One of the more enduring mysteries of the Iraq War is the decision by the Bush Administration to go into a fetal position rather than fight back. No aspect of this is more painful and has proven more dangerous to the Republic than the issue of WMD. One of the stated reasons for us going to war was Saddam Hussein’s possession of chemical weapons (as well as possible biological and nuclear weapons development). From PRESIDENT Bush’s ultimatum on March 17, 2003:
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.
The Bush Administration didn’t produce any WMD during the course of the war. This set off the “Bush Lied, People Died” meme. It became a given in politics that there were no WMD and as a result the GOP was burned down in 2006, the last two years of Bush’s Administration was spent coping with a dangerously stupid Democrat majority in Congress, and, of course, the White House was handed over to an anti-American lightweight political opportunist.
But the dam has started to break.
Last fall, the Washington Post reported on US soldiers who had been injured by WMD in Iraq. It is kind of hard to have people injured by things that didn’t exist. Now the New York Times reports that not only were WMD found but we had a program that purchased intact stockpiles:
The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.
The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
These were not rusted out scrap. The nerve agent warheads were not only lethal but they were at a higher level of potency than one would have expected after a decade of storage. This points to either a more sophisticated weapons program than had been postulated or to a continued production of weapons after the Gulf War.
Whoever in the Bush White House decided not to push back on the “no WMD” story should commit ritual suicide on the steps of the National Press Club. They are single-handedly responsible for the election of Barack Obama and the rise of ISIS.