    2. Given that Saddam was known to have used chemical weapons, it would have been stupid to think that he had none at all. Who doesn’t have chemical weapons?

      But the story used to convince people to support the invasion was that he was doing something that posed an immediate threat to the US interests and not just holding onto stuff he had had for many years.

      1. Why won’t you defend Bush? Don’t you hate Obama?

        1. Oh, I’ve got plenty of hate to go around.

        2. Most of us despise them both.

      2. I think the reasoning Bush gave was a mistake. He should have said “Saddam agreed to certain terms of surrender, and never met them. If we don’t remove him from power, many enemies of the United States will conclude that lying to us has no down side. We can’t have that if we want peace.”

        Sadly, I don’t think the Liberal Establishment would have accepted the reality of that position. They were rocked back on their heels by the position Bush took long enough for us to chase Saddam into a hiding place, and take down his government.

        The fact is that the Liberal Establishment does not understand War (because their understanding of history is completely warped by their religion), and thus does not understand the uses of military force.

        Witness or current Nitwit; sending troops to “fight ebola”; armies are good at killing people and breaking things. Not so good at doing quarantine control, and moderately bad at public sanitation (although there have been cases of honorable exceptions).

  2. NYC Reasonoid Meet-Up!

    Important Update – New Date

    When: Wednesday, 10/22/14, 6:00PM
    Where: Rattle N Hum
    14 E 33rd St
    http://www.rattlenhumbarnyc.com/home

    1. I checked my map and NYC is in the forbidden zone.

      1. Not the…Danger Zone?

        *cue Kenny Loggins*

      2. The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago.

        1. I’m trying to picture it the way it was. Just the tress and the river, before people came along and fouled it all up.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6qK8-liiew

  3. So, the fact that the Iraqis did in fact have thousands of chemical weapons, which is what was alleged, proves that the intelligence was wrong? What?

    1. They claimed that they had production facilities manufacturing new ones.

      1. They claimed both that they had stockpiles and the capacity to create more.

      2. When did they claim that, exactly?

        1. http://edition.cnn.com/2002/AL…..ranscript/

          “Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons and to stop all support for terrorist groups.

          The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism and practices terror against its own people”

          Note that Bush says separately that they possess the weapons and they can produce more. Note also, that he says that they were required to both destroy the existing weapons and cease producing more.

        2. Maybe you forgot about those “mobile chemical weapons labs”.

    2. The chemical weapons they had were not the ones the intelligence said they had. It’s like in math class, it’s not enough to get the right answer you have to show your work to get credit.

  4. So everyone who said Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction will start apologizing any minute now right?

    1. It was never about truth for the Dumbocrats. It never is. It’s all about power. Once they realized their base was turning on them they couldn’t get to the lifeboats fast enough.

      1. It is also, I really think, about the gradual realization that a lot of their behavior surrounding the 2000 election was indefensible, unless Bush was an incarnation of Beelzebub. So, since eTHEY can’t POSSIBLY be in the wrong, Bush HAD to be a demon.

    2. Did you even bother reading the article?

    3. Bush did lie about WMDs. Then he lied about the ones he found. He’s a lying liar.

      1. There’s no proof he lied.

        1. You could see his lips move, but Lord Cheny was standing beside him.

          Bush lied about aluminum tubes, mobile bio weapon labs, nuclear clouds being imminent over our cities and a three month war that would make a profit.

          He’s a war criminal which is probably why he doesn’t go to Europe.

      2. I always saw it less as he lied than that he simply fell prey to confirmation bias because he *wanted* Iraq to have weapons of mass destruction so he could invade. The evidence for there being WMD was vague, at best, but if you’re predisposed to believe in a particular outcome before you conduct analysis, you’ll taint the analytic process and overestimate the value of evidence that supports your preconception.

        Happens all the time, even to experienced analysts (which Bush and Cheney were not). It’s an academic discussion, of course, because all that really matters is whether their conclusion was correct or incorrect, and it was incorrect (there was no nuclear program, which was the primary impetus to invade). But I think saying they “lied” to convince Congress to sign the AUMF implies a level of competence that the Bush administration simply didn’t possess.

        Bush got the wrong result because he wanted to believe in something that wasn’t so. Conversely, Obama isn’t intelligent enough to figure out what’s going on or intellectually disciplined enough to figure out a coherent course of action, so he does actively lie just to hide the fact that he’s an incompetent fraud.

        1. Bush could have put the inspectors back in Iraq but chose to start a war. Anybody doing this wants war no matter what. They were planning to attack Iraq before 9/11.

  5. Why didn’t the government reveal their existence? Possibly because they were embarassed that they were wrong

    We obviously need a better term than “intelligence”. Perhaps “assessment”, or “guess”?

    Also, “embarrassed”.

    1. Yeah, I’m think they would have trotted out some old 1920s era British chemical weapons to justify the invasion if they had found them.

  6. The presence AND USE of weapons was only one of 19 reasons Bush gave for the invasion. Most turned out true, but those opposed to it have a very selective memory.

    1. The justification sold to the American people was large stockpiles of chemical weapons that he planned to transfer to Osama plus possible secret nuclear weapons program. Without those 2 things, the public wasn’t going to support the war. When it turned out that both of those things were untrue or massively exaggerated, public support dropped.

      1. Except for the large stockpiles of chemical weapons, you mean.

        1. Manufactured prior to 1991 with American and EU help, as opposed to ongoing native or Al Qaeda programs after 9-11, as was the narrative.

          1. I remember the narrative. I dont recall anyone saying that the only chemical weapons we cared about were new ones.

            1. It’s not what you cared about, it’s what the politicians cared about, and they would have been extremely embarrassed for the public to realize we had helped build the ehemical weapons which were found, when the narrative was that Saddam and Al Qaeda had built them.

              1. Embarrassed, sure. But the issue was Saddam’s use of chemical weapons against his own populace and the very real possibility that he would either directly sell or allow access through lack of institutional control to al-Qaeda. When 5,000 chemical weapons were manufactured has little bearing on those issues and U.S. and allied forces discovered numerous stockpiles of chemical precursor agents that would have allowed manufacture within a relatively short timeframe.

                I am NOT saying that this is necessarily a valid reason for use of military force there (and the Times piece points out the very real possibility of these weapons falling into psycho hands has quite possibly been increased in likelihood due to our leaving the country in shambles) but let’s not all fall victim to a case of complete historic revisionism here.

