Originally posted by SDW2001
[B]I just heard about this yesterday.
In any case,The DOD has confirmed that 500 shells have been found with traces of mustard gas, possibly other agents. They have said the agents were degraded and some reports suggest the shells were in poor condition and could not be used in March of 2003. According to what I've read, the US believes more shells will be found.
Of course it is likely that more old shells will be found. They are scattered all over Iraq, but as (a) they are useless and (b) the records of their whereabouts have been missing since 1991, even to the pro-Saddam Baathist contingent of the insurgency, and (c) nobody is actively searching for them, these chance discoveries will crop up from time to time when coalition forces stumble upon them during unrelated activities.
On the surface, this is a slam dunk for neither side of the debate. That said: Saddam was required to verifiably destroy and account for all of his chemical weapons under multiple UN resolutions. It is clear he did not do that.
As far as Saddam Hussein was concerned, he ordered all chemical and bio weapons to be destroyed in 1991 after Gulf War 1. That country was in total chaos after that war and for awhile it wasn't certain who would take the reins of power, until Bush Sr. sided with Saddam to brutally squash the postwar Shiite uprising. The custody, security, records and known whereabouts of any residual chemical weapons were largely unknown quantities, hence these occasional discoveries.
Now that said, it's still clear the intelligence was wrong on the immediate threat that Saddam posed with these weapons, seeing as these weapons were apparently not in condition to be launched.
That is only partially true: The intelligence was bad
on the remaining highly degraded shells that are showing up on a random basis since the invasion. The intelligence was very good
regarding the fact that Saddam destroyed Iraq's chemical and biological weapons stocks in 1991, but unfortunately, that particular intelligence was inconvenient to the parties who had been aching to go to war, so the "intelligence" they eventually went along with was manufactured, bogus, and fiction
. Recall Saddam's pilotless drones about to spray US cities with Sarin pushed relentlessly by Fox etc., causing that run on plastic sheeting and duct tape? Or the endless statements repeated ad nauseam by our weasel-media such as:
* "Iraq has mobile biological weapons labs" or
* "Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program", or
* "Iraq can launch chemical weapons 45 minutes from the order being given", or
* "Iraq is using highly pure aluminum tubes to use in its Uranium enrichment program", or
* "Iraq has been acquiring uranium ore from Niger for its nuclear weapons program" or
* Saddam Hussein/Iraq was linked with Al Qaida
This crap was being presented to the US people as if gospel truth, and it scared those people who were unaware of what was going on over there (ie the majority of the US public), to the point of supporting the war when the invasion was finally launched. It is understandable. Most people, if they werent aware of the reality, woul;d be justifiably scared by such statements; I recall 70%+ of the US population were conned into believing the war was conducted to protect our national security. Now if a genuinely dodgy situation comes about in the future and some truly dangerous ideolog took a run at power, would we still have trust in the powers-that-be, after their appalling track record of serial lies?
In the end this is kind of a non-story. It won't change anyone's perceptions of the war at this point.
That is probably true also. There are still some folks around who still believe the war was fought because of WMDs, no matter what the evidence, or lack of it.