Monday, February 16, 2015

American Purchases of Iraqi WMDs Further Refutes WMD Truth-Deniers

The latest revelation from the New York Times investigative reports on the finding by American and coalition forces of numerous dangerous chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) for several years after the 2003 Liberation of Iraq is that the United States secretly purchased hundreds of artillery shells with chemical warheads from an Iraqi source.

            The Times, the liberal newspaper of record, reports the U.S. bought over 400 WMDs in the form of artillery shells, many of which contained warheads with the nerve gas, sarin, some of which were much more lethal than expected, between 2005 and 2006.  American forces had previously discovered chemical WMDs in buried caches and in improvised explosive devices assembled by insurgents, as had been reported at the time, was revealed to have amounted to 500 weapons by the U.S. in 2006, was referred to in federal documents leaked in 2010 and was detailed in a series of reports from October to December of last year by the Times to be an even larger number, and that both American and Iraqi forces had suffered wounds from exposure to the WMDs that had remained more dangerous than claimed by the WMD truth-deniers, who insisted that the WMDs were “too degraded” to pose any threat. 

All of these WMDs had been manufactured by Iraq prior to 1991.  Some of the Iraqi WMDs found, as well as all those that were purchased, were among those known about by United Nations inspectors, in part through inconsistent Iraqi declarations.  However, unlike some of the other Iraqi WMDs, the inspectors did not know the precise number of these specific rocket shells with chemical warheads still in existence, which appears to have been larger than believed, because Iraq did not fully disclose how many it possessed, which validates the finding of the Deulfer Report that Iraq was in some ways “more dangerous” than believed.  The WMD truth-deniers selectively ignored that part of the report, and focused on the lack of an official announcement of the finding of large stockpiles of WMDs at the time.  The Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein lied that it had destroyed its WMDs and failed to provide any such proof of their destruction.    

Iraq’s failure to fulfill its obligation under its 1991 ceasefire after the Liberation of Kuwait, as well as UN resolutions, was why the UN Security Council found Iraq in “material breach” of those resolutions, subject to “serious consequences,” which were understood to mean military action.  In addition to the Baathist regime’s violation of its ceasefire by firing on Coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over Kurdish and Shi’ite parts of Iraq, and Iraqi sponsorship of terrorism, including harboring and financing terrorists who had targeted and killed Americans, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were a justification for war.  Indeed, Iraq, which had committed serial aggression under Hussein, intimidated its neighbors, both with its remaining conventional force, and its retention of WMD.  The Baathist regime was also found to possess missiles of longer range than permitted by UN resolutions.  Iraq was violating the UN embargo in the hope of outlasting it to resume its WMD program.

The program to acquire the 400 Iraqi chemical WMDs succeeded in removing the weapons from the black market and potentially from the hands of terrorists or other insurgents.  It makes sense, therefore, that the results of the program were not announced at the time, despite the public criticism of President George W. Bush and other American an international leaders who supported the Liberation of Iraq for the supposed lack of finding of WMDs. 

The lack of credibility in Hussein and the absence of any proof provided by him that he had destroyed his known WMDs or even disclosed his full arsenal, made criticism by the WMD truth-deniers, even at the time, invalid, especially after both media and government reports of finding of WMDs in Iraq.  The series of Times reports now demonstrate clearly, as if any further proof were necessary, how wrong the WMD truth-deniers were in believing Hussein and insisting that Iraq no longer had any WMDs, that the WMDs it had were few or were not lethal (at least in 2003), and thus Iraq was not a threat and war was not justified, leaving aside Iraq’s other aforementioned acts of war that were alone sufficient even without Iraqi possession of any WMD.  The critics’ argument that the only justifiable cause of war would have been new WMDs because of the insignificance of the old WMDs has been thoroughly refuted by reference to Bush Administration specific citations of Iraq’s old WMDs as a justification, as well as in terms of the amount and lethality of Iraq’s WMD arsenal. 

The report even diminishes the one criticism of the Bush Administration that might reasonably have been made about Iraqi WMDs: that the Bush Administration’s efforts to destroy Iraqi WMDs had not been effective.  At least in regard to this particular stockpile of Iraqi WMDs, the program did achieve some success. 

See also my posts on the Times reports from October to November of last year and my commentary on the significance of the finding of larger numbers of dangerous Iraqi WMDs: Thousands More Lethal Chemical WMDs Have Been Found in Iraq, Wounding Soldiers,, and Follow-Up on the Finding of More Chemical WMDs in Iraq,, Update on the Exposure of American Troops to Iraq’s Chemical WMD,, and American Concern about the Islamic State’s Capture of Iraq’s Chemical WMDs,

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