View Full Version : Iraq: Smoking Gun Found...Does It Matter Now?
Mon, 7th Apr '03, 5:42pm
In addition to this story: http://www.msnbc.com/news/895392_asp.htm?vts=040720030810 , I also heard on NPR and 2 other news radio programs this morning that coalition troops have siezed a warehouse in Iraq containing 20 mid-range, twenty-foot surface-to-surface missiles, all fully armed with a high-impact load of nerve agents and mustard gas. If confirmed, this would be a clear case of the proverbial 'weapons of mass destruction' Iraq has insisted they don't have, and the evidence the U.S. and Britain needs to justify their actions.
My question here is, does that matter now?
Will critics of this war now change their tune and support it, at least at a modest level? Do you see France admitting, "Ok, so maybe they do have them after all. My bad!" Will this discovery change anything? To you, does this new evidence make the international opposition wrong for trying to delay the war, or right because more inspections might have eventually discovered these weapons anyway?
Mon, 7th Apr '03, 6:14pm
Initial tests at the site were positive for chemical weapons, so more sophisticated gear — a mobile testing unit provided by the German government — was brought in. ironic
About two miles away, tests indicated the presence of GB, or sarin, in what was apparently a training camp. But sarin is also used in low levels in pesticides, which were found at the camp, so it is not clear if the facility is a nerve agent site or merely an agricultural facility.1. As it looks now, any Home Garden might be more dangerous.
2. Even if it were WOM, it wouldn't change anything, because the inspectors would have found it in this case anyway.
3. It wouldn't change the opinion of any country opposed to the war, because that the "we have to disarm them" argument was so weak (reason see 2.), that the US-Goverment dropped it (versus the outside world) and exchanged it with "regime change, we will reshape the middle East, rebuild Irak..". So opposing the war has nothing to do with WOM's anyway, because it was hilarious argumentation from the beginning.
Actually, the argumentation of the countries that oppose the war bases on different issues.
[ April 07, 2003, 18:34: Message edited by: Yago ]
Mon, 7th Apr '03, 7:37pm
The CBR stuff has become a moot point for me.
But I will say this.
I keep in mind that the "evidence" can very well be planted. There would be massive fallout if it were ever brought to light, so I do consider that there is a large deterrant. But I still consider the possibility that what we have found, right now, was sent in Fedex.
Also, I pretty much figure they had some of the good stuff, and they'd been working on it for the past 10 years. How much, and where they stashed it is the question, right now. I wouldn't be surprised if they shipped a lot of it over to Syria, or even Iran and Saudia Arabia, when it was obvious that we were going to move in.
Part of me hopes we find out about it from someone actually using the stuff. And the other half doesn't want to see people die for that knowledge...
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 1:31am
Yes, at this point it seems more like, "Who cares?" Bush has lost it the day he went after Saddam against the U.N. It becomes moot and academic since whether such things are found or not, Bush will have his Iraq, and the the general presumption is that the underlying thought of all this is that he's in it not for the supposed "punishment" of Saddam, but simply for Iraq's oil.
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 1:42am
I tend to agree.I think that most of countries and people that oppose the war never doubted he had these weapons,the opposition comes more from how to make Iraq work after the war.
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 2:24am
I disagree. It is a huge deal. I think people are only focusing on areas outside the US. Inside the US, if this all went down and they didn't find any type of WMD or evidence thereof there would be massive ramifications. The existence of such weapons is THE reason most of the US backs the war, without them, lots of upset people in the US limiting the administrations ability to act in the future. This is a really big deal within the US at the very least.
Chandos the Red
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 3:00am
It seems strange that they found these weapons unused. If they are legit, I'm glad Saddam didn't have the chance - or was unwilling -- to use them on our guys. However, the war is not over yet, so if he has such weapons there is still a remote chance that he may yet use them. Also, if anyone has seen the pix of those barrels - the ones that look as if they are in a mud hole - that are supposed to be WMD, it looks like they have been there since the great flood.
But I agree with Yago, the reasons for this war have changed too many times. I saw Wolfowitz on Meet the Press yesterday morning, and it appears they are sticking with the "regime change" story for now, since we are "bringing democracy to the Iraqi people." I hope someone bothered to ask them first. In the meantime it appears that Iraq has a regime change: The American military occupation. And that may last how long? Hope the Iraqis like it.
[ April 08, 2003, 03:18: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 4:01am
I'm sure that Saddam has WMO, or at least he had them. He would have been a fool to use them on the American troops, though. We'll probably never find those weapons now -- Saddam had lots of time from the point he booted the inspectors out of Iraq to hide them, sell them to the highest bidder, or whatever. My thesis has always been that it really doesn't matter what he has or doesn't have -- he has been in clear violation of all UN resolutions regarding his regime's behaviour since the end of the last Gulf War. On the basis of those violations, he needs to be ousted.
