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Author Topic: Declassified Docs: WMDs Found in Iraq
DonaldD
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I can only speak for myself but I was cautiously in favour of the invasion due solely to the "facts" that the Coalition® knew of the existence of a WMD program, they knew how quickly these weapons could be deployed, and moreover knew exactly where they were.

I was played, just as many others were, by the the pro-war faction of the US administration. I've never said there were NO WMDs, because a) coalition forces kept claiming to have found trace amounts of the stuff and b) proving that negative in a country the size of Iraq and in the anarchical state that Iraq had become would be foolish.

But it became clear that no effective development program and no significant weapons stores existed.

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Paladine
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Quite alright. I find it easier to say "Edited to Add: X" when I do this, as it clarifies chronological problems for people reading through the thread (and those replying to me).

quote:
I'm hurt. My links and stuff don't bring up any doubt for you? Links to say, the chemist association (an international group, by the way) doesn't cause you to doubt the undefended anonymous claim of "I'm a chemist, so I know"? I have no idea if Liberal is a chemist, nor if he/she is right on this issue, but I now have doubts because of the research I did on the subject
I have to admit the linked material all that carefully. I tend to trust people unless they give me reason to believe otherwise. Liberal's stated that he's a chemist (this is a statement that predates the present argument, incidentally) and I've no reason to disbelieve him. When a professional in a given field offers an opinion as certainly as he did, I extend a great (and I would argue reasonable) amount of deference to him.

That doesn't mean that the examination of the question has to end there, certainly. I'm open to new information and evidence, and it was a failure on my part that I didn't examine and weigh your information before arriving at a conclusion with respect to the issue of degradation. To whatever extent you feel slighted, you've my apologies; I've generally found you to be one of the more interesting and informative posters on this forum.

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javelin
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Eeek, I forgot all the flaming going on. The "I'm hurt" should have included a winky [Wink] . Sorry, Paladine - really not a problem. Thank you, however, for being so considerate in your reply.
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Paladine
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quote:
This thread came about because Liberal, a poster on this forum, specifically said "no WMDs existed". So, this argument that this isn't ever said? Well, it has, right here, and Daruma has mentioned this as the reason he posted this in the first place, in several posts
Please show me where. What Liberal said, as I read it, is that these canisters were once WMD. WMD did exist. By the time the decision to go to war had been undertaken, they were no longer effective and consequently no longer WMD.

Edited to Add: I'm off for awhile, so I might not get back to this thread for awhile. Glad we're cool, Jav. [Wink]

[ June 22, 2006, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
quote:
This thread came about because Liberal, a poster on this forum, specifically said "no WMDs existed". So, this argument that this isn't ever said? Well, it has, right here, and Daruma has mentioned this as the reason he posted this in the first place, in several posts
Please show me where. What Liberal said, as I read it, is that these canisters were once WMD. WMD did exist. By the time the decision to go to war had been undertaken, they were no longer effective and consequently no longer WMD.

Edited to Add: I'm off for awhile, so I might not get back to this thread for awhile. Glad we're cool, Jav. [Wink]

quote:
Well, I can't recall how many reports (3,4,5?) from Bush's own inspectors, post-war, confirmed there were no WMD. There were no programs to make them. There were no plans to make programs to make them. There were no people to make plans to make programs to make them. You can be a denier like WarsawPact and hang onto that single shell with a trace of chemical weapons from the 80s that we gave Saddam as proof of all the magic WMD or you can face up to reality.
found here

I'm glad we are kewl too, Paladine.

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javelin
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There was another one, too, that was less ambigious, but I'm having trouble tracking it - Daruma?

EDITED TO ADD: I think there was another, you know, IIRC?

[ June 22, 2006, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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DaveS
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I never insisted that we would not find artifacts of prior WMD munitions or WMD munitions programs, nor even the odd live WMD munition. The ones we're discussing here clearly appear to be artifacts (hedging because Jav wants really strong closure on that), none of them appear to be usable, and no other live ones have been found anywhere in Iraq. So, I agree with everyone who thinks we were had. This new report is meaningless, except to remind us of that fact. I think that's why some of us are so testy.

