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News flash: sun rises in east

A Harris poll recently conducted indicated that the percentage of Americans who believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the invasion has risen in the last year, from 36% to 50%. "The survey did not speculate on what caused the shift in opinion," but here's a little clue:

The United States found over 500 chemical weapons in Iraq.

The big surprise isn't why the number has increased to 50%, but what the hell is wrong with the other 50% who can't handle simple logic:

  • "Weapons of Mass Destruction" are defined as nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.
  • Poison gas is a chemical weapon.
  • Artillery shells containing poison gas were found in Iraq.
  • Conclusion: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Comments (41)

Because of the remaining 50... (Below threshold)

Because of the remaining 50%, half of them believe the US "planted" them there, the other half believe the liberal news media, which has somehow failed to mention the fact that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction all along, as predicted!

A poison gas shell contains... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

A poison gas shell contains nearly a gallon of Sarin or mustard gas. A gallon of poison gas weighs between eight to ten pounds. 500 times 8 equals 4000 pounds -- two TONS.

You have to be either foolishly credulous or simply unable to face reality to believe that Saddam Hussain had no WMD. And please, no arguments that these shells were past their "use by" dates. Mustard gas keeps almost indefinately. WWI era duds will poison French farmers unlucky to unearth them today. Sarin deteriorates more quickly, but a single 15-year-old sarin shell still contains enough effective poison to kill a high-rise filled with people if put in the ventilation system by terrorists.

Cobra II -- a book that depreciates the WMD threat posed by Saddam -- reveals that AFTER the Gulf War, AFTER Saddam solemnly swore to destroy all his stocks of poison gas, that the Iraqis dropped 21 bombs filled with sarin gas on the Shia revolting in Southern Iraq. And we only found out about it after we captured Baghdad.

So, all of you WMD-deniers, do ypirself a favor -- try convincing us that the Holocaust never happened. That is a more credible position than denying that Hussain had, used, and intended to use WMD following the Gulf War.

Come on, people. Even if y... (Below threshold)

Come on, people. Even if you don't trust a report leaked by Rass Sanatorum, there are many other things to read up on.

Surely you trust Google? Search for Cliton Iraq 1998. Search Iraq 1.77 tons.

It's not new information.

I personally don't know any... (Below threshold)

I personally don't know anyone who "denies" that Iraq had some chemical weapons stockpiled. The weapons inspectors knew as well. It's most likely stuff we sold to Saddam in the eighties. It's funny, but I don't recollect being told that the need for an urgent invasion and occupation of Iraq was to find some old caches of sarin and mustard gas. Where's the administration on this? You'd think they'd be bragging this up big time. Maybe they know it's nothing sigificant.

If you need to cobble this kind of stuff into a justification for Bush's pathetic Iraq blundering, that's sad, but these pareticular chemical weapons are not, and never were, part of the reason for starting a fight with Iraq. Just ask the decider himself.

LOL, that is wingnutty!... (Below threshold)

LOL, that is wingnutty!

Experts said the gas contained within the shells would give someone exposed to it a minor RASH. They were old ... over 20 years old. They were forgotten remnants of Iraqs war with Iran. They were a danger mostly to be with sensitive skin!!!

C'mon, everyone grab your s... (Below threshold)

C'mon, everyone grab your shovels and start digging, time to move the goalposts.

What is truly nutty is the ... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

What is truly nutty is the anti-war (read anti-Bush) crowd's ability to ignore facts.

Mustard gas is a disabling gas. It is intended to provide injuries that take a long time to heal. While one could typify the damage mustard gas does as "a minor rash" (if your exposure is small enough and on the skin only, it is) it is well to point out that "a minor rash" in your lungs is enough to disable a person. Exploding a mustard gas shell vaporizes it and allows it to be inhaled. Inhaling mustard gas crippled tens of thousands in WWI.

Next, the shells are dismissed as "forgotten remnants of Iraqs war with Iran." Whicjh explains why Saddam Hussain and his merry madmen dropped 21 forgotten remnants of Iraqs war with Iran on the Shia AFTER the end of the Gulf War. (And remember this inconvenient fact is presented in a book that proports to demonstrate that Iraq had no credible WMD threat -- Cobra II).