                1. Agree. The fact that we helped Saddam build is chemical arsenal was well known, even at the time.

                  1. We also helped Russia and China in WWII so what people help people all the time and end up getting stabbed in the back for their efforts so the fact that we helped them becomes a moot point. Unlike Syria where we actively gave known terrorist weapons that we knew we should not give them because anybody with a half a brain knew they would turn on us just like they did.

                  2. This is not accurate. The article says that the shells were purchased from Italian companies making copies of old American designs. And the precursor agents were smuggled out of the US, they weren’t legally shipped. Iraq basically pieced together it’s program from what it could find on the open market. Obviously that came from Western companies because (duh) the West is whre the technology was developed in the first place.

                  3. Do you have a link for that well-known fact? As I recall the US was responsible for less of Saddam’s arsenal than Denmark. Pretty much everything we blew up in 1991 was made in the USSR.

                2. That Sadam didn’t use those chemical weapons to kill more Iranians seems downright ungrateful.
                  Reason enough to attack him in my book.

              2. Who cares who built the weapons? Israel takes the blame when they use the weapons they bought from us! If I lend you my gun to protect yourself under certain conditions, I have a right to take it back if you violate those conditions. Now we might have made up those conditions after the fact in the case of Iraq, but that’s not what the Left claimed. They claimed Bush made the whole thing up to justify the war. It still wasn’t enough to justify the war IMO, but at least this proves the Left is full of shit, and that the Right can’t do public relations (or war for that matter) worth a shit.

                1. The Bush Administration had the worst communications effort in presidential history, starting with Bush himself. Remember Press Secretary Scotty McClellan? That clown shouldn’t have been spokesman for a regional office of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, Bush couldn’t even adequately articulate his own policies.

      2. The American people generally abandon anything that is not an overwhelming success, and even the successes when the press sells them as failure. Conversely, they will support a failure as long as the bill stays well obscured. Anything we do based on the current passions of the electorate, that takes more than a couple years, will be a failure. The public is a collective, emotional, unreliable panty waist. I know because I occasionally venture out among them, and they are weak and cowardly sheep looking at each other to find their way.

      3. When and where did he claim this?

        But the last thing we will get from you sufferers of BDS is a citation, isn’t it?

  7. “These are not the weapons of mass destruction which you are looking for”

    **waves hand**

    1. “Uh, we had a slight chemical weapons malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?”

      1. +1 boring conversation.

  8. Oh great Swammy, how does President Bush know that Iraq has chemical weapons?

    “He’s got the receipt”

  9. Wow. Cue the Team Red apologists coming in to defend a $2 trillion mistake – and 4500 US lives flushed into a shithole for nothing.

    1. Does the truth mean anything at all to you? Is absolutely everything in this world subservient to the endless red v. blue war?

      1. Truth means nothing to progtards like Weigel. It’s all about power. If the truth helps them get and keep power then it is a useful tool. If it threatens that, then lies are equally good.

        1. For a clown like Weigel, i dont even think its that deep. The truth challenges his cherished world view, so it must be disposed of.

          1. The truth inhibits moral preening. Moral preening is the drug the ProgLords use to direct the faithful.

    2. $2 trillion mistake … 4500 US lives

      So what am I to make of your omission of the tens to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths? This isn’t a case of the selective cares for team propaganda is it?

  10. Bush lied!

    1. and Lou Reed DIED!

      1. What, Lou Reed is dead?!

        1. What about Sean Connery?

          1. Timothy Dalton still lives.

  11. Am I the only one that thinks this is bullshit?

    Seriously, even if the pentagon covered it up, and why would they given the attacks on Bush and the intelligence agencies, could they have kept word from leaking out?

    The primary argument against conspiracy theories of various flavors, that keep them quiet grows exponentially difficult with each additional person involved.

    1. I think the problem is that each conspiracy starts with just a few people and at the time it seems like you and your buddy can keep it quiet.

      Then it turns out you have to include a few other people to help you keep it quiet. Then a few more. By the time it becomes apparent that too many people know about it to keep it quiet, it is also obvious that you have been involved in a (possibly criminal) obstruction of justice. Your only hope at that point is just to ride it out and hope for the best.

    2. I don’t think it’s bullshit, I think it’s typical 2014 reporting in that the article leaves out all the context you need to understand what they’re talking about.

      We sent guys in to clean up sites where Hussein’s people had done a Keystone Cops job of trying to destroy old ordinance. But because a rusted-out shell with no firing pin is still dangerous if there’s any chemical traces left in it, the Times can print “OMG guys they found lots of chemical weapons!”

      1. There saying that the pentagon lied for some inscrutable reason to cover up the discovery.

        And that ISIS now has the chemical weapons because – you know, the US military, in the biggest search ever- actually found some of what they were looking for but instead of hyping it like every podunk cop that finds aspirin when they’re looking for hard drugs, not only didn’t hype it but left it in place.

        Yeah – bullshit.

        1. Why is it hard to believe that ‘The Pentagon’ could lie about something?

        2. The Pentagon didn’t lie.

          The Pentagon looked at the stuff that was found and quite properly categorized it as refuse.

          Incredibly dangerous refuse, but still refuse.

          They were probably most afraid of being “embarrassed” by someone trying to wave these things in the air to claim that “We found Saddam’s weapons! See, it was all true!” That would have legitimately embarrassed them, because it wouldn’t have withstood even basic scrutiny.

          You know, the kind of scrutiny the Times is deliberately withholding from this article.

    3. And remember, the Times has an interest in rehabilitating their own reputation on this topic.

    4. Its not bullshit. The only part in this article that is untrue is the claim that it was kept a secret even in military circles. They were finding these shells pretty frequently in 2003 when I was there. It was never a particularly guarded secret as far as I could tell.

      1. Did they dispose of them or just leave them in place for some later thugs to find and use?

        And why the hell didn’t the military and administration hype every old gas shell that they found to defend against the claim that Bush lied?

        That’s the other thing about the story – it requires a belief that the military wanted to make Bush look bad – when they were his biggest supporters.

        1. I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that their could be some people in the military (a huge corporate organization) that might/could find it politically expedient to not exonerate Bush.

          1. Sure, but I find it hard to believe that they controlled the situation in Iraq sufficiently to cover up finding weapons that would support Bush and the invasion.

