How many times have we been told that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it millions of times. I’ve read stories here and there over the last several years about WMDs being found, but of course it never got much news coverage – until now.
The New York Times shockingly admitted in an explosive front page report that thousands of WMDs were found in Iraq since the start of the war:
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
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.
So, now it needs to be repeated millions of times: there WERE WMDs found in Iraq! But of course The Times couldn’t admit that their discovery vindicates President Bush. Instead they claim that these WMDs don’t count and that an active WMD program was the only rationale for the Iraq War:
The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.
Oh, really? Well, it sounds to me in UN Resolution 1441, adopted November 8, 2002, that there was concern about an active WMD program, but a key point of contention with Iraq in the decade after the 1991 Gulf War was the WMDs that had been left over (the ones The Times reports as being found during the Iraq War). Iraq had repeatedly refused to disarm and destroy its WMDs, even kicking out UN inspectors between 1998 and 2002. Some key excerpts from the resolution:
Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material …
3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material; …
– UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programmes and the associated research, development, and production facilities;
In President Bush’s speech to the UN on September 12, 2002, a huge chunk of his case was about Iraq violating its agreement to be transparent and disarm and destroy all WMDs after the Gulf War, maintaining stockpiles (like the thousands that The New York Times reported on!), improving facilities that could be used to produce WMDs, and not complying with UN weapons inspectors:
In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.
From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
United Nations’ inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons. …
In 1991, Iraq promised U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq’s commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading, and harassing U.N. inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely. Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with inspectors, condemning Iraq’s serious violations of its obligations. The Security Council again renewed that demand in 1994, and twice more in 1996, deploring Iraq’s clear violations of its obligations. The Security Council renewed its demand three more times in 1997, citing flagrant violations; and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq’s behavior totally unacceptable. And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.
On the eve of the Iraq War, President Bush laid out his case to the American people. Again, the focus was on disarmament and Iraq’s possession of WMDs:
My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.
The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again — because we are not dealing with peaceful men.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.
For The New York Times to say, “The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale,” is ridiculous. Now that the leftist claim that no WMDs were found in Iraq has become untenable, they are moving the goalposts again. They say these pre-Gulf War era WMDs don’t count, even though Saddam’s continued possession of these older ones was clearly used as a justification for war.
When Saddam said he destroyed all his WMDs from the Gulf War, we knew he was lying and still had stockpiles, and we were proven right when we found the thousands The New York Times reported. The left has now conveniently changed to saying that no NEW WMDs were found. As if the “old” chemical weapons that were found couldn’t have been put into the wrong hands by Saddam and used in a terrorist attack!
The bottom line is: Weapons of mass destruction WERE found in Iraq. Debate the Iraq War all you want, but this should no longer be a point of contention.