Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction? Or is that Mass Distraction?

The Justification

In order to launch this war, the administration had to come up with justification. Why? The issue at the front of everybody's mind was Al Queda, Osama bin Laden, and the other demonized ones holed up in Afghanistan who did the attack on September 11, 2001 against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a corn field in western Pennsylvania. There wasn't any obvious linkage between Al Queda and Iraq, yet the administration kept making threatening noises in their direction, so if they were itching for war (as was obvious) then why?

One reason was this issue of "Weapons of Mass Destruction". A nebulous term, that could obviously apply to most of the armament in the U.S. stockpile. Yet, we have a country that obviously has repeatedly attacked neighbors and its own citizens, has in the past worked on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, so what is to be done about them? And, now, we're not referring to the U.S. here, but Iraq. Let's be clear, Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) was a danger. At the same time, was Iraq sufficiently bottled up (there was strict sanctions in place)? Was Iraq a truly present danger?

Since the Weapons of Mass Destruction was portrayed as the major issue, we want to examine this one closely. Is this issue real, or was it merely a distraction from the real issue. In the Background material for the second Gulf "War" paper, it's clear that the people who are currently senior advisors to the GW Bush administration had, for many years (since their service in the GHW Bush administration), harbored a grudge against Iraq, and more importantly been stoking the flames of "American Might" and how it needs to be used to establish a World Order to U.S. advantage.

[July 22, 2003] UPDATE This issue is starting to be noticed in the press. They're asking about the weapons of mass destruction some, but more so is the claim that Iraq was ready to build nuclear weapons. The latter claim turns out to be false and baseless. There is more on the Is the Gulf War II Impeachable? page.

Searching for WMD

[April 15, 2003; CNN] Tests rule out suspect bio-labs (cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/15/sprj.irq.no.labs/index.html) KARBALA, Iraq (CNN) -- The buried labs U.S. troops found last week were not the mobile chemical and biological weapons labs one U.S. Army general suspected, according to the head of an expert team brought in to examine them. The 11 cargo containers were filled with new laboratory equipment apparently intended to make conventional weapons, ... "Based on what we've seen, the containers are full of millions of dollars worth of high-tech equipment," he said. "It possibly has a dual use. But it does not appear to be weapons of mass destruction." ... The containers held equipment typically found in laboratories, including test tubes, water baths, sand baths, ph transmitters, explosive-proof lights, ethyl alcohol gauges, shakers, test tubes, test tube holders, and temperature and pressure gauges. ... "Initial reports indicate that this is clearly a case of denial and deception on the part of the Iraqi government," Freakley said. "These chemical labs are present, and now we just have to determine what in fact they were really being used for." ... On a visit February 23, U.N. weapons inspectors found nothing "untoward" at the Karbala Ammunition Filling Plant that is close to the site, a U.N. inspection team spokesman said Monday. This article refers to an earlier one: [April 15, 2003; CNN] U.S.: Mobile labs found in Iraq (cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/14/sprj.irq.labs/index.html) U.S. troops have found 11 mobile laboratories buried south of Baghdad that are capable of biological and chemical uses, a U.S. general said Monday. ... There were no chemical or biological weapons with the containerized labs, which measure 20 feet square. But soldiers recovered "about 1,000 pounds" of documents from inside the labs, and the United States will examine those papers further, said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Freakley of the Army's 101st Airborne Division. ... During the buildup to the war in Iraq, the United States repeatedly accused Iraq of using mobile laboratories to produce banned weapons.

While this isn't directly a smoking gun (no chemical or biological weapons directly found), it does back up the contention that Iraq was hiding research work, and were using mobile laboratories to help the subterfuge.

Pre-war justification

[February 5, 2003; CNN] Powell: Iraq hiding weapons, aiding terrorists (cnn.com/2003/US/02/05/sprj.irq.powell.un/index.html) U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell used electronic intercepts, satellite photographs and other intelligence sources Wednesday in an effort to convince skeptical members of the U.N. Security Council that Iraq is actively working to deceive U.N. weapons inspectors. ...