          2. You don’t think the Bush administration wanted proof it was right all along? What senior officer would be willing to risk his career to hide this from the Commander in chief just because he didn’t like Bush or was thinking about his civilian double diping?

        2. They disposed of them. Saddam had munitions dumps the likes of which God has never seen. The US spent years cleaning them up and securing the weapons there. There were so many of them that there was no way to immediately secure them all. The 155mm shells from those dumps became IEDs for the insurgency.

          1. John, the whole point of the NYT story is ZOMG ISIS has Saddam’s WMD that the petagon knew about and covered up.

            That’s what I’m calling bullshit on.

            Not that some decommissioned shells were found and destroyed.

        3. Did you and others not read even the Reason summary?

          The WMD claim was that Saddam and Al Qaeda had been manufacturing chemical weapons in response to 9-11. These weapons were all made before 1991 with American and EU assistance.

          Of *course* that was embarrassing to politicians. These are *politicians*.

          Damn I don’t understand why they are so many iliterate people here who are so incapable of understanding politicians.

          1. Seriously??

            You’ve obviously never seen some two-bit dealer hyped as the drug kin of shit alley then. Or the cops claiming that half a bag of some shit has a street value of millions of dollars.

            Exaggerating bullshit is all they do and they are incapable of embarrassment.

            1. Yes, seriously. You are obviously ignorant of what it takes to embarrass politicians.

              Claim: Saddam and Al Qaeda are building WMD to attack us.

              News: We built chemical weapons for Saddam prior to 1991 and nothing else has been found.

              Politicians hate that.

              1. Yes, seriously. You are obviously ignorant of what it takes to embarrass politicians.

                You think the assholes running for office to fight the war on women are capable of embarassment? Seriously?

              2. Bullshit. “WE” never “built chemical weapons for Saddam” at any time.

        4. “And why the hell didn’t the military and administration hype every old gas shell that they found to defend against the claim that Bush lied?”

          The military kept it quiet because they were ordered to. The administration kept it quiet because we were, at that time, touting sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The Iraq CW finds proved that sanctions are ineffective.

    5. “Seriously, even if the pentagon covered it up, and why would they given the attacks on Bush and the intelligence agencies, could they have kept word from leaking out?”

      If I remember correctly (and I do), there were hundreds of soldiers returning from Iraq reporting that we had in fact found metric fuck-tons of CW. They were called liars.

  12. Soldiers who were aware of the discoveries were ordered to keep quiet about them, and even to mislead Congress about what they knew. “‘Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,” retired Army Major Jarrod Lampier tells the Times. Lampier was on site when the biggest chemical weapons dump, containing 2,400 warheads, was found.

    Why have we not already charged Lampier with perjury, taken away his pension and started an investigation of who gave him that unlawful order?

    When I was in the service (late 80’s) it was a major point of instruction that we reported to civilians. No lying to Congress.

    This is another fake scandal that Congress should be investigating whole hog. If they don’t, maybe we could just close shop there at Capitol Hill and save some money. Let the country just be run explicitly at the whim of the President, military and the bureaucrats.

    1. If they don’t, maybe we could just close shop there at Capitol Hill and save some money.

      You mean, “Shut down the Government”?

    2. When I was in the service (late 80’s) it was a major point of instruction that we reported to civilians. No lying to Congress.

      Like Oliver North. yeah.

      1. But he was actually prosecuted. Granted he got off because Congress gave him immunity for his testimony, but he was prosecuted.

        This major admits openly that he lied to Congress and nothing is happening. That needs to stop.

        1. You say it was a major point of instruction. I remember millions bragging about how he had lied to Congress as a matter of pride.

          1. It’s possible for a course of action to be both a point of pride and also a serious crime.

    3. Well, if he’s telling the truth he might qualify for some kind of whistleblower protection. Any prosecution against him would be in response to his actions.

      The people who should be prosecuted are the ones who ordered him to lie.

      Assuming he’s telling the truth now, of course.

  13. What the Times article glosses over is that these weapons fell into the categories of:

    1. Unexploded ordinance
    2. Disabled ordinance that still contained active chemicals

    When a third-world country is instructed by UN resolution and a cease-fire agreement with a stronger power to destroy or disable their chemical weapons and they do it, you really don’t want to stomp around in the dump where they throw the shells after they remove the firing pins.

    When two third-world countries fight a decade-long war where one side repeatedly uses chemical weapons, you don’t want to go around digging up unexploded shells.

    1. This.

      We demanded Saddam destroy his chemical weapons after the 1991 Gulf War.
      And he did it.

      And then we wouldn’t accept “yes” for an answer.
      We wanted a pretext to (a) keep the sanctions in place to “contain” him and later (b) invade and depose him.

      1. No we didn’t. Sadaam repeatedly stonewalled and lied about his program. He wanted the world -namely Iran- to believe he still had these weapons. It’s not our fault it worked.

        1. The UN inspectors were telling us that Iraq had nothing of significance left, regardless of whether he was stonewalling or not.

          Nevermind that he dumped thousands of pages of documents about the program to the US months before the invasion, which I doubt the US even bothered to read.

          My bet is that the real reason Saddam wasn’t in compliance because many records had been lost, so he just gave us a giant stack of everything they could find and said “you sort it out”.

          And then we were like “There’s gaps in this! We demand you fill them in!” Which of course, we probably knew was impossible.

          It’s just blatantly obvious that any objective observer would have known that Saddam had very little to zero left of his chemical weapons. The fact that all we found was old rusting shells in munitions dumps backs that fact up.

        2. Haw many times on shows like 60 minutes have we seen how utterly screwed up the US military stockpiles are yet we expected Iraq to account for every shell.

    2. You keep mentioning some nonsense about “firing pins”, and removing them from what are basically metallic water-balloons. So, I was just wondering what experience you have with UXO of any kind, and I’m fairly certain the answer is “zero”.

      There’s only two ways to “destroy” chemical weapons: Incineration and neutralization. Burying them in the desert doesn’t count. “Disabling” them was never part of the deal, because they can be easily re-enabled.