On the other hand, there were immense quantities of live non-WMD munitions all over the place. Frankly, these have always scared me more than the WMD and we are still finding more of those caches. Used as they have been to kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people, they are WMD of the up close and personal kind. They can't touch us, but they can touch anyone who lives in Iraq. We're responsible for unleashing them, so the people of Iraq have been had, too, and they're pretty testy about that.

FWIW, I'm chagrinned to have started the earlier firestorm on this thread. I get riled appropriately sometimes and sometimes it spills over inappropriately. I overreacted in this case. Warr and I have communicated privately to air sentiments and set things straight. As far as I'm concerned, this discussion is back to basics and substance, which is what I and everyone else prefers.

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javelin
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I love you guys. [Big Grin]
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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Whether or not this is the case I'm not entirely sure, but Lib's stated that he's a chemist and has stated in a certain manner as a professional in the field that this stuff is useless. I've no reason to disbelieve either.

I have a chemistry degree as well and I can read the MSDS and all that other stuff about the chemical nature of these agents and understand what I'm reading. I can tell you for certain you aren't getting me anywhere near that stuff, I don't care how degraded anyone thinks it is.

How about a show of hands, who would want to go dip their finger in some of this stuff? Maybe take a nice deep breath in the same room with it after it's been cracked open? Anyone says they would do it is a liar or a fool. To dismiss these things as degraded and useless, implying that they are harmless or somehow safe, is absurd in the extreme and downright dangerous.

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livermeer kenmaile
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I said 'straws' not 'men made of'. Yeesh. Now ye're messing wid me wisecracks. I'ma ram yer war canoe with this here rubber duckie paddle boat. There! I can keep up this here squeak-squeak-squeaking all night! I'm a honky on the edge with a giant rubber duckie and I ain't afraid to use it!!!
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livermeer kenmaile
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"There's a smart policy here. Wait and see what the developments are. Never jump to conclusions based on breaking news. Please."

Oh, War asked for it alright. Lookit whut he did. He urged intelligence, patience, prudence, and peace. Them's been fighting words at Ornery since I first found out I was wrong.

He'll be lucky if he isn't crucified.

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KnightEnder
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Gary, I'm no chemist but I've been selling ion chromatographs, spetrometer analyzers, and other instruments designed to examine the chemical composition of media for twenty years and I too can read an MSDS sheet and understand it. That said; there are a thousand chemicals at any one of the hundreds of plants that surrounds my home that I wouldn't want to be stuck in the same room with.

There is a big difference betweeen deadly chemicals and Chemical Weapons and/or WMD's.

KE

[ June 22, 2006, 09:05 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Jesse
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A nuclear weapon with a degraded trigger is still a dirty bomb, no disagreement. Bullets with bad primers can still be a source of powder for pipe bombs.

I, much like everyone else, haven't found firm or reliable evidence of the rate at which either sarin or mustard break down.

I don't think anyone is claiming that either of these substances degrades into Ms.Butterworths.

The question is, were they militarily usefull.

The answer is : I dunno.

I've said all along that I was simply stunned that we hadn't found "leftover" chemical weapons.

Saddam wasn't in control of Kurdish territory (kinda had his butt chased out of parts of it in a hurry), the Iraqi military didn't exactly have computerized inventory control, and officers in his own forces had a nasty habit of trying to hatch plots.

The idea that anyone who needed to get mustard gas from a Rouge State would actually have the brains or the financing to transport and deploy it is...silly. The stuff isn't extremely hard to make.

I find it hard to believe that if the information that cannot (for some reason) be disclosed really says what is implied, it would not have been revealed by a senior administration official.

500 shells, filled and unfilled. How many of each? How many of these are unexploded ordinance? If Saddam knew he had them, why weren't they deployed? I mean, he didn't have hope of a negotiated peace this time, and the precautions we would have had to take would only have aided his escape.

Pardon me for partial agreement with Warrsaw, but there are more questions than answers here.

I just don't see a problem with asking the questions.

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javelin
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quote:
Pardon me for partial agreement with Warrsaw, but there are more questions than answers here.