I also wouldn't put it past the Americans to plant information, or to classify every bottle of Javex they find as a chemical weapon, but as I have said before, there really is no comparison between Iraqi depredations and American screw-ups. The horrors of the Iraqi regime are a whole order of magnitude worse than anything the American's have done.
Chandos the Red
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 5:05am
Well, the word is that Saddam is dead now -- media outlets are claiming that they have gotten him. Knowing that the US was going to assassinate him sooner or later, why was he a fool not to use all of his weapons? I am glad he didn't (for the sake of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians), but the one thing we all agree on is that he was a ruthless manic, with nothing to loose anyway.
[ April 08, 2003, 05:12: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 5:11am
True enough, Chandos, but I don't believe they got him. If they did, though, maybe he never had a chance to put his plan for use of chemical or biological weapons into play? You know what Burns said: "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Chandos the Red
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 5:15am
That could be, but they seem pretty sure they got him -- In any event, I say, good -- Good Riddance, Saddam!
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 6:18pm
I hope they got him too, though I have my doubts. If they did, and this conflict will hopefully be over soon, I hope Bush and Blair follow through with the promises they laid out today. With all the scrutiny on this war, I don't see how they can deviate. They both have a lot to lose.
Tue, 8th Apr '03, 6:31pm
I would very much wonder if the weapons would be intact still. 10 years of storage do woundrous things to chemical weapons. Usually their filling has to be refreshed after 5 years of storage. Only few agents, *pure* (and that is very difficult to produce) VX for example, can be stored for longer periods.
Or as ex-UN inspector Ritter called it: "Even if Iraq managed to hide these weapons, what they are now hiding is harmless goo (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4504072,00.html)" And as the US and the brits both had a chemical corps during the cold war they knew that too because of their long-year experience with c-weapons. So that is not yet and has never been a justification for war. A justification for inspections, yes.
But I'm sure the US will adequately stress the dangers of their findings. Eventually they have to convince the world on how dangerous and evil Saddam was/is. And the more dangerous he is, the greater the victory. And the juster the cause.
Wed, 9th Apr '03, 5:04am
True enough Laches.I glossed over the fact that without chemical weapons Bush and company will lose alot of support for this effort here in the States.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 10:35am
An Iraqi Kurdish exile living here told me that he was sure that Iraq had them, since he was in the military at the time.
Notice that he said "had"....
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 1:19pm
There has never seriously been a doubt Iraq *had* them. He even used them. Against the kurds - how mean. I mean, gassing them is much crueller than killing them by normal air raids ... or torture ... or the usual iraqi ways.
It's really remarkable that no US official takes offence on Saddam using gas *massively* against the iranians. That caused much more casualties and wasn't less cruel as the iranians were just as unprotected as the kurds. But, on the other hand, that might remember some nitpicks that the US provided encouraging (by emissaries like ... Rumsfeld) and know how for that part.
But there also has been little doubt that the inspectors destroyed a lot in iraq. The problem is that the iraqis were pretty effective in covering their activities. That resulted in the US and the UK beeing mainly uninformed about iraq, that became most evident with Blair's humiliating debacle with the forged Al Quaida-Iraq connection-proof report.
And considering Rumsfeld's speech yesterday ... We still need to find and secure Iraq's weapons of mass destruction facilities and secure Iraq's borders so we can prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction materials and senior regime officials out of the country. We still must find out everything we can about how the Iraqi regime acquired its capabilities and the proliferation that took place by countries in the industrialized world. We need to locate Iraqi scientists with knowledge of these programs. And we're asking people to come forward and help in this effort. Rewards are available to those who help us prevent the disappearance of personnel, documentation and materials. Good lives and a better future are possible for those who turn themselves in and choose to cooperate with coalition forces.from: press release (http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030409-secdef0084.html) ... the US still don't seem to know too much about Saddam's weapon projects. Seemingly the US have been relying on rumours or assumptions.
Now that, on the other hand somehow weakens the first argument on why Saddam has to be removed: That he *has/had* WMDs. Seemingly Rummy and crew now eagerly seek for proof they were justified ... wasn't this meant to be a preventive war? But if you have no proof, just guesses - what are you going to prevent (http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2003/01/13/tomo/index.html) ?