  14. It has been known that there were large numbers of chemical weapons shells found in Iraq. Compared to the millions of shells North Korea had 5,000 is not a lot. It is however still a lot of gas. It’s enough to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

    The truth about the Iraqi weapons program has been known for a long while. Saddam took a large part of his stockpile and transferred it to Syria shortly before the war, keeping several thousand shells in reserve. These shells were never used because the Iraqi military completely fell apart when the US invaded and no one was going to sign their own death warrant by using chemical weapons in a losing cause.

    Saddam had stopped making chemical weapons. He did this in hopes of getting the UN off his back. What he did not do however was destroy his capacity to make them. Saddam still had all of the scientists and all of the facilities and know how to make chemical weapons. He just wasn’t producing them because he already had enough to keep his people in line and he wanted to get the UN off his back. Once the UN did get off his back, he could have easily restarted his program had chosen to. Since he took great pains to retain the ability to do this, it is a reasonable assumption that is exactly what he would have done, though we will never know.

    Those are the facts. Everything else is just people playing semantics to further their preferred narrative.

    1. Saddam still had all of the scientists and all of the facilities and know how to make chemical weapons.

      You don’t need “scientists” and “facilities” and “know how” to produce chemical weapons.

      Anyone with a high school education, the internet, and the contents of a pool cleaning supplies store can produce a chemical weapon.

      1. That is not true. If you want to make a batch of crude shit in your basement, that is all that is neccessary. If you want to make the really deadly stuff that goes into military ordinance, you need facilities and know how.

        There is a big difference between what a nation like North Korea has and what say those nuts in Japan who tried the gas the subway can make.

        You have to remember how toxic real military chemical weapons are. They are not just crude mustard gas. They are unbelievably evil nerve agents and such that can kill you if a single drop gets on your skin.

        1. The Japanese cult guys hired chemists to make their sarin gas. Sarin is pretty bad stuff. Like one drop on your skin can kill you.

          Hydrogen cyanide is another deadly gas that is easy to make. It is what the Nazis used in the gas chambers. The raw material came from insecticide.

          And of course, many people have accidentally killed themselves by mixing ammonia and bleach.

          I’m with fluffy on this one. Any group that could make a regular bomb would have no problem making poison gas. Although the military has much better ways of delivering the gas.

          1. This is BS. You need MASSIVE facilities to make large amounts of chemical weapons and then package them in munitions.

        2. If you can make bug spray, you can make nerve agents. Many bug sprays are simply nerve agents that interfere with a neurotransmitter pathway we (mammals) don’t use. The chemistry to make sarin, or any other simple fluorinated organophosphate, is not particularly difficult. Will those Iraqi homemade munitions be as robust and safe for the troops to use as say, a Bigeye bomb filled with binary VX? No, but they’ll still be usable. (Unlike their homemade anti-tank shells)

          The big specter that Colin Powell, et al, used to justify the invasion was nukes. Mushroom clouds. Which, despite evidence from people like Scott Ritter and his ‘trucks carrying off calutrons’, spectacularly failed to appear. Moreover, even if Saddam had nukes, would we have invaded, and put him in a position where he was going to die regardless, so he might as well take some of us to Hell with him?

          What I don’t get is, we had an operating chemical weapons incinerator getting rid of all of our crap. Why not do the same with these stockpiles? Or were they so toxic and jacked-up that moving them stood a really good chance of having them go off in transit?

      2. McGrubber – producing a toxic chemical agent is a little different than mass producing a chemical weapon which must be stable, transportable, deployable, and not kill your own guys in the process.

        1. I don’t think Saddam was particularly worried about killing his own guys.

      3. “You don’t need “scientists” and “facilities” and “know how” to produce chemical weapons. Anyone with a high school education, the internet, and the contents of a pool cleaning supplies store can produce a chemical weapon.”

        By that logic you don’t need factories, suppliers and an R&D staff to build cars. Any component mechanic can build them in their garage.

        On the other hand, if you want to make reliable, mass produced cars at a high rate of production, most businesses choose to use factories.

        1. That is not my point.

          My point is that if the standard we’re going to use to determine if a country has a chemical weapons programme that requires us to invade and destroy them is “facilities” and “know how”, then we need to invade any country with a Wal-Mart.

          John is parroting the war hawk position, which essentially sets up a non-falsifiable test that will always justify invasion in every circumstance.

          “We demand that you eliminate your chemical weapons capability!”

          “Oh shit, OK! We just did that!”

          “No you didn’t! You still have people who can read the internet! And that one guy over there has a swimming pool! YOU DEFIED OUR RESOLUTIONS! The invasion starts tomorrow!”

          1. I think this explains why this was kept secret.

            Because, even though it showed that Iraq still had chemical weapons, it also showed that Saddam was telling the truth when he said that he had disposed of them. And the UN weapons inspectors and everyone else who said that Iraq no longer had chemical weapons.

            We invaded even though Saddam Hussein had done everything we requested of him.

            1. Kinda like the Third Punic War…

          2. He said facilities and scientists, you’ve translated scientists to “anyone who can read the internet” and dropped facilities to make your point. A bit dishonest.

            1. Please define what a “scientist” and a “facility” are per your understanding.

        2. Not exactly. Meth heads in dumpy garages have created an entire industry using Drano and a few other easily obtained chemicals. Making a car is not the same as making a chemical weapon.

          The meth industry – another example of good ole American know how.

      4. “You don’t need “scientists” and “facilities” and “know how” to produce chemical weapons.”

        You do if you want to live through it. We’re not talking pool chemicals and phosgene/clorine gas here, we’re talking military-grade nerve agents. Lethal doses are measured in nanograms per kilogram. A droplet literally the size of a grain of sand is fatal.

    2. All this was discovered right after the invasion, all people had to do is go online and read the reports. They even had a short summary online for people to read. How many people bothered reading it?

      The media could have chosen to report on the story accurately, but instead chose to go with the idiotic “Bush lied” narrative instead.

      1. Bush did lie.

        1. So you want to go with the “Bush the evil genius” story line? That even though the intelligence agencies of the UN, Great Britain, Russia, Israel, France, Germany and the CIA all believed Saddam had large amounts of WMD, Bush somehow knew they were all wrong. So he decided to trick 48 other countries into joining us in a war he knew would soon be exposed as misguided when the stockpiles didn’t turn up. Really?

  15. Even if Saddam had had nuclear weapons and an alliance with Al Qaida, that still would not have justified an invasion.

