That wikipedia article is and has been WRONG
for a long time. It is very important to remember that wikipedia, as invaluable as it is, is totally useless for anything that has been recently at the forefront of political consciousness. The only reason I haven't changed it is because after writing a long paper on this for the heads of some of the large NGOs I basically became sick of the subject. If someone would please correct the wikipedia entry, it would be a great service for people looking for factual information (take as much of this post as you want). I will give you some of the info here.
First, it obviously totally mischaracterizes Pelletiere's position, even though he explicitly states it in the third paragraph of his NYT editorial.
Pelletiere was the senior analyst in the CIA on the war. As he notes in the three sources I am providing for him, the CIA's conclusion of Iranian culpability was simply a retelling of the DIA's conclusion. His position has consistently been not that the DIA conclusion was 100% accurate, but that the DIA came to the conclusion, making it into the official CIA report and becoming the official CIA position, and yet the Bush administration has tried to pretend otherwise.NYT EditorialVideo of Pelletiere Lecture pt 1Pelletiere Lecture pt 2
Next, we have the Glen Rangwala's analysis
posted to the CASI listserv referencing most of the studies done. Glen Rangwala also compiled Claims and Evaluations of Iraq's Proscribed Weapons
. His analysis in the CASI post is the best public one to date and touches on a lot of the various issues and provides some good background.
However, he does not accurately charaterize Pelletiere (apparently was not aware that he was the CIA's top analyst on the war) and his claim that the war was not closely examined by the authors is subsequently very false. Another possible problem is the explanation of the presence of cyanide through tabun decomposition, since decomposition could take far longer. For these reasons, while I am swayed by Rangwala's argument, it does have those weak points which have not been addressed and likely will not be since it would require examining classified information the CIA has on the battle.What is not open for discussion is the fact that it was part of a battle, in fact one of the major battles of the Iran-Iraq war.
This fact is not disputed by anyone, so claiming that this was just part of a genocidal campaign is just wrong by all accounts, and everyone knows this. At the same time, al-obaidi, in his aljazeera article
and the note linked in segovius' post, is making leaps without evidence to back it up, and he's ignoring (or unaware of) rangwala's analysis and the work cited in his post. If the US did decide to avoid touching on halabja, it's likely because of what's been cited here.
Read Rangwala's post. It's a weath of information.Ranwala on Halabjah
Also, the army war college report can be found on FAS:Lessons Learned: Iran-Iraq War
The important mention is on page 2 of appendix b
The links I've mentioned here ecompasses basically everything online that's of importance.
As you can see, it's a very complicated issue.Edited for spelling and clarity