I just don't see a problem with asking the questions.

I'm with you Jesse (and WP) - that's the case, in my opinion, that I've been building with every post: we don't know enough to make a fair judgement here. I was trying to show how some of the conclusions being made on this thread might be murkier then they sounded, and hopefully I succeeded. I was also hoping someone could clear some of them up, and for that I'll have to wait and see. [Smile]

[ June 22, 2006, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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Dan Allen
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quote:
500 shells, filled and unfilled. How many of each? How many of these are unexploded ordinance? If Saddam knew he had them, why weren't they deployed? I mean, he didn't have hope of a negotiated peace this time, and the precautions we would have had to take would only have aided his escape.
Because if he had used them, not even France would have defended him. IMO, this complicates Saddams contention that he had destroyied all of it between the 1st and 2nd inspections. Whether it was usable or not at the opening of Gulf War II, isn't really an issue. The fact that we are still finding evidence that Iraq wasn't as cleared of WMD materials as has been claimed should be the issue.
Also, all 500 would be "unexploded" - exploded ordinance is no longer considered ordinance for military purposes.

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KnightEnder
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I wouldn't put anything past France.

KE

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Jesse
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Dan Allen,

France is not defending him. No one except extreme Baath loyalist Iraqis is defending. We catch him, he swings, was basically the order of business from the momment American boots hit the sand.


Sometimes, when someone launches a shell, it fails to make a nice resounding "Boom" sound. Instead, it just hits the ground and does entirely unspectacular things, like lie there and look confused. [Smile]

Edited to add -

Some people call them duds. Me, I call them proof that the Demi-Urge doesn't entirely rule this world.

[ June 22, 2006, 10:10 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Dan Allen
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Jesse:
Remember though that France did argue fairly strenously against any action against Iraq - arguing IIRC, that even the sanctions were no longer necessary because Saddam said that he had destroyed it all.

And technically a dud is classified as "un-exploded ordinance" because it can still go Boom at anytime. "Exploded" ordinance doesn't leave anything still able to go Boom.

The military will pay extra to anyone willing to deal with un-exploded ordinance, but nothing to police up shrapnel.

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Jesse
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Dan, can we seriously call a failure to clean up unexploded ordinance a willfull violation of the cease fire, or any indication of intent to use or distribute WMD?

The argument that Saddam was worried about PR holds untill we crossed the berm. From that point on, his options were escape or die.

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DaveS
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David Kay's assessment of the reported munitions:
quote:
They probably would have been intended for chemical attacks during the Iran-Iraq War, said David Kay, who headed the U.S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq from 2003 until early 2004.

He said experts on Iraq's chemical weapons are in "almost 100 percent agreement" that sarin nerve agent produced from the 1980s would no longer be dangerous.

"It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point," Kay said.

And any of Iraq's 1980s-era mustard would produce burns, but it is unlikely to be lethal, Kay said.


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KnightEnder
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Is that like crossing the Rubicon?
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Liberal
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It was not my intention to use my occupation as some kind of an authority, and I tried to stay away from using technical jargon. As Paladine pointed out, I made the mistake of mentioning I was a chemist before on other threads and then Gary posted his comment.

David Kay's report is a nice, short summation of the potency of sarin, nerve or mustard agents within these shells. I would like to re-iterate. I never said there were NO wmds in Iraq ever, just that by the invasion of 2003 we had no reason to believe any were there. The UN and the US government are not full of idiots, they knew the stockpiles from the 80s would be useless after years of sitting around, even in pristine storage conditions. What they were looking for was NEW production, production facilities, production plans and production capability. They found none of these things. Maybe someone who actually passed organic chemistry should have proofread Bush's 2003 SotU speech before he went up there and started reading estimates on chemical and biological WMDs that we knew about during the 80s and at the very latest, 1991. If anyone had been thinking before they launched this wasteful war, they would have realized that none of the WMDs we knew about would last 10+ years, let alone 20+ which is probably the more accurate figure in most cases. I truly do not have time to demonstrate the degrading process but it is safe to say the Sarin is completely harmless (according to its original intent, Gary unreasonably said we should swim in it or something to that effect) and the mustard gas has lost so much potency it would cause mild burns. These are not WMDs.