    Pakistan has nuclear weapons and ties to terrorist groups and we allied with them. Iran is close to getting nuclear weapons and also has ties to terrorist groups and the US is negotiating with them.

    I can’t think of way to square an invasion & occupation of another country with libertarian principles. Punitive expedition, sure, but not an invasion.

    1. Punitive expedition?

      1. I would not have agreed with you in 2003. I do now.

        1. Dang it. That was in reply to this:

          Even if Saddam had had nuclear weapons and an alliance with Al Qaida, that still would not have justified an invasion.

      2. A Blazing Saddles number 6- go in, blow some stuff up, kill some people, and tell them why before you leave.

        Like this:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B….._Abyssinia

        1. Makes sense to me. Better then this continuing police action bullshit we’re doing now. Right now we have all the costs, and troubles of colonialism without any of the benefits.

          I can’t stand current U.S. foreign policy, we either need to go full imperialist, or non-interventionist, but this half-assed world police bullshit has to stop. It costs us blood, treasure, and a great deal of goodwill, and we don’t even get any land or tribute for it. Makes no sense at all.

          Has any other nation in history been this stupid?

          1. Basically all of them.

        2. Which we should’ve done in Afghanistan.

    2. I reluctantly agree. Either smash-and-leave, or invade-and-occupy.

      Smash-and-occupy and invade-and-leave aren’t workable combinations.

  16. I don’t think anybody on the actual/potential receiving end of these weapons really cares whether or not they came from an active WMD program. The stuff’s still lethal one way or the other.

    It was foolish of Bush and Powell to draw such a distinction between active and old weapons programs in the first place, just to shore up their case against Saddam. Why get cute and frame somebody who’s guilty? It never works. Didn’t any of them watch the OJ trial?

    1. As I recall, the old/new distinction was made by the UN inspectors. Apparently on the basis that it would be ungentlemanly for a dictator to use a rusty chemical warhead.

    2. Sarin gas from the ’80s wouldn’t have been toxic at that point. It’s no longer a weapon of mass destruction if it can’t cause mass destruction.

      1. Bullshit.

        Sarin, exactly because it has a short “shelf life”, is almost always delivered by so-called “binary weapons” wherein the chemical precursors are not mixed until the instant of delivery. Iraq also produced Tabun and VX nerve agents, with VX being a very persistent toxin.

        Umatilla Army Depot had chemical weapons stockpiled that dated as far back as 1919. They were still quite suitable as WMDs, and they were just as deadly as the day they were made.

  17. Bush never claimed there was an “active WMD program” in Iraq. This is another falsehood pushed by the NYT in a desperate attempt to maintain the false narrative it’s been spewing for the past decade.

    The war was a colossal mistake, but that doesn’t make the NYT any less of a revisionist shitrag.

    More on this at Ace of Spades: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/352462.php

    1. Exactly. Bush never made that distinction. It’s a retcon.

    2. My recollection is that the line was more “Saddam has WMDs, has used them in the past, and has ties to terrorist groups that we can’t risk getting their hands on this stuff.”

      I honestly don’t recall much if anything about “Saddam has an active WMD production industry that is cranking this stuff out right now.”

      But, its been awhile. Perhaps some links on how the real casus belli was “active production”, and not merely “possession”?

      1. I actually thought possession, capacity to produce and willingness to use or provide were all reasons for the military action but military action wasn’t predicated on ALL, any one was sufficient (in their logic).

      2. Well, the thing was we had had a program in place since the first Gulf War demanding that Saddam dispose of these weapons, with UN inspectors in place to verify that. With which iraq more or less cooperated. But we kept the sanctions in place for years using this claim they weren’t cooperating and they still had these weapons.

        But by 2003 even the UN weapons inspectors were saying “look, we checked everything and he’s provided access to all these sites and he’s complied with all the UN demands.”

        We made some absurd demand that iraq provide us with all these documents showing they complied, and they did it, and we still wanted to invade.

        So when it came down to it at the end it was like “Still lying! Blargh!!!! War!!” There wasn’t really a rational argument for why we should invade even though Saddam basically was complying with all our demands.

        1. Hazel….completely false. Right up until the invasion the UN weapons inspector was saying they were stonewalling him in various ways. They kept claiming they had destroyed things, then when Glick would try to see a certain facility they would make him wait a week, and when he arrived it was empty and clean. This was reported over and over.

          I think in retrospect they never could make a proper weapons delivery system. But, Saddam wanted everyone to think he was the toughest guy in the world and wouldn’t let on he didn’t have the big guns.

          Either that or his frightened cronies never told him they couldn’t make the chemicals work.

          But, the whole world believed he had chemical weapons, including the UN.

          1. False. UN weapons inspectors right up until the invasion were saying that Iraq was complying and were opposed to the invasion.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Ritter

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Blix

            1. I wonder if Blix, footnote 7, will be corrected.

          2. The big danger wasn’t military WMDs. It was those agents in the hands of terrorists. That danger has now heightened with the rise of ISIS in Iraq. But… that doesn’t mean we should rush in there again.

    3. You are completely full of shit.

      Bush 2002 –

      “Evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his ‘nuclear mujahedeen’ — his nuclear holy warriors…. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.”

      Cheney 2002 –

      “we do know, with absolute certainty, that he (Saddam) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon”

      Rumsfeld 2002 –

      “Saddam has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, sarin, and mustard gas.

      1. Don’t forget these:

        “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.” President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

        “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

        Letter to President Clinton, signed by: Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

        “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

      2. Or these:

        “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

        “There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” Letter to President Bush, Signed by: Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

        “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

  18. Is Reason now in bed with the NY Times?

    1. That is my read – a number of disturbing/misleading Reason headlines this week…

  19. The Times says flatly that “the discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.”

    Well, if the Times said it….

    1. As if anything that could possibly occur would cause them to say ‘Well, it turns out George was right all along!’

    2. But now, because he inherited this problem, it is OK for Obama to send troops to fix it.

  20. How convenient that the story surfaces now, as the government faces flagging support for its latest military adventure. All we need now is a news story about ISIS obtaining and using some of these weapons against an orphanage or a convent. Cue flag waving throngs and Team America World Police theme.

    1. Yeah, I find the timing of this curious as well. But at least the Times was able to throw in the utterly ridiculous declarative statement that the presence of this potential current “threat” in no way was a potential threat when a guy they didn’t like was in office and wanted to authorize military force.