Of course we also have to ignore the fact that Sarin was originally developed by the Germans using Dow Chemical patents for insecticide. (That is one reason the Germans did not use Sarin in WWII -- they were sure the also US had it.) And the Iraqis had plenty of innocent "insecticide" plants, and precursors for producing "insecticide" in Iraq in 2003. (This in a country run by a man who had repeatedly used sarin against his enemies -- including using it AFTER he pledged to destroy all such weapons.

But, never mind. Saddam Hussain's Iraq posed no chemical threat to anyone, and if you believe otherwise, you must be a wingnut.

Yeah, right. Tell me another fairy tale. How about "once upon a time Bush stole Ohio in 2004 . . ." Or maybe, "other than killing 35 million people, that Stalin, he wasn't that bad a guy . . ."

You have to remember that s... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

You have to remember that secular-socialism is the RELIGION of the American lefties*. It is their dogma that Iraq had no WMD. For them to admit anything else regardless of the facts and overwhelming evidence would be a rejection of everything they've ever believed all their lives.

That's the difference between thinking people and left wingers like groucho and omohzihusb above. Thinking people want to look at ALL available evidence and come to a logical conclusion based on that evidence. Lefties come to conclusion first then try to find evidence that supports their conclusion. If they can't find it the fabricate it. Any facts that do not support their preconception, they dismiss or totally ignore.

A good example is Michael Moore. On 9/11/01, within hours of the attack, he had already decided that Bush was the mastermind behind it. This conclusion was based on nothing but his totally evil and hate-filled mind. He then spent years looking for evidence to support is false pre-conception. Failing to find any, he simply turned to lies and deception and in doing so exemplified the spirit of the Democrat part and won for himself a place of honor amongst the lefties.

It the same thing with WMD. They can't handle the truth so they turn to Pope Howard Dean and Cardinal Markos Mulistas for religious guidance.

(*With all due respect to Ann, I'd come to this conclusion years ago.)

It is the religion of the L... (Below threshold)

It is the religion of the Loony Left. It is an article of faith that no WMD existed pre-March 2003, despite massive documentary, and now physical, evidence to the contrary.

Isn't this the self-described "Reality-based Community." Depends on your idea of "reality."

It's scarey that 50% in the poll can't bring themselves to the apparent conclusion. Says something about the degradation of our school systems, our Press, and our political leadership (especially in the Party of Dean, Waters, Murtha, and Sh$pt$n).

Hey P.-Reread my post! I'm ... (Below threshold)

Hey P.-Reread my post! I'm part of the 50% that accepts the fact that Iraq had/has some old chemical weapons liying around (that we were bound to stumble on sooner or later). I'm also part of the way more than 50% of "thinking people" who believe that they were never a threat the way they were trumped up to be in the pre-invasion frenzy.

So, groucho, you admit that... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

So, groucho, you admit that Saddam violated one of the most imporant terms of his 1991 surrender, that he account for and destroy all his WMDs? Welcome aboard our side!


LOL!! And the "pre-invasion... (Below threshold)

LOL!! And the "pre-invasion frenzy" that took 15 years...followed by overwhelming support in Congress and at the UN...TWICE!!

Some frenzy!

groucho,Read my po... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


Read my post: "Any facts that do not support their preconception, they dismiss or totally ignore."

What you're trying to spin here is in no way different than those who say they never existed.

Sure you'll adapt you religious domga slightly so you can feel, and believe in your own mind, that you're not a total nut job, but to thinking people you still appear to be a nut job.

What are the conclusions dr... (Below threshold)

What are the conclusions drawn by the Kay and Duelfer reports regarding the lethality of these muntions?


I have a question...can any... (Below threshold)

I have a question...can anyone clarify these seeming inconsistencies of what we've been seeing about Saddam's reign?

1) The Iraqis are/were meticulous record keepers. Saddam had transcripts and video and audio of like every meeting with everybody that he had. We've got warehouses of documents from Baghdad and beyond.

