Wednesday, October 15, 2014


"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."

So sue me, I'm going to keep hammering this because I keep hearing and reading the same idiot talking points.
In the news recently?  Soldiers suffering from aftereffects of Iraq war.  And what were those aftereffects?  I'll let C.J. Chivers at the New York Times explain:
It was August 2008 near Taji, Iraq. They had just exploded a stack of old Iraqi artillery shells buried beside a murky lake. The blast, part of an effort to destroy munitions that could be used in makeshift bombs, uncovered more shells.

Two technicians assigned to dispose of munitions stepped into the hole. Lake water seeped in. One of them, Specialist Andrew T. Goldman, noticed a pungent odor, something, he said, he had never smelled before.

He lifted a shell. Oily paste oozed from a crack. “That doesn’t look like pond water,” said his team leader, Staff Sgt. Eric J. Duling.

The specialist swabbed the shell with chemical detection paper. It turned red — indicating sulfur mustard, the chemical warfare agent designed to burn a victim’s airway, skin and eyes.

All three men recall an awkward pause. Then Sergeant Duling gave an order: “Get the hell out.”
In fact this happened several times over the years, soldiers encountering those WMD that didn't exist, the ones Saddam Hussein never had and the inspectors couldn't find.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The stockpiles that Iraq didn't have, those WMD that we were told smugly and repeatedly were lied about... kept being found.  The fact is, Iraq did have WMD, was working toward a nuclear weapons program, and did possess stockpiles of banned weapons.
When some was found and reported on, the response was as painfully predictable as it was often ignorant: "those are old and decayed, they aren't usable," or "that's a lie, they got it wrong, its fake."  When countries in the coalition said "hey we found chemical warheads buried" the talking points spun into motion.  When tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger was discovered, the left ignored and buried the story - after all, Joe Wilson said it didn't happen.  He asked the Niger government and they pinky swore they never sold any to Iraq.
But if these weapons were so degraded and old, why is the State Department now - ten years later - worried that IS will find and use them?  Its almost as if they aren't so old and decayed, as if they were being produced and hidden, as the Bush administration and every intelligence operation on the planet said was happening.
And the stories kept coming out over the years.  UK Experts to help Iraq destroy chemical weaponsIS uncovers stockpiles of WMD.  Way back in 2006, then-Senator Santorum pointed out the discovery of five hundred chemical warhead shells which was ignored by most of the press.  Sarin Gas Shells found by the dozen, as reported by Charles Deulfer.  Now IS is using those nonexistent chemical weapons against Iraqi security forces.  Exposure to mustard gas was reported, vaguely, in the media as far back as 2004, but they tried really hard to avoid saying so.
Now the left is crying "no, this isn't the same, these are different WMD!"  They point out that these are quite old, that they are not from a WMD program in Iraq after 1991's cease fire.
Except the argument was never Iraq has new WMD, just that he has them and they are banned.  That he is not supposed to have any WMD, which is any amount more than 1.  He had these hidden away all over the place, stockpiled, for later use.
And that's not even getting into the WMD that Syria is using on its own people that came from Iraq.  The bottom line is that the left's parrot squawking about "Bush lied!" is utterly, demonstrably, and hilariously false, and always was.
And I'll keep pointing this out until the lies about it stop.
*UPDATE: Eric asks a good question in the comments; why did President Bush and his administration not bring these to light and why did they keep saying there weren't any WMD in Iraq?
One reason certainly is the same thing the CIA Duelfer report noted (and everyone ignored): they found WMD, but not the vigorous, active manufacturing they expected, and not in the quantity they were lead to believe.
But another possibility is this, courtesy Eli Lake at the Daily Beast:
Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”
Karl Rove seems to me to be one of those non-ideologue politicians, a guy who is driven not by principle or policy ideas, but power.  Rove wants Republicans to be in charge of government, and everything he did and says is to that end, no matter what those Republicans end up being like.  For him its an "us vs them" thing, not truth vs lies or good vs evil.
So Rove saw revealing the WMD in Iraq as a negative, something that would not help Republicans beat Democrats.  He seems to have believed that bringing this back up would simply remind people of the controversy.  This idea was deeply flawed, and obviously so, but that was his position.


Eric said...

Certainly makes one wonder what President Bush was talking about in this 2008 interview with ABC News:

"The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess. It wasn't just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington DC, during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world, were all looking at the same intelligence."

Christopher R Taylor said...

That's when he knew about these finds, as well. I don't really know what he or his administration had in mind at all with this topic.

But then, he backed down and apologized for saying something absolutely factual about British intelligence in a speech.

Eric said...

I do think his Administration expected, based on the intelligence, to find a lot more than was actually found in terms of newly manufactured WMD's and production facilities, and that is what he was talking about in the quote above.

At any rate, I supported the war at the time but now believe it was foolish to do so, WMD's or no. We should withdraw from the entire region, let it become China and Russia's problem, and focus on maximizing our domestic energy production. There was a time when we had no choice but to be involved in that area if we wanted to keep the lights on over here... but we have the energy capacity now to be self-sufficient, so I say let the entire region burn itself down. It's a tar baby.