      1. Any Sarin or Mustard gas Saddam had back then was useless and it’s equally useless now. That stuff doesn’t have a long shelf life. And there never were and aren’t any nukes.

        1. No, it was not useless. Ask the Americans who were poisoned by it. Furthermore, Saddam had a previously unknown (to be in his possession) binary Sarin system, where the reagents aren’t mixed until needed, and thus they last a lot longer. One of the attacks that harmed Americans involved binary Sarin.

          People tend to believe that because a weapons stockpile is not very good for military use, that it is useless for terror use. That is most assuredly not true. The use cases are very different.

    2. All we need now is a news story about ISIS obtaining and using some of these weapons against an orphanage or a convent.

      It’s funny you say that. I’ve heard discussions that ISIS’s acts almost seem calculated to outrage as many Westerners as possible. Like that was their purpose for doing them. The thing is, I can’t see how inciting the U.S. enough to send troops and bombs back to Iraq helps either ISIS’s cause, or their sponsors in the Gulf.

      1. I can’t see how inciting the U.S. enough to send troops and bombs back to Iraq helps either ISIS’s cause, or their sponsors in the Gulf.

        Well, there’s always “Radical Islam only exists because the US won’t leave them alone”. Recall that many claim that US intervention in the Mid-East is the lifeblood of radical Islamists.

        1. Many claim vaccines cause autism too.

      2. I actually think they DO want US forces on the ground because they want to be able to directly strike at the Great Satan. I often think that when you’re part of a death cult rational explanation doesn’t really apply but then I remember that an outright military victory isn’t necessary. They want a political one.

        1. I actually think they DO want US forces on the ground because they want to be able to directly strike at the Great Satan.

          Shit, is air travel to Central America, then crossing our border all that hard? With the amount of money they seem to have backing them? I mean, they might actually do some damage if they start Malvo/Muhammading things here, as opposed to being live targets in the latest USAF BOMBEX. Of course then, the U.S. might actually get Biblical in that part of the world, instead of merely acting as cullers of SW Asia’s excess, politically agitated, N+1th male children.

          It just seemed strange, like they were daring us to come back and start trying to kill them. I can’t think of why else they’d video themselves slaughtering women and children with knives. Guess your reasons for their doing so are as good as any.

          1. I don’t understand why – operationally – they don’t do the things you describe either. If a ten year old from Guatemala can make it I don’t know why a dedicated muji couldn’t. I think MM is right that a foreign military presence in dar al Islam serves as a recruiting tool so they can – in their minds – spread into dar al Harb. The caliphate starts at home, I suppose…

            1. I know this sounds crazy, but I think the jihadis don’t do it because they are exercising restraint (yeah it does sound crazy). Now; these assholes love to blow things up, and that’s a fact, but you’ll notice they never poison reservoirs, set forest fires, and infect croplands with common diseases. And since these freaks are suicide fanatics, how frigging easy would it be to willingly infect themselves with ebola and just come over here. And yet they don’t do that. I think Catatafish is right. They are after a political victory, not something that will make the US go completely Hiroshima on them.

      3. Well, on the one hand we have ISIS claiming publicly that they want to fight the US military, so we might take their actions at face value. US military presence in the Middle East has been a rallying call for jihadists for decades.

        On the other hand, we know that a number of moneyed interests have funneled money and arms to ISIS, including the US government when ISIS was exclusively fighting the Assad regime. So we can’t be sure who these people answer to or what the motivations behind their statements and actions might truly be.

        Regardless, I find the cover story provided for this whole conflict and the US reaction to be quite unbelievable. Surreal, actually. The public- throughout history – is routinely manipulated by government to support its foreign policy. I see no reason to doubt that we are being manipulated now.

      4. Their goal is to unite the Islamic world behind their leader. That was Saddam’s goal, the Ayatollah’s goal. All of them want that.

        To do that they have to poke the beast to the point where the beast stirs and lashes out at them. Then, all the low info Iraqis/Syrians etc. think ‘Wow, these guys really are tough. They stood up to the US. I’ll join them.’

        They don’t want the US to actually fight them all out because deep inside they know they wouldn’t last a week. But, they do want the US to bomb them and make a presence and kill a few innocents. If they can get a mosque bombed, all the better.

        All that plays out well in Al Jazeera.

        1. That was not Saddam’s goal. He had no goal other than get rich.

  21. it doesn’t matter when they are made they can still be used I have a 70 year old rifle at home and it works just fine.

    1. But can they be used? I don’t know, but a lot of people above seem to be saying that the weapons were disabled or destroyed and what was found was just very dangerous and toxic refuse.

    2. Sarin and mustard don’t have a long shelf life. They could be used as an IED (which they have been) but not as a WMD.

  22. Are people really trying to argue here that Bush did indeed have his “White Whale” WMD’s, but just decided not to say anything about it? Just when I thought I’ve lost all faith in human intelligence and critical thinking, I’m yet again amazed.

    1. The Bush admin did say quite a lot about it. The thing was, papers like the NYT kept countering that the chemical weapons we did find didn’t count, because Saddam had lost the receipts or forgot to renew his license agreement or something. Now that the formerly-old-and-harmless chemical weapons are likely to embarrass their team, so the NYT has decided we now need to know some of what they’ve known all along.

      1. This. The story itself became a dead letter, and only reported by right wing rags like Newsmax. But the Bush admin did mention them and it was reported. The NYT calling this a secret is full of shit.

        The reality is the mainstream press was dismissive of all finds.

        Instead of arguing that the American people were stupid to think ‘WMD’s’ were a legitimate reason for a massive ground war (which Democrats and liberals fully supported), they had to discredit the notion that there were weapons programs at all.

        The truth is:
        1. Saddam wanted the world and his own people to think he had them
        2. He did still have stockpiles
        3. His program actually could have been re-started easily enough
        4. It would have been very easy to remove the weapons before the invasion and there is circumstancial evidence it did happen

        The reality is, none of this justified a war with Iraq. Iraq was not a threat regardless of the WMD’s, but the liberal media could not print that story after they went gung-ho for the war while buying in on that narrative.

        1. Beyond that, Bush enumerated, and Congress voted on a number of reasons for war (casus belli) that had nothing to do with WMD. The only reason we hear so much about WMD’s is that they were the most newsworthy of the reasons.