2) Somehow these older WMDs, hundreds and hundreds of them, just went missing? We're to understand that they just sort of fell through the cracks when Saddam was busily destroying all his other WMDs.

Now I'm not making the argument that these older weapons were anything other than that, I'm just curious as to whether anyone has seen any attempts to reconcile the 'meticulous record keepers' with people that 'lost' hundreds and hundreds of chemical weapons, which, by the way, seemed to be the apple of Saddam's eye.

Saddam: "And where are those sarin warheads? I've got an itching to use a few!"

Lackey: "Ummm...What warheads?"

Where's the spin? I accept ... (Below threshold)

Where's the spin? I accept the existence of the chemical weapons. I,along with many other nut jobs, including some in the administration, question both their lethality as well as the threat they represent(ed). There are facts and there are interpretations of same. Clearly we disagree. Just because you're mistaken doesn't make you a nut job.

By the way, my religious dogma has nothing to do with this. Stick to the topic, you'll have a more convincing argument.

But groucho, as fair as you... (Below threshold)

But groucho, as fair as your point is, the question in the poll does not take into account such nuance. It was a yes or no question, and a "yes, but..." counts as a yes. So I assume we can put you in the yes category?

And what is also funny is they way the report spins it---that it is somehow surprising that more people are correctly answering that yes or no questions.

keep this up and you righti... (Below threshold)

keep this up and you righties will all go blind...

Wait! It's too late!

and why no link to the Harr... (Below threshold)

and why no link to the Harris poll results, Jay?

Found <a href="http://www.h... (Below threshold)

Found the data. No wonder there was no link. This is sad news for the bad news bears.

Specifically, the survey finds:

* By 56 to 37 percent, a majority is not confident that Iraq will be successful in developing a stable and reasonably democratic government. This has improved slightly from November 2005, when a larger 61 to 32 majority felt this way.
* Furthermore, a large 68 to 28 majority thinks the United States is less respected around the world as a result of the invasion in Iraq. This is worse from a year ago in June 2005 when, by 62 to 33, a majority felt the U.S. was less respected.

Attitudes toward the Iraq war

The public's views on Iraq have not changed substantially in the past year:

* A majority (56%) thinks that spending huge sums of money to invade and occupy Iraq has meant that a lot less money has been available to protect the United States against another terrorist attack. This has decreased from April 2005 when 62 percent agreed with this sentiment.
* Still, six in 10 (61%) adults agree (59% in April 2005) that invading and occupying Iraq has motivated more Islamic terrorists to attack the United States.
* By 58 to 41 percent, a clear majority does not think that invading Iraq has helped to reduce the threat of another terrorist attack against the United States. This is similar to the 61 to 39 percent majority that felt this way in April 2005.

What the public believes to be true

U.S. adults believe that the following are true about the war in Iraq:

* Seventy-two percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (slightly down from February 2005 when 76 percent said this was true).
* Just over half (55%) think history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq (down substantially from 64% in February 2005).
* Sixty-four percent say it is true that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (the same as 64% in February 2005).

Put me in the Not A Black &... (Below threshold)

Put me in the Not A Black & White Issue category. Put me in the One Who Appreciates Nuances category.

I'll refer people to <a hre... (Below threshold)

I'll refer people to this thread where these weapons were discussed at length. I'll re-quote a couple of relevant portions of the Deulfer report:

The war with Iran ended in August 1988. By this time, seven UN specialist missions had documented repeated use of chemicals in the war. According to Iraq, it consumed almost 19,500 chemical bombs, over 54,000 chemical artillery shells and 27,000 short-range chemical rockets between 1983 and 1988. Iraq declared it consumed about 1,800 tons of mustard gas, 140 tons of Tabun, and over 600 tons of Sarin. Almost two-thirds of the CW weapons were used in the last 18 months of the war.


Iraq declared in its 1996 Full, Final, and Complete Declaration (FFCD) that it produced 68,000 155mm sulfur mustard-filled rounds between 1981 and 1990. Of those produced, Iraq has not been able to account for the location or destruction of 550 155 mm shells. The bulk of 155mm destruction occurred between 1993 and 1994 and many of the log entries show that the mustard was partly polymerized, which is consistent with our findings in the recent sulfur mustard rounds.

