WMD's in Iraq

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Where has this story been hiding for the last two years?

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zimzo said:


"Last night, intelligence officials reaffirmed that the shells were old and were not the suspected weapons of mass destruction sought in Iraq after the 2003 invasion."

Rebecca Ryburn said:

The thing that comes to my mind about WMDs in Iraq is the "mushroom cloud" statement by Sec. Rice. The gov't was leading us to think Saddam was making THE bomb. Yes, the chemical WMDs were raised as being hazardous to our troops should the Iraqis use them once we entered the country. But, the fear was of the BIG bomb. Maybe the reason the gov't isn't saying "lookie here, lookie here" is because they don't want to draw attention to the particular accusations they raised pre-war. Yes, they did accuse S of having chemical weapons. He hadn't accounted for their disposal as he promised after Gulf War one. But it wasn't the mustard gas we were most concerned about...it was the nuclear threat that our gov't insisted was looming in Iraq.

Sophrosyne said:

Interesting... why would Santorum roll this out if the WH and these unnamed "intelligence officials" deny that they are, in fact, WMDs?

I didn't realize there were specific WMDs that were "sought in Iraq" and that some WMDs were not of interest...

Sophrosyne said:

Rebecca, just saw your comment after I posted. Does hit at my question... thanks.

Singleton said:

Interesting discussion, but I think the whole WMD debate is irrelevant in view of the line that Iran has taken recently. If Saddam wasn't trying to make the bomb at the point of invasion, he had previously and would likely do so again. North Korea is another example. Rogue regimes that are seeking to undermine the global power structure see weapons of mass destruction as leverage against the West. Taking out Saddam removed one of those regimes, and I worry that we will have to do the same elsewhere in the long run. It's dirty work, but it unfortunately has to be done.

zimzo said:

I see, so it was better to take out a regime that wasn't actually working on nuclear weapons and couldn't have made them for years, if ever, instead of two regimes that actually are working on nuclear weapons, Iran and North Korea. I don't really see your logic.

Singleton said:

America was not alone in thinking that Saddam was working on the bomb, and we have found other WMD's there that we did expect to find as well. Good intelligence agencies all over the world thought that Saddam had renewed his WMD programs, and his refusal to allow for inspections were what brought his downfall. I know it's easy to play monday morning quarterback, but when zimzo invents time travel, we'll head back and warn everyone.

I realize this could well inaugurate the mother of all dueling-authorities link wars, but so be it. If not us, who? If not now, when?

(Guest posters: Your posts MAY take a little longer to show up if they contain actual links, if so just be patient - we need to approve them but it usually doesn't take long. I say MAY because our comment spam filter works in mysterious ways. UPDATE: I think if you simply avoid using the html tag and simply paste in the link, it won't be regarded as spam.]

My biggest reasons for supporting the war are:

A) that Saddam clearly had the means and desire to restart his WMD programs:


Both Duelfer and Kay found Iraq had "a clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses with equipment that was suitable to continuing its prohibited chemical- and biological-weapons [BW] programs," the official said. "They found a prison laboratory where we suspect they tested biological weapons on human subjects."

They found equipment for "uranium-enrichment centrifuges" whose only plausible use was as part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. In all these cases, "Iraqi scientists had been told before the war not to declare their activities to the U.N. inspectors," the official said.

B) the weapons he did have were hidden somewhere, probably Syria, prior to the U.S. attack (apart from the ones we found buried in Iraq):

The search has narrowed down to a section of the Syrian Desert known as Dayr Az-Zawr in Syria’s 600 sq. mile Al Jazirah province, which is wedged between the Turkish and Iraqi borders. The missing weapons systems are thought to be buried somewhere under these desert sands. This area is now probably the most keenly watched area on earth – from its outer periphery. At its eastern edge, US special force units, Predator drones and reconnaissance airplanes and satellites make sure no one steps into this ultra-sensitive patch of desert. Turkish special forces, intelligence and air force units are guarding it from the northwest.


"The short answer to the question of where the WMD Saddam bought from the Russians went was that they went to Syria and Lebanon," former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw told an audience Saturday at a privately sponsored "Intelligence Summit" in Alexandria, Va. (www.intelligencesummit.org).

"They were moved by Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) units out of uniform, that were specifically sent to Iraq to move the weaponry and eradicate any evidence of its existence," he said.

C) and he had close relationships with terrorist groups (apart from al Zarqawi, obviously)


The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation."


On February 26th, 1993 the first world trade center was attacked by al-Qaeda and the EIJ (really two organizations that cooperated in 1993 and eventually merged).

A month later an official from EIJ was meeting with Saddam in Baghdad.