          Also, Saddam ran a successful disinformation campaign to make the world think he really did have WMDs – which nicely explains why he kept playing games with inspectors. During his interrogation, he bragged that he did this in order to keep Iran from attacking Iraq.

          Our wonderful news media was so eager to hang Bush out to dry that this latter fact was barely mentioned. And yet, Saddam’s own division commanders (some of whom were in touch with their US counterparts before the start of hostilities) believed that the Army had chemical weapons, even though their own divisions did not.

  23. They kept it secret because it proved that Saddam had been telling the truth when he claimed he had disposed of his chemical weapons stockpiles. As the UN weapons inspectors said he had.

    The US weapons inspection program worked. Iraq did everything it was supposed to do, but we still wanted to invade so we trumped up a bunch of bullshit about how he was lying and still had active programs or usable stockpiles.

    Finding a bunch of rusting leaking shells wouldn’t prove anything but that we didn’t have to invade because Saddam already did what we demanded he do.

    1. That’s a convenient view, but one that doesn’t match Saddam’s very statements and actions leading up to that point.

      1. Really? As I recall, Saddam was saying “Look! I’ve complied with all your demands! I don’t have chemical weapons anymore! What more do you want from me?’

        1. Hazel…you’re a dolt. You remember what you want to. Saddam was saying things such as you wrote, then stonewalling inspectors from the UN and not letting them inspect various facilities. Of course he is going to deny having them. And, of course he was lying, because he always lied.

          1. Saddam was saying things such as you wrote, then stonewalling inspectors from the UN and not letting them inspect various facilities.

            That’s odd considering even the UN inspectors were saying Saddam was complying at the end.

            WE were the ones saying he wasn’t complying.
            He was dumping documents to us left and right, but WE were saying it wasn’t good enough.

            1. No, he was stonewalling inspectors. You are substituting real history with BS. Also, pretty sure Sadaam wasn’t supposed to have the tons of yellowcake he did have.

              1. Holy shit, the yellowcake had already been secured by the UN.

                1. The yellow cake was sitting in Iraq, in an Iraqi facility, with nothing more than a seal on the door. If you call that “secured by the UN”, you’re an idiot.

              2. Please. Both Hans Blix and Scott Ritter said the US was full of shit and Iraq has little to nothing left by the time of the invasion.

                The US was claiming that Iraq was stonewalling the UN. The actual UN inspectors were telling a different story.

                1. Didn’t we also demand that he destroy all his Scud missiles, and he assured us that he had done so?

        2. I guessed you missed the part where Saddam told his interrogators that he intentionally led the world to believe he had WMD’s, because he feared Iran.

          That disinformation campaign is what fooled the world, and it also fooled many of his own generals. It also explains why he claimed to comply with inspectors, but kept impeding them in a crazy game right up to the war.

    2. “The US weapons inspection program worked”

      Bullshit. You may want to read up on “Operation Desert Fox”.

  24. The Times says flatly that “the discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.”

    Says the New York Times. The last bunch I’d want running the country’s foreign policy.

  25. They had the make and model wrong of the chemical weapons Saddam claimed to have. Because he did claim to have them. Therefore, Bush is wrong once again.

    See, it isn’t Obama’s fault. It is George’s.

    1. Actually, it’s Clinton’s fault. He signed the Iraq Liberation Resolution which called for regime change. Bush just acted on it.

  26. This doesn’t make any sense. Regardless of who manufactured them, “Saddam Hussein was in possession of Chemical weapons (Weapons of Mass Destruction.)!” Why would Bush hide that fact??!! It is the single biggest asterisk in his Legacy! The only thing it proves to me is, They are ALL Liars in Washinton, and “We the People” are screwed!

    1. The sarin and mustard were unusable as they had degraded too much. Therefore these items were not capable of “mass destruction.”

      1. Repeating the same thing every other comment doesn’t make it actually true.

  27. Help me understand something.

    Wy is the NYT saying this? Can somebody show me how this helps them on their agenda? Is this a ProBama piece on why we should go to war with ISIS? Is it something that resembles jounalistic honesty from the NYT? (No, I couldn’t read that sentance with a straight face, either.) Is it to blame Bush for the current disaster in Iraq?

    Learn me good. Why would the Great High Powers at the NYT allow something that looks like it might support Bush so much so that they have to break the fourth wall and not even PRETEND to be unbiased and declare “THIS STILL MAKES BOOSH WRONG!!!!11!11eleven!”

    1. It’s justification for going to war against ISIS. If we don’t stop them, they may get the weapons that remain and we didn’t find (which probably don’t exist and aren’t even on the radar of ISIS). So, now it is an issue because Bush screwed up and the country is a mess.

      It’s the perfect line of bullshit. The Dems are basically pushing the same narrative Bush used to justify Iraq 2.

    2. My guess: They are prepping the ground for Hillary Clinton, Hawk.

      1. Well Hazel, if Madame Secretary‘s next story line involves something to the effect of ‘previous President’s f-up leads to foreign policy mess that M. Secretary cleans up dramatically’, I’ll really think you’re on to something. My thought is that the NYT is just trying to excuse whatever level of violence O thinks is necessary to distract the U.S. from the impending fall of Saigon the Green Zone is about to undergo.

      2. And the narrative will shift from “Bush Lied, People Died!” to “See? Hillary said there were WMDs, and there were! Hillary was right all along!” WYMMINZ!

  28. Whether Iraq had WMD’s or not is irrelevant to whether we should have invaded an entire country. It always was, but the NYT and Dems fully supported the war on that narrative and thus had to discredit it. It leads to these really weird and arbitrary distinctions on Saddam’s weapons programs and what the intelligence said on WMD’s. The truth is, it didn’t matter. He wasn’t giving them to jihadists to attack us. That was the lie and massive exaggeration.

    On the issue of ISIS motivations – those scum do not want to fight us despite their rhetoric. These are the same guys who basically hid from American troops in the final few years of the occupation because they were defeated. They would attack softer Iraqi targets, but they basically left American forces alone outside the occasional IED or RKG-3 attack for propaganda purposes. These assholes would film IED’s going off 20 feet from the road and act as if they were killing Americans. They would then broadcast it for recruiting purposes. Sound familiar?