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WarrsawPact
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Rummy's said something now...

quote:
Q Mr. Secretary, there's been a lot made on Capitol Hill about the chemical weapons that were found and may be quite old. But do you have a real concern of these weapons from Saddam's past perhaps having an impact on U.S. troops who are on the ground in Iraq right now?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Certainly. What's been announced is accurate, that there have been hundreds of canisters or weapons of various types found that either currently have sarin in them or had sarin in them. And sarin's dangerous. And it's dangerous to our forces and it's a concern. So, obviously, to the extent we can locate these and destroy them, it's important that we do so. They are dangerous. And anyone, I'm sure, General Casey or anyone else in that country, would be concerned if they got in the wrong hands. They are weapons of mass destruction. They're harmful to human beings. And they have been found. And they had not been reported by Saddam Hussein as he inaccurately alleged that he had reported all of his weapons. And they are still being found and discovered.


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Liberal
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Hilarious. Notice how he kept using the most general language possible. He never refers to the sarin that was found specifically as dangerous, he just keeps saying "sarin is dangerous!" Later, after he named the shells themselves, he said "they are dangerous." For such a hawkish anti-bureaucrat, he sure can twist words well.
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Daruma28
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Sure Liberal. You make it sound like you'd have no problem storing all those shells in your own house because they are "no longer dangerous."

As far as I'm concerned, I would choose to stay as far away from such shells irregardless of your expert opinion on their present state of condition.

Once again, whatever you choose to argue, the simple fact remains that Saddam claimed he had destroyed all of his chemical weapons, and it is quite obvious now that he did not.

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RickyB
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Daruma, no doubt anyone would choose to stay away from these shells. The question is whether this is anywhere near what we claimed we were so concerned about.

(answer: No, it was not. Pentagon says so, not me). So this find changes absolutely nothing. You're like that kid standing in front of Sholess Joe Jackson, deperately needing him to somehow change what he already knows to be true.

Lemme put this in the form of a proposition, and you can choose whether to to agree or not:

If we went to war for WMD, solely or even mainly, then evidence currently shows that we made a mistake.

Agree or not?

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livermeer kenmaile
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"Once again, whatever you choose to argue, the simple fact remains that Saddam claimed he had destroyed all of his chemical weapons, and it is quite obvious now that he did not."

Oh, I see. That's the point. Well, we all knew Saddam was a sociopathic lying megalmaniac long before this recent mustard gas disclosure. Clever Hans and Scott Ritter were telling us this before we invaded.

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Daruma28
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Based on your premise, sure I agree. But then you know we've already gone over this ad naseum on a hundred other threads over the past three years about whether or not WMD was the sole or main reason.
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Paladine
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quote:
If we went to war for WMD, solely or even mainly, then evidence currently shows that we made a mistake.

Agree or not?

Well, this wasn't asked of me, but I'll provide an answer anyway. [Wink]

I would probably not agree with you if your definition of a mistake is something like: "an incorrect decision". Based upon information available at the time, the decision the President and Congress made in going to war was the correct one in my opinion. The vast majority of American and international intelligence suggested strongly that Saddam did possess WMD at the time the decision was undertaken.

One can make a correct decision and later find that, with complete information, his decision would no longer have been correct. Suppose you're playing a poker game and your opponent, without looking at his cards, shoves all of his chips into the middle of the table. You check your hole cards and see a 2 and a 7. After you throw your cards into the muck, your opponent sheepishly turns over a 2 and a 3. You should have called!

Except....of course you shouldn't have. Based on all the information you had at the time, it was the wrong thing to do. So, even though your decision proved a "mistake" in retrospect, it was the right thing to do with the information you had.

My point here isn't that the government necessarily did the right thing (although I believe it did). My point is that decisions aren't made with the benefit of hindsight, and to use what we find or don't find in Iraq to condemn or vindicate a decision made without that information is folly.

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Liberal
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Daruma, as the report said, these chemicals are less harmful than most household cleaners and solvents now. That doesn't mean I'd like to bathe with them, but I would not be afraid of being around them or handling them.