We have a document showing Saddam authorizing the IIS to “provide technical support” to the EIJ, and by extension, al-Qaeda.


Before the summer of 2002, most volunteers went home upon the completion of training. But these camps were humming with frenzied activity in the months immediately prior to the war. As late as January 2003, the volunteers participated in a special training event called the "Heroes Attack."

Yeah, I know, people are going to attack some of the sources, but I believe it takes far more creative thinking to discount all of this and conclude Saddam was a benign dictator, than to admit the obvious.

As a side note, I agree that all the world "thought" that Saddam had WMDs etc, but the above reasons, the fact we got a boatload of intelligence data when our troops killed Zarqawi, and the fact we have not been hit on U.S. soil in almost five years, are for me full justification for the war.

NoVA Scout said:

JOe: This is the first time I've ever heard reference to the fact that anyone anywhere thought Saddam was a "benign dictator." Are you sure anyone thought that (other than Saddam's mother)? I have yet to meet or hear about anyone of that opinion.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Joe and Soph,
Rather Saddam had WMD or not is not the real question on this thread. The question is did Rick Santorum vastly inflate this story at this time and if so why. I have been following this story all day and with the single exception of Rumsfeld, who gave some tepid support to the Santorum claim, everyone else (to include others at the department of defense and the administration are saying Santorium's statement is exaggerated to the point of being just plane false. 18% points down in the polls does not give Santorum or anyone else the right to stand on the floor of the Senate and tell half truths and exaggerations for the purpose of scoring political points. This little speech of his is going to backfire BIGTIME.

BTW if the Bush administration actually found WMD in Iraq would they really give Santorum the go ahead to share this news with the world?

Okay you Republicans practice what you preach and condemn this behavior.

Scout - I've been involved in some lengthy debates on this topic over the past three years and, yes, there are those who's key argument is that Saddam may have been a dictator, but he was no threat to the United States. I use the shorthand 'benign dictator' because I disagree with the argument, and wish to mock it.

M 5-19: Hey now, who's going to tell whom what is the real topic on this thread? Our threads here are like the tree of life itself, branching off in all necessary directions to sustain the interest of those chained to their keyboards and obliged to participate. You say "Santorum," I say "Saddam." Everybody's a winner.

Regarding Santorum and these documents, I have not the slightest clue because I've only read a little. I get the impression it's in the earliest phases.

Regarding the Bush Administration's release of information about WMDs - I truly believe this story is going to comprise one of the strangest episodes in history when the truth comes out 20 or 30 years from now. Pardon me if I don't take the time to gather links on this part, but believe they are out there.

I think the Administration has a great deal of information confirming Iraq's WMDs and WMD programs, and had this information prior to the 2004 elections, and refuses to release it. (I'll be interested in what develops with the supposed large amount of still-classified information Santorum is seeking to have released).

I don't know whether this is because implicating Russia or Syria (or whichever other countries) is judged a greater problem than the squawking about "Bush lied," or if it has to do with some CIA or State Department CYA maneuver, or if the Bush "Machine" is so remarkably obtuse they don't perceive what a barrage of political noogies they've been taking every day for the past three years because of their abysmal performance at communicating the justification for the war.

Like maybe some genius said, "It's the 'democracy', stupid!" and they all fell for it hook line and sinker.

Uh, sorry to branch out on you again there...

Sophrosyne said:

M 5-19... I agree with you that there are some questions regarding Santorum's point vs some in the administration... I really haven't been paying much attention to the messenger as I have to the message... I suppose I should.

Who specifically in DoD criticized the report? I only read unnamed "intelligence officials"...

zimzo said:

Wow, you not only branched out, Joe, you're balancing out on a limb. So let me get this straight. You believe that the Bush Administration is sitting on secret evidence that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, but we probably won't know about it for 20 to 30 years (maybe around the time when they reveal that Lyndon Johnson had Kennedy assasinated and that aliens landed at Roswell). Instead of revealing this secret evidence they used trumped up evidence--like aluminum tubes and yellow cake and a meeting between Mohammad Atta and Hussein's people that never happened--and used that "evidence" to sell the war in Iraq to the UN and the American people in order to avoid using the real evidence. Then to further hide this secret evidence that won't be revealed for 20 to 30 years they had the Defense Department issue a report that said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So then while it now appears Hussein posed no immediate threat to the United States and North Korea and Iran do represent an immediate threat and the actual perpetrator of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, is still free because Bush failed to send reinforcements to Tora Bora to capture him when he could have, you believe that in 20 to 30 years we'll discover that what now looks like incompetence on the part of the Bush Administration and a deliberate scheme to lie about the reasons for going to Iraq, and what appears to be subsequent attempts to cover up evidence of lies and incompetence by outing a CIA agent, was all actually a brilliant and deliberate feint to prevent us from finding out about Hussein's WMDs because of some reason that you are not sure about but are guessing, based on no evidence whatsoever, might, possibly have something to do with Syria or Russia, though you're not really sure, but will finally be revealed to us in 20 or 30 years. Is that about right? That certainly sounds like a much simpler explanation than what everyone in the reality-based community believes happened.