    When American forces pulled out of Iraq, they had a chance to attack convoys directly. It was a golden opportunity to martry oneself. ISI was part of that. They cowered and let all American forces withdraw without launching any attacks. They know full well that American forces won’t be returning for a ground war, and they can weather the air campaign and use it as a massive propaganda tool to show their legitimacy in resisting the great satan.

    1. It was not a lie that Saddam might give them to terrorists, and there was no claim that he actually gave them to terrorists.

      Rather, there was a clear pattern of Sadddam supporting terrorists. A high ranking Al Qaeda operative (Zarqawi) was already in Iraq at the time of the invasion, with Saddam’s knowledge, and the force he led subsequently killed thousands of America. Saddam had previous been involved with Arab terrorists including the 1993 WTC attack. It was prudent to believe he would be again.

      That doesn’t mean the war was the right thing to do, but it does mean that the big lie (that Bush lied us into Iraq) is still and always was a big lie.

  29. Regardless of the pros and cons of invading in the first place, this is a really bizarre spin on this revelation.

    We didn’t find WMDs = “There were no WMDs. Bush lied, people died.”

    We found WMDs = “Bush wasn’t looking for old WMDs. He said there were newer ones. Therefore, Bush still lied. Finding these ones and not announcing it was another colossal failure.”

    1. yes, and Suderman fails to reference one of the key statements from the article “…These encounters carry worrisome implications now that the Islamic State, a Qaeda splinter group, controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.”

      Because ‘old’ chem weapons aren’t dangerous I guess.

      1. They’re actually not really that dangerous. Sarin and Mustard don’t store well. Direct exposure could still be somewhat toxic but not “mass destruction” level of danger.

        1. Sarin, like most non-persistent agents, is sensitive to environmental degradation, but I thought mustard was very long lived. Aren’t there cases of Belgian and French farmers getting jacked up still by WWI mustard munitions?

        2. You keep saying this as if you think you know what you’re talking about. You don’t. Umatilla Army Depot had chemical weapons dating as far back as 1919, and they were only slightly less deadly than the day they were produced.

        3. Some of Saddam’s Sarin was in a binary form, which is much more stable. This was not discovered until after the invasion, btw, and in at least one instance, a binary Sarin round resulted in the poisoning of Americans. The latter is in the NYT article, although their brilliant reporters didn’t put together this use of a binary round with the fact that Saddam had never declared them and was not believed to have them.

  30. Hey Mr S, read the morning links comments much?

  31. It is pretty clear that there was no alternative to removing Sadaam. He had to go. The situation was untenable and the creation of Kurdistan was a massive boon to the west. The mistake was staying after America won. No nation-building!

    1. It’s almost like we didn’t expect to win. There was a “what do we do now” attitude. Not so sure about the “no alternative” bit. It’s hard to imagine things going much worse there over the last 11 years. We lost: thousands of troops, billions of dollars, a check on Iran, and any kind of good-will that came from removing the Taliban. Hard to believe Obama would have come to power as well, even though Dems were just as capable of fucking that area up.

  32. Anyone else read Bush’s autobiography Decision Points? I thought the weakest chapter in the book is where he tries to explain and justify the decision to invade Iraq. Still can’t figure this one out.

  33. “Just Not the Ones the Bush Administration Claimed Were There”

    That’s right. You don’t want to concede that you ignored the reality of chemical weapons constantly being found in Iraq was bullshit. Much better to claim truthiness, rather than truth, which would involve your confronting your Bush Derangement Syndrome. Your headline: “Bush was right, but still wrong because I can’t ever consider a world in which Bush was right about anything”.

  34. Bush was more than willing to be labeled a liar than to reveal that we were the source of WMDs?

  35. The Bush Administration didn’t justify the war on the grounds that Saddam had a huge number of WMDs. It was justified on many reasons (such as the daily shooting at our aircraft, the attempted assassination of George H W Bush, etc). One reason, that got the most publicity, was WMDs. But the WMD threat was characterized twofold: that Saddam would reconstitute his WMD program when sanctions failed (which was imminent), and that the presence of WMD’s in Iraq constituted a *terrorist* threat, which they most certainly did. Kay, the chief inspector after the invasion, stated that the situation he found on the ground was more alarming than he had expected – that the controls on terrorist amounts of weapons were non-existent, that the experts had been underpaid and undersupervised and were susceptible to bribery by terrorists, and that the weapons were not properly contained or tracked.

  36. How well-maintained were these pre-1991 era chemical weapons? The fact that soldiers were injured when they discovered the weapons seems to indicate the weapons were generally in a state of deterioration and not deployable. The article itself states that the facilities were “long-abandoned” and the weapons were “filthy, rusty or corroded [and] Most could not have been used as designed”. Generally, this does not support the Bush Administration’s theory that Saddam was maintaining a dangerous cache of chemical weapons in 2003.

    Also, this article introduces more questions: if the West helped to build these facilities and they had seemingly not moved between 1991 and 2003, (a) why weren’t they immediately dismantled following the 1991 war?; (b) why weren’t they destroyed before the invasion in the regular airstrikes on the country under Clinton and Bush II?; and (b) why weren’t they immediately secured following the 2003 invasion? The United States should have known where they were, after all.

    1. “Generally, this does not support the Bush Administration’s theory that Saddam was maintaining a dangerous cache of chemical weapons in 2003.”

      That was not “the Bush Administration’s theory”, it was the Clinton Administration’s theory. The Clinton Administration was so certain that Iraq was in violation that they launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998, and Dems continued to insist that Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs up until 2003.

  37. Whew! What a relief to know that the WMD are old. I would much rather people die from old WMD than new.

  38. “Others pointed to another embarrassment. In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies”.
    Hmmm. Methylphosphonyl difluoride or “DF” production in the United States was halted in 1990 and DESTRUCTION OF STOCKS COMMENCED IN 1997 AND ENDED IN 2006! So FUCK YOU ON YOUR SHORT SHELF LIFE BULLSHIT! WE DESIGNED THEIR MUNITIONS!

  39. The fact is that the Liberal Establishment does not understand War (because their understanding of history is completely warped by their religion), and thus does not understand the uses of military force.

    1. The fact is that the neocon warmongers don’t understand that there are places so fucked-up already that you need to stay out unless they truly are a threat which Iraq was not.

  40. I think we can be confident that — if we FOUND 5,000 chemical weapons in Iraq, we missed quite a few more. I suspect ISIS will perform a more diligent search for such treasures.

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