NY Times discovers that Saddam did have WMDs after all
President Bush “lied” about Iraq’s WMDs – thus goes the article of faith among liberals, endlessly repeated by the likes of Ron Fournier and Jon Stewart as a kind of progressive catechism. Except that it is a libel, as even the New York Times indirectly acknowledges today.
C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt write:
The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.
The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
Note that despite the firestorm of slander the Bush administration endured over its “lies” on WMD, the president never acted to declassify the information on the CIA buyback program, and as a result today it is an article of faith on the left that he lied us into war.
At the time of the invasion of Iraq, there was no way to know that:
These munitions were remnants of an Iraqi special weapons program that was abandoned long before the 2003 invasion,
they turned up sporadically during the American occupation in buried caches, as part of improvised bombs or on black markets.
The CIA’s program appears to have put at risk soldiers who were not warned of the risks they faced in handling these potent weapons:
Not long after Operation Avarice had secured its 400th rocket, in 2006, American troops were exposed several times to other chemical weapons. Many of these veterans said that they had not been warned by their units about the risks posed by the chemical weapons and that their medical care and follow-up were substandard, in part because military doctors seemed unaware that chemical munitions remained in Iraq.
In some cases, victims of exposure said, officers forbade them to discuss what had occurred. The Pentagon now says hundreds of other veterans reported on health-screening forms that they believed they too had been exposed during the war.
Aaron Stein, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the belated acknowledgment of a chemical-rocket purchases, as well as the potentially worrisome laboratory analysis of the related sarin samples, raised questions about the military’s commitment to the well-being of those it sent to war.
We have been fed a line of bull over Saddam and WMDs.