The threat by WMDs from Iraq and Saddam was vastly exaggerated. The Iraq-Al Quaida connection was constructed, proven wrong eventually, but still Rummy is claiming to search for terrorists (http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2002/08/26/tomo/index.html) in iraq. That would be ridiculous wouldn't iraqis have to die for this madness.
Saddam and his WMDs were just an excuse to get a foothold in the middle east.
PS: Thanks to Slappy and Ironbeard :wave:
[ April 10, 2003, 13:52: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 5:12pm
I find it funny how people think that intelligence in a foreign state is so easy to come by. If it's so easy to find out information a government is actively trying to hide, then why the surprise over North Korea's nuclear capability, and Iran's advances in the nuclear arena?
Intelligence is often not concrete, but when enough evidence points toward a certain conclusion, it's wise to accept it as true. Even in the US criminal justice system, a person can be convicted of a crime on purely circumstantial evidence if there's enough of it to convince the jurors that that is the correct conclusion.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 6:11pm
But this is not about a criminal case but the invasion of another country. What I wanted to hint at is that the US wanted to invade Iraq anyway. Most certainly not because of the WMDs or the human rights situation (the US give a **** about that - have you seen them invading Uganda? Kenia? Burma? Nigeria?). They build the base for justification based on what they find when they succeeded.
Transferred to a criminal case it might be like like shooting a notorious criminal at the spot (the world is better off without that bastard anyway) because he's behaving so secretive and conspicious anyway, and as you never trusted him you're sure you'll find evidence that justifies the kill on his body. Like a smoking gun perhaps?
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 6:26pm
No, I'd say it's more like a convicted criminal whose been put on probation and is required to meet with his probation officer and is no longer allowed to possess weapons. This criminal then refuses to meet with his probation officer, and there are people claiming that they've seen him with weapons. When the police confront him, instead of coming clean, he locks himself in his apartment and dares the police to come in and get him.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 6:31pm
Unfortunately this very probation officer has entitled himself.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 6:34pm
Nope, in this case the probation officer is the UN, and the coalition is the police officer.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 8:54pm
Uhm ... did I miss the UN approving that war? I mean it was a very unsmart move of the US to urge for a second resolution only to skip it when it became obvious that the US and UK wouldn't get a majority.
It is kinda "un-credible" to withdraw then on the point of view that the first resolution had authority enough to go for war. So in this case the UN was not really the probation officer.
Thu, 10th Apr '03, 9:27pm
No, see the probation officer is the guy checking on you to make sure you're following the restrictions of your probation; therefore the UN checking on Iraq to make sure they're complying with the resolutions.
The police officer in this case is the coalition who upon seeing the criminal breaking his probation, brings him to justice.
[Edit] Ack! How lame do I feel for having to explain my metaphor? :lol:
[ April 10, 2003, 21:38: Message edited by: Blackthorne TA ]
Fri, 11th Apr '03, 3:20pm
The police officer in this case is the coalition who upon seeing the criminal breaking his probation, brings him to justice. Excuse me BTA but i can't understand which probation exactly Saddam broke, or at least the evidence he broke his probation where are they; Did he attacked a country; Don't tell me about human rights violations every country has dirt in this sector. Tell me something about the disarmament violation.
Fri, 11th Apr '03, 3:49pm
I find it funny how people think that intelligence in a foreign state is so easy to come by. If it's so easy to find out information a government is actively trying to hide, then why the surprise over North Korea's nuclear capability, and Iran's advances in the nuclear arena?Surprise, what surprise ? They knew it all along, it was just not the right time to make a fuss about it.
I.E. some South Koreans and Japanese might think it's offensive, that some other country interferes with their approach on how to deal with North Korea.
Besides, the point is, it's not possible to stop China and India from growing to superpowers. Nor is it possible to avert any country, who reaches that state of development, to research Nuclear Energy. This Research may be used to build Nuclear weapons or to build nuclear powerplants.
It's like chemicals. Are this chemicals for medicine or shampoos, or are the for WMD's. It's pretty hard to decide, because chemical components have usually no say in how they're going to be used.
[ April 11, 2003, 15:55: Message edited by: Yago ]
Fri, 11th Apr '03, 4:24pm
Mithrantir - If you believe Iraq was living up to its agreements with the UN, exactly why do you think economic sanctions were imposed on them by the UN?
Yago - No, it was a surprise, because there was a framework under which North Korea agreed not to pursue nuclear weapons technology in return for "safer" technology nuclear reactors and shipments of fuel oil until they were built. Since they made this agreement, and were also part of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, it was most assuredly a surprise.
By the way, India and Pakistan are not part of the NPT, so they are not under its constraints, and China was a nuclear power before the NPT.