And from the FoxNews report on the weapons:

Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."

So Iraq used almost 100,000 chemical weapons in the war with Iran, then destroyed virtually all of their weapons after the Gulf War, leaving 550 chemical shells unaccounted for. Whether these 550 are the shells we have been finding in Iraq is unknown, but we do know from the Pentagon that they are so old they are unusable as weapons, and that they were certainly not the weapons referred to in the justification for war (see Powell's speech to the UN, Bush's State of the Union, etc. No mention of old chemical weapons from the '80s in those speeches).

So yes, Jay, you can count me among the 50% of people who think that Iraq had WMDs. Old ass, deteriorated WMDs that were little threat to anyone at all, if any, let alone us.

Flash!!!! All lefties agree... (Below threshold)

Flash!!!! All lefties agree to have all the weapons found in Iraq stored in thier garage as they are not unsafe. ("pucker puss"--lee lee would like the 1st shipment)

Oh what the hell jhow66, se... (Below threshold)

Oh what the hell jhow66, send me a shipment too.

The neigbor's dog keeps me up at night, I would like to send a little ~WMD~ his way.

Oh what the hell jhow66,... (Below threshold)

Oh what the hell jhow66, send me a shipment too.

OK by me, as long as I have enough WMDs to take care of the ants in the backyard.

Did ya ever notice how tryi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Did ya ever notice how trying to convince a lefty that Iraq really was a threat (according the Duelfur Report as well as many, many other sources) is kinda like trying to convince a Pentecostal fundamentalist that the rapture is not imminent....

Not really, but I do notice... (Below threshold)

Not really, but I do notice that when confronted with commonly accepted factual info (see mantis' post) that contradicts their politicized, myopic viewpoint, an awful lot of people on this site just blow smoke, change the subject and/or resort to name-calling.

The problem I have with you... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

The problem I have with your position, mantis is the fact that prior to the War in Iraq beginning in 2003, absolutely nobody was willing to get up and publicly or even privately (in the case of the intelligence community) say that Saddam did not have any weapons and that he has ceased to be a threat to the United States.

Prior to the war beginning in 2003, we had stories in newspapers from back in the 1990s citing intelligence and administration officials expressing concern about Saddam's increasing attempts to establish relationships with religious extremists/terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden himself.

We even had Bill Clinton publicly aknowledging that as he left office, there were still huge amounts of WMDs unaccounted for by the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

So, while your point that the weapons found may not have been the specific weapons cited in the justification for war (though I do not remember Bush saying that he was okay with WMDs so long as they are over X years old) is worth considering, by and large, you and your fellow Leftists are relying strictly on hindsight.

The information you cite to prove that the Administration was deceitful on the subject of Iraq and WMDs is information gathered only after the decision was made and Saddam was forced to crawl into his hidey-hole.

prior to the War in Iraq... (Below threshold)

prior to the War in Iraq beginning in 2003, absolutely nobody was willing to get up and publicly or even privately (in the case of the intelligence community) say that Saddam did not have any weapons and that he has ceased to be a threat to the United States.

Really? How about the former weapons inspector in charge of Iraq? Interview with Scott Ritter, 1999:

"When you ask the question, "Does Iraq possess militarily viable biological or chemical weapons?" the answer is "NO!" It is a resounding "NO". Can Iraq produce today chemical weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Can Iraq produce biological weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Ballistic missiles? No! It is "no" across the board. So from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability."

Here's Ritter again in 2002.

And here is Ritter again, explaining that the weapons left over from the 80s, the ones we're discussing now:

Iraq manufactured three nerve agents: sarin, tabun, and VX. Some people who want war with Iraq describe 20,000 munitions filled with sarin and tabun nerve agents that could be used against Americans. The facts, however, don't support this. Sarin and tabun have a shelf-life of five years. Even if Iraq had somehow managed to hide this vast number of weapons from inspectors, what they are now storing is nothing more than useless, harmless goo.