Paladine, there were significant elements of the CIA, IAEA, UN and others that made equally strong cases that the intel. was wrong and in some cases, fabricated. In the cases of the African connection, prague story, and Chalabi connection, they were dead accurate. I used to know of a site that showed the chronology of all the various intelligence agencies and how they tried to stop the war and get Bush to realize Iraq was no threat, but I have lost that link. All of the documents on that site are primary sources as well.

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Paladine
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Liberal-

I'll readily concede that many people and organizations had issues with individual pieces of evidence. I'll also readily concede that they were right in a number of instances. That aside, the consensus of American, British, Russian, Jordanian, Egyptian, and a multitude of other intelligence services was that Saddam still possessed WMD.

And it is precisely that broad consensus which undermines the argument that President Bush somehow fabricated all of this information. He may or may not be able to pressure the CIA into fabricating a case, but he certainly couldn't pressure a wide array of foreign intelligence services to do the same.

Hell, the UN thought Saddam had WMD before we invaded. That's why the Security Council issued a resolution demanding that Saddam give account for and destroy these weapons, lest he face serious consequences (which, of course, he didn't and he did). Very few disputed that Saddam possessed WMD. No one disputed that he had violated the terms of the cease fire agreement.

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Liberal
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Paladine, go dig up the Chalabi threads, those other countries believed that mainly on the basis of shared intel. from the US that originated from him. The UN knew there were WMDs from the 1980s, and when the inspectors said they'd need more time, Bush laid down an arbitrary deadline he knew they couldn't meet to initiate the war.

As to American intelligence, the majority of American Intelligence, including the CIA, DoE, FBI, State Department, DIA, and the NSA believed Iraq did not have the WMD that the Bush admin. said they did, nor the programs to make them. I would say that these, versus the singular Office of Special Plans qualifies as over 90% of our intelligence agencies reporting in that Iraq was not a threat, an that the admin. was wrong. Why on earth would you ignore the majority of your intelligence agencies? Here are some of the links I found.

2002 – CIA warns Bush no nukes and no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/unmovic/2003/0630selling.htm

2002 – DIA to Bush: "no evidence of chemical weapons" http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/Pentagon/us-dod-iraqchemreport-060703.htm

2002 – CIA warns Bush that uranium story is false
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/6362092.htm

2002 - State Dept. warns Bush that Iraq doesn't have a nuclear program.
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/Iraq/declassifiedintellreport.pdf


2003 - 3rd UN report shows no WMDs
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/14/sprj.irq.un/

2003 - IAEA warns Bush that there are no nukes or programs.
http://www.thesunlink.com/redesign/2003-02-15/nationworld/74730.shtml

2003 - CIA reports to Bush again: still no evidence of WMD
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3340723/

Then on March 20th, despite the advice of the vast majority of US intelligence, and the intelligence of the UN, IAEA and the British who realized their uranium story mistake, Bush invaded Iraq anyway.

I am sure you will bog me down with heckling and mitigating and claiming there was no "clear" picture so the matter is "debatable," but the point actually is that you are wrong, the clearest picture from nearly all of the intelligence agencies was that there were no WMD in Iraq.

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Everard
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"My point here isn't that the government necessarily did the right thing (although I believe it did). My point is that decisions aren't made with the benefit of hindsight, and to use what we find or don't find in Iraq to condemn or vindicate a decision made without that information is folly."

I'll reiterate here, though, that if you make a decision hastily, and at the time you are told you are making a hasty decision, and then that decision turns out to based on information that is wrong, and you may have disocvered that the information you acted on is wrong if you had held off on making the decision, you can be criticized for making the wrong decision, because you didn't need to actually decide.

Going back to your poker analogy... Bush is the man with 2-3 who went all in without looking at his cards.

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
I am sure you will bog me down with heckling and mitigating and claiming there was no "clear" picture so the matter is "debatable," but the point actually is that you are wrong, the clearest picture from nearly all of the intelligence agencies was that there were no WMD in Iraq.
Yeah, because posting links that contradict those and pointing out the uncertainty about which even those reports were quite explicit, would be bogging you down.

