One of the repeated calumnies made against President Bush (say it again… President Bush…. slowly…. savor every syllable) was that he went to war against Iraq based on false pretenses. From President Bush’s ultimatum speech to Iraq on March 17, 2003, back in the days when we drew “red lines” we meant it:
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.
For a decade it has been an article of faith on the left and in the media that these chemical munitions did not exist.
Yesterday, a New York Times report revealed that not only did we find chemical weapons in Iraq but US troops were injured by them:
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Gabe Malor at AofSHQ gives a great run down of the whole story.
In a society still bound by rules of behavior, at least one newspaper that carried stories and columns castigating President Bush for invading Iraq and not finding chemical weapons would have the decency to apologize. One can’t help but notice that the entire New York Times piece does not mention the controversy in any but the most oblique manner. (Be sure to read Steve Berman’s excellent diary). The Washington Post goes even further:
These were not the “weapons of mass destruction” the George W. Bush administration used to justify invading Iraq in 2003. Rather, the Times said, the troops were injured when they stumbled across old, often corroded shells and warheads procured for use in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
The weapons were not the military threat to the United States described by the Bush administration. But the deadly sarin and mustard gas agents troops found were potent enough to cause injury, the paper reported. Unaware of the munitions’ content — which sometimes spilled on to their clothes and skin — as many as 17 soldiers were exposed, and some received haphazard, inadequate medical care.
This statement, by a Washington Post editor named Fred Brabash, is nothing short of a blatant lie.
The fact is that these are the same weapons (weapons of mass destruction is a term that encompasses nuclear, biological, and chemical munitions) that we went to war over. We were concerned about weapons Iraq had in its possession from before the Gulf War. While there was concern than Iraq was pursuing clandestine nuclear and biological weapons programs, we knew there were stockpiles of chemical weapons left over from the Iran-Iraq War that had never been accounted for. This would be “the 1980s” in Brabash’s parlance. For those who have a hard time with numbers the 1980s ended eight months before Iraq invaded Kuwait. As Huffington Post documents in a piece that proves there were NO chemical weapons in Iraq, Colin Powell specifically mentioned these weapons his UN presentation… the one that he and his odious bootlick, Larry Wilkinson, eventually disavowed.
It is difficult to see how Brabash concludes in one breath that the 5,000 weapons posed no threat and in the next say that “as many as 17 soldiers” were injured.
Hopefully, this report will put to rest the entire “Bush Lied” shibboleth one needs to mouth to gain membership to the left or the media. Saddam Hussein did possess a significant stock of chemical weapons even after UN weapons inspector and convicted sexual predator Scott Ritter gave him a clean bill of health. That people like Brabash, and media like the Washington Post, would continue to insist on pushing a lie is just shameful.