Heh. Well-played, sir, well-played. I would expect no less.

Regarding your first 6 or 8 sentences: I believe they had evidence prior to the war, and also that additional evidence has been discovered since the war began, but some of the latter is being held back to protect other parties. I am not sure of this, but based on the information in all the links I provided (and many others I used to have bookmarked) I think there is a strong case to be made that it is true.

I think one would need to rub opium into one's eyes and ingest numerous buttons of cacti from the Sonoran desert to avoid seeing the clear evidence that Saddam Hussein had multiple programs and alliances in place which were a clear and present danger to the United States.

The U.S forces did not catch bin Laden at Tora Bora because the entire Afghanistan campaign was conducted with something like 25,000 U.S. troops on the ground. The strategic decision was made at the beginning to rely heavily on local forces, warlords, to minimize the U.S. footprint. It worked extremely well in terms of prosecuting the war, but not so well in capturing the two highest-value targets.

Outing a CIA agent? Pardon me while I enjoy a hearty, nasal guffaw with unmistakable French inflection: "Hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh." Victoria Plame was a secret agent like I am a secret blogger. Apparently everyone who knew her knew she had worked for the CIA.

A "brilliant" feint? No. You've been reading here, you definitely know I do not associate the word "brilliant" with anything related to the Bush administration. I think their sitting on the information about Iraq is, in fact, "stupid."

Just like their immigration policy is stupid, and their spending policies are stupid.

They managed to win the 2004 election in spite of themselves. And also because many people jumped in to help because they perceived Bush was the lesser of two evils and the better one to take the war to the enemy.

Saddam's regime was the most continual malignant threat to the U.S. for over 10 years. I do believe President Bush at one time, however, stooped to mention other problem countries. They were...um, let me think...Oh yes, the two you mentioned, Iran and North Korea. Fine coincidence. So they were apparently on the radar.

My guess is the decision making process in 2002 went something like:

Iraq - WMDs and WMD programs, harboring terrorists, ties to al Qaeda, sending money to Palestinian terrorists, and currently engaged with U.S. forces.

Iran - developing nuclear technology, supporting terrorists, avowed enemy of the U.S.

North Korea - has nuclear technology, involved in massive conventional arms stand off with U.S. and South Korean forces, avowed enemy of the U.S.

Reviewing the above and everything you know about the three countries, do you really think it was misguided to attack the first? Are you saying we should have ignored Iraq and attacked Iran, which would have had MUCH less evidentiary justification? Don't forget, now: From 1998 until 2003, every single prominent Democrat was on record denouncing Iraq as a major threat to the U.S.

Many Democrats did backtrack after the war started, but though evidence of weaselhood that is really neither here nor there.

Would there have been similar support for an attack on Iran?

Would it have even made sense at the time? Iraq was the chief problem, so why would the U.S. have attacked Iran first?

And the North Korea situation clearly has much larger implications. You undoubtedly know this. They had the bomb. They have a major civilian population - and U.S. troop concentration - within artillery range. Do you think we should have attacked North Korea? It seems obvious to me North Korea will be a much more difficult problem to solve.

There is a very large database of statements by prominent Democratic officals testifying about the threat posed by Iraq. Do you not believe this?

This is the closing editorial in the Washington Times series that continued for about a year:


Each day during the previous year, the Times reprinted statements from Democratic leaders from the late 1990s through the early 2000s about the threat posed by Iraq.

The Democrats who changed their stand and lied after the Iraq war began did so simply for political advantage and with the assumption the vast majority of Americans had no access to Lexis-Nexis.

The "reality-based" community is living in Don Juan's reality.

zimzo said:

Too bad the members of the Bush Administration aren't as well-versed in Carlos Castaneda as you are:

"A rule of thumb for a warrior is that he makes his decisions so carefully that nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise him, much less drain his power."

The Democrats who supported the war in Iraq did so for two reasons: 1) They were given intelligence by the Bush administration that turned out to be less than truthful and 2) They were afraid that if they didn't vote for the war the Republicans would demagogue them as being weak on national security...which the Republicans have done anyway.