Never mind what the UN actually said -- because I linked to Hans Blix's reports to the President of the Security Council many times in the run-up to the war. Consistently, the message was [and I'll paraphrase here, I can provide links if you like]:
"Well, he has several weapons systems that he shouldn't have (but we're dismantling them as we come across them), he built weapons he shouldn't have since Desert Storm, he may have the capacity to restart these weapons programs, and there remain thousands of tons of materiel that Saddam has not accounted for. Our estimates of what he should still have do not match up with what Saddam is claiming, and he's snowing us. We need more time to search for the weapons that have disappeared without explanation or documentation of their disposal."
Combined with Saddam's unwillingness to cooperate over the course of the previous decade, and his known propensity for playing a shell game with weapons and documents and other things, there was reason to be suspicious.

Oh, and about the uranium story... well, there are many ways to break down that debate. QandO (by now everyone knows that's my favorite blog) had a little internal debate on that this April:
Iraq Uranium Intel: "Fake But True"
Iraq Uranium Intel Redux
It's never as clear-cut as partisans make it out to be. And yes, I mean that for both sides.

Now, I can admit that I was wrong about a number of things. But let's not rewrite history.

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javelin
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quote:
Daruma, as the report said, these chemicals are less harmful than most household cleaners and solvents now. That doesn't mean I'd like to bathe with them, but I would not be afraid of being around them or handling them.
Actually, wrong. I quoted the report. They didn't say anything of the sort. Why do you keep repeating this?
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javelin
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quote:
As to American intelligence, the majority of American Intelligence, including the CIA, DoE, FBI, State Department, DIA, and the NSA believed Iraq did not have the WMD that the Bush admin. said they did, nor the programs to make them. I would say that these, versus the singular Office of Special Plans qualifies as over 90% of our intelligence agencies reporting in that Iraq was not a threat, an that the admin. was wrong. Why on earth would you ignore the majority of your intelligence agencies? Here are some of the links I found.
quote:
Then on March 20th, despite the advice of the vast majority of US intelligence, and the intelligence of the UN, IAEA and the British who realized their uranium story mistake, Bush invaded Iraq anyway.

I am sure you will bog me down with heckling and mitigating and claiming there was no "clear" picture so the matter is "debatable," but the point actually is that you are wrong, the clearest picture from nearly all of the intelligence agencies was that there were no WMD in Iraq.

Umm, no. This isn't true. The place where you go wrong is when you say a "significant portion of these agencies". That's just not the facts. The facts are that, as always, there were people in the organizations that didn't agree with the official line - that was being fed to everyone from those organizations. This is hardly surprising. What's surprising is that people seem to think this means that we should have known that the accepted wisdom of these organizations should have been ignored because of these views - these views that weren't accepted. Seems kinda silly.

The biggest problem is this is a "after the fact, made for TV story" - and it just doesn't fit the information being vetted at the time.

[ June 24, 2006, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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Liberal
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Javelin and WP, those are not dissenters in those agencies, those are the official, final reports from the agencies on those matters. You cannot say "there are always people who disagree" within these pyramidal command structures. Because even when there are, they do not get to state opinion for the collective agency like that. Please show me how the CIA, FBI, DIA, etc. contradicted these reports that I have posted.

WP, I am getting sick of seeing that cherry picked line from Hans Blix letter saying he thinks hidden weapons might be found, in light of all the other myriad evidence it hardly means anything.

I say again, the majority of American intelligence issued the statements I have posted above. If so, how can it be reasonable for anyone to claim there was a pro-wmd consensus?

[ June 24, 2006, 12:31 PM: Message edited by: Liberal ]

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WarrsawPact
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Liberal - I don't recall cherry-picking any line at all from Hans Blix. I paraphrased the reports he gave in the months leading up to the invasion. Would you like links?

I mean, I love how you titled that UN/CNN link.
The actual link says:
quote:
U.N. report reinforces Security Council divisions

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The chief U.N. weapons inspectors' reports Friday gave the divided Security Council members more ammunition to bolster their opposing positions on whether Iraq is cooperating with efforts to verify its disarmament or should face "serious consequences."

You say:
quote:
2003 - 3rd UN report shows no WMDs
And I never claimed consensus. Don't try to put words in my mouth. It never works out.

[ June 24, 2006, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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Liberal
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javelin, here is the quote from the Kay report:
quote:
They probably would have been intended for chemical attacks during the Iran-Iraq War, said David Kay, who headed the U.S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq from 2003 until early 2004.

He said experts on Iraq's chemical weapons are in "almost 100 percent agreement" that sarin nerve agent produced from the 1980s would no longer be dangerous.

"It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point," Kay said.

And any of Iraq's 1980s-era mustard would produce burns, but it is unlikely to be lethal, Kay said.

WP, relax, some of that paragraph was addressed to you, some of it wasn't, that's why it said both WP and Javelin. Noone wants to put any words in your mouth, ok?To be honest with you, I have seen you post that line from Blix before. Also, that link does show there were no WMDs in Iraq according to the teams, they hadn't found any yet and they were asking for more time, which was my point.

[ June 24, 2006, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: Liberal ]

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WarrsawPact
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Problem: that wasn't an actual quote. I was paraphrasing.

And the things I was paraphrasing were:
Hans Blix's January 27 (2003) report to the President of the Security Council (provided at UN website).
Hans Blix's February 14 report (provided by the Guardian)
Hans Blix's March 7 report (provided by CNN)

There was at least enough uncertainty at the time that Blix reported:
quote:
The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed.


Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tonnes and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said, that the agent was never weaponised. Iraq said that the small quantity of agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.

There are also indications that the agent was weaponised. In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX precursor chemicals, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

I would now like to turn to the so-called “Air Force document” that I have discussed with the Council before. This document was originally found by an UNSCOM inspector in a safe in Iraqi Air Force Headquarters in 1998 and taken from her by Iraqi minders. It gives an account of the expenditure of bombs, including chemical bombs, by Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War. I am encouraged by the fact that Iraq has now provided this document to UNMOVIC.

The document indicates that 13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi Air Force between 1983 and 1988, while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs. The amount of chemical agent in these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tonnes. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.

The discovery of a number of 122 mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions.

The investigation of these rockets is still proceeding. Iraq states that they were overlooked from 1991 from a batch of some 2,000 that were stored there during the Gulf War. This could be the case. They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.

The finding of the rockets shows that Iraq needs to make more effort to ensure that its declaration is currently accurate. During my recent discussions in Baghdad, Iraq declared that it would make new efforts in this regard and had set up a committee of investigation. Since then it has reported that it has found a further 4 chemical rockets at a storage depot in Al Taji.

Now, after the fact, it turns out that the UN was wrong about its suspicions in some places and also wrong not to suspect other things. (Turns out, the VX warheads I brought up over and over again leading up to the war were not, in fact, VX-filled. Whoops. Slight difference between artillery rounds having the deadliest chemical known to man, and not. There was also the case of a few VX-filled R-400's -- bombs designed and manufactured by the Iraqis.)

They wanted more time, and the US had been stalled a few times already. Stalling was one of Saddam's favorite tactics -- indeed, his M.O. -- that so frustrated UN inspectors that in 1998 they threatened to leave and let Coalition warplanes have free reign over Iraq again if Saddam didn't increase his compliance. Saddam made his choice, and the UN left (nowadays people say they were "kicked out," but this isn't true).

And there's plenty more. I had some knock-down, drag-out fights back in the lead-up to the war. One poster got so frustrated with me and my friend Tezcatlipoca that he ended up getting himself banned for his behavior.

Edited to add: As I remarked at the time, Saddam's mere failure to fully comply with UN resolutions demanding it made for several of the over twenty justifications Congress used to justify the war in Iraq. Blix wanted more time and made sure to sound optimistic in each of his reports -- constant reassurance that he saw "hopeful" signs and the like -- but when people start talking about connections to terrorist groups combined with unaccounted-for weapons that could kill thousands of people at a time, it's understandable to have a sense of urgency.

[ June 24, 2006, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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