U.S. Troops Were Injured by Old WMDs in Iraq, Which Doesn’t Mean Bush Was Right – By Margaret Hartmann October 15, 2014 4:18 a.m


Photo: MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

In a bombshell report on Tuesday night, the New York Times‘ C. J. Chivers revealed the existence of a “largely secret chapter” in the Iraq War. Between 2004 and 2011, American troops and Iraqi police officers repeatedly found chemical weapons produced by Saddam Hussein’s regime before 1991, and at least 17 U.S. service members were wounded by deteriorating shells filled with nerve or mustard agents. The men suffered burns, severe blisters, respiratory problems, and other long-lasting health problems, but the U.S. government prevented the troops from receiving medical care, and refused to recognize that they had been wounded in the line of duty. And to make matters worse, ISIS now controls the area where most of the weapons were found.

There’s a lot of infuriating information in the 10,000-word report and accompanying documentary. Instead, conservatives quickly pounced on one point that isn’t even true:  U.S. troops found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so President Bush was right to invade.

It’s well known that Saddam Hussein produced chemical weapons in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war, and by 2003 the shells and rockets were so old and damaged that they could not be used as designed. The Times report makes it abundantly clear that these were not the WMDs the Bush administration was referring to in the lead up to the war. This is the tenth paragraph:

The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.

A few paragraphs down, Chivers makes the point even more explicitly:

The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.

The Times reports that “American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs,” which is far more than previously reported, but it’s been known for the past decade that old chemical weapons were found in Iraq.

Article continues:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/us-troops-were-injured-by-old-wmds-in-iraq.html

An inconvenient truth: Destroying chemical weapons depends on the government’s military success Dec 14th 2013


NOBODY thought it would be easy to transport several hundred tonnes of highly toxic chemical agents on a road that runs through territory fought over by two sides in a civil war. Speaking in Oslo on December 9th, a day before collecting the Nobel peace prize awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, its head, warned that a December 31st deadline for getting the Syrian government’s most lethal substances out of the country would be “quite difficult” to meet.

Yet much has been achieved. A joint team from the UN and The Hague-based OPCW was sent to Syria two months ago as part of a deal to avert an American missile strike in response to President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on August 21st. Co-operation from the Syrian government, which has a legal responsibility for implementing the plan, has been all that could have been hoped for, says Sigrid Kaag, a Dutch diplomat who leads the mission. Key milestones for the verification of chemical-weapons stockpiles and the functional destruction of the facilities where they have been produced were met on time (October 27th and November 1st, respectively). Of 23 sites, 22 were visited by inspectors. The one that proved inaccessible because of fighting is believed to have been dismantled and abandoned.

First, the weapons must be sealed and packaged in special containers brought across the border from Lebanon by Syrian technicians who have been trained there by OPCW specialists. Then they must be transported by road from multiple sites to Syria’s biggest port, Latakia. Once there, they will be loaded onto ships provided by Norway and Denmark and taken to an American government-owned vessel, the Cape Ray, a 200-metre (650-foot) cargo ship that is part of a reserve fleet used for transporting military hardware.

Article continues:

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21591632-destroying-chemical-weapons-depends-governments-military-success

President Obama: ‘Less concerned about style points’


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To see video click the picture above or this link:http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obama-interview-syria-style-points-96812.html?hp=f2

By BYRON TAU | 9/15/13 9:01 AM EDT Updated: 9/15/13 6:58 PM EDT
President Barack Obama pushed back on Sunday against the notion that his administration had bungled the response to the Syrian crisis.

In a taped interview that aired a day after his administration hammered out a draft agreement with Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he is more worried about the substance of that agreement than the political optics.

“I’m less concerned about style points, I’m much more concerned about getting the policy right,” Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “What I’ve said consistently throughout is that — the chemical weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with.” Obama — who initially called for punitive military action against against Syria before a workable diplomatic plan emerged last week — said that a bad policy could have a smooth rollout and vice versa.

“Folks here in Washington like to grade on style,” Obama said. “Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy.”

“We know that, ’cause that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War until it ended up blowing [up] in our face,” Obama said.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obama-interview-syria-style-points-96812.html#ixzz2f0UKe2y9

Syria accepts Russian chemical weapons proposal – Interfax


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(Reuters) – The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control to avoid a possible U.S. military strike, Interfax news agency quoted Syria’s foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.

“We held a very fruitful round of talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday, and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening we agreed to the Russian initiative,” Interfax quoted the minister, Walid al-Moualem, as telling the speaker of Russia’s lower house parliament house in Moscow.

He said Syria had agreed because this would “remove the grounds for American aggression,” the report said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/us-syria-crisis-chemical-proposal-idUSBRE9890IZ20130910