Your comparison of which country would be best to attack, presupposes that we should have attacked any country instead of going after Osama Bin Laden. How Republicans can claim to be prosecuting the war on terror competently when they can't even get the man responsible for 9/11 is one of life's great mysteries. And your description of why Iraq would be the "best" target could easily apply to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Your "sources" aren't just worthy of criticism, they are beyond laughable. You know, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, Joe. World Net Daily? The "news organization" founded by the chief proponent of the idea that Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster, and which recently printed an article by the son of the editor that claimed Hitler's reond-up of Jews provides a good model for deporting illegal immigrants here? DEBKAfile, the Israeli version of the Drudge Report (though less reliable)? In fact, DEBKAfile is the sole source of allegations that Hussein moved WMDs to Syria and no other reputable expert, including David Kay and our own Defense Department believe it. Your other "sources" include a documents of dubious provenance from John Negroponte's document dump that suggest at most a few sporadic contacts between people tangentially related to Al Qaeda but hardly constitute evidence of collaboration. As anyone who has even the most cursory knowledge of Middle East politics knows the deeply religious Bin Laden and ardently secular Hussein were hardly what you would call allies. All of this "evidence" you put forward of contacts between Hussein and Al Qaeda adds nothing to the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission report that Hussein and Al Qaeda had only sporadic contacts and were not working together.

The only major terrorist inside Iraq before the war was Zarqawi and we had three chances to get him before the war but the Bush Administration passed them up because they thought it would make the rationale for going to war with Iraq even more difficult to extablish.

The idea that "everyone knew Plame was a CIA agent" is another one of these tropes spouted by right-wing radio based on no evidence whatsoever. Just because they say it on right-wing radio doesn't mean it's true, Joe. I know you need to believe this because the idea that anyone in the Bush Administration would do anything so heinous to get back at a political opponent is too difficult to believe. But the fact is that this has been pretty well debunked. Patrick Fitzgerald has already gathered evidence that even her friends and neighbors did not know she was a CIA agent and several of them have stepped forward to confirm this. The only ones purveying this lie are political hacks like Mary Matalin, Fox News commentators like Wayne Simmons, Andrew Napolitano and Clifford May and Andrea Mitchell, who retracted her claim.

You might want to expand your news sources a little bit, Joe. It always amazes me how many on the right wing think they know everything just by listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching Fox News. I also listen to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News as well as the follow the so-called "liberal media." I don't limit myself to paying attention only to news that confirms my world view. You might want to pay a little more attention to some other news sources that don't have a political axe to grind. You might want to read Richard Clark's book or Ron Suskind's One Percent Doctrine or watch the Frontline documentary The Dark Side (which can be seen online). It won't kill you to expand your news sources just a little bit.

-The Democrats quoted throughout "History Lessons" were largely from 1998 forward; during the Clinton administration they were far more hawkish about the major threat posed by Saddam.

-I believe the U.S. has been going after Osama bin Laden since approx 9-11-01.

-I acknowledged you'd disagree with the sources. I suppose you'd prefer I stick with the treasonous NYT. Anyway, I know WND posts all kinds of crazy stuff; it doesn't mean every thing that appears there is wrong.

-The idea that "secular" Saddam could never have done business with Islamic fundamentalists is a joke, and you must know it. This would be a post in itself, certainly. Ditto for the idea Shiite and Sunni organizations never coordinate efforts.

-I get my news - or rather, I read - from a very broad array of outlets. Broader than yours, I would bet. Liberals - to paint with a broad brush, if you'll excuse me - strike me as far less familiar with Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, et al, than conservatives are with the liberal outlets.

I could be wrong about you, but that is the impression I have about liberals I've sparred with here and elsewhere.

If you do watch Fox News, then you surely know the caricature of it being an instrument of the Bush administration or RNC is complete baloney.

(As a side note, watch Glenn Beck on CNN Headline News if you haven't already. He is one of the best, in my opinion).

It took the NYT and WaPo weeks to report on how Dan Rather stepped in it with the forged documents about President Bush's military services. Those types of outlets will be the LAST to report on any news bolstering Bush's claims that Iraq had WMD programs or that Saddam was supporting terrorists.

I think the new edition of Websters actually has a photo of Richard Clark next to the entry for "ax...*have an ax to grind [Colloq.]"

My news sources are already pretty expansive, but on the current topic in order to get a useful link from the NY Times I'll have to wait for the issue with the photo of a flying pig on the cover.

P.S. WorldNetDaily is more of a news aggregator. Many of the stories they present are picked up from elsewhere. I'll try to dig further next time.

P.S. Man, I am impressed by the Casteneda quote. I don't know anyone else who still has the first four on their bookshelf, but even if you just googled it my hat is off to you.

We old men have to appreciate each other.

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