UNSCOM's estimates were that 90-95% of Iraq's weapons had been destroyed by the time they were kicked out in 1998 and there were no active programs. But I suppose the weapons inspectors are nobodies, how the hell would they know what weapons were there?

Just for kicks, here's what Saddam said in early 2001:

Saddam stated publicly in early 2001 that "we are not at all seeking to build up weapons or look for the most harmful weapons . . . however, we will never hesitate to possess the weapons to defend Iraq and the Arab nation".

So there you go, the guy who supposedly had the weapons, and the people who were supposed to ensure that he didn't have them both said that he was not developing WMDs, had no significant stockpiles of WMDs, and any chemical weapons left over were useless. All of this prior to 2003. But please, tell me again about what politicians said, and excuse me if I don't give a shit. I didn't believe Bush, I didn't believe Clinton, and I don't believe you.

And here is Ritter again in... (Below threshold)

And here is Ritter again in August of 1998:

"I think the danger right now is that without effective inspections, without effective monitoring, Iraq can in a very short period of time measured in months, reconstitute chemical and biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles to deliver these weapons, and even certain aspects of their nuclear weaponization program."

And when he resigned from UNSCOM in 1998:

"...the current decision by the Security Council and the Secretary General, backed at least implicitly by the United States, to seek a "diplomatic" alternative to inspection-driven confrontation with Iraq, a decision which constitutes a surrender to the Iraqi leadership."

(From Wikipedia. Here is the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Ritter)

Very interesting that from January of 1999 to June of 1999, he had a very abrupt shift in his opinion. Right before his movie came out and received all that money from Shakir al Khafaji, too. Strange.

How can you believe anything this guy says, mantis?

How can you believe anyt... (Below threshold)

How can you believe anything this guy says, mantis?

Well, first of all I was responding the the assertion that "absolutely nobody was willing to get up and publicly or even privately say that Saddam did not have any weapons". Second of all, everything he said about Iraqi weapons turned out to be correct. Remember also that the estimates were of UNSCOM, not just Ritter. Third of all, the statements you quoted above have nothing to do with whether Iraq had weapons or not, but whether Ritter thought they could reconstitute their programs if not monitored.

I don't claim that the possibility that Saddam could restart his weapons programs was not a serious concern. There was a short time (very short) when I thought that Bush was doing very well with Iraq; he got the inspectors back in. That was before I realized he didn't care about weapons at all, but was bent on invasion no matter what. I thought the decision to ease up the pressure on Iraq in 1998 by Clinton and the Security Council was wrong.

I admit that his getting money for the film from Shakir al Khafaji is troublesome, but please, considering all that we now know, what did Ritter say that I'm not supposed to believe?

"Remember also that the est... (Below threshold)

"Remember also that the estimates were of UNSCOM, not just Ritter."

The key word being *estimates*. Why were they estimates? Because Sadaam refused to allow them proper inspections, guiding the clueless Blix (Inspector Clouseau) around the country; all the while moving the goal posts on him. Ritter stated in the first quote above that the programs could be reconstituted in just a couple of months. That was in 1998, so he had plenty of time to reconstitute them prior to the Bush administration.

Where are they then, you ask? They probably were delivered to his good buddies Syria. Please see here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040816-011235-4438r.htm

I will grant you this isn't definitive physical proof, but it's good enough for me.

All Bush asked for was compliance and with the Weapons Inspectors and complete transparency, by the way, and that was the key reason for the invasion and subsequent support from the UN and Congress...twice.

Oh, and forgive me for taki... (Below threshold)

Oh, and forgive me for taking so long to reply, I had to lead a group workout at the YMCA...


mantis, dude, I wouldn't ha... (Below threshold)

mantis, dude, I wouldn't hang my hat on Ritter. You guys need to assess the credibility of your sources. I would not hold Ritter up to the same level as those in the world intelligence services pre-2003 invasion.

If you recall, Mr. Ritter has proven to be an unreliable person, on the dole with interested parties, and apparently caught up in a child porn situation later.

You guys do love your sexual deviants. The party of Frank, Gov. of N.J., etc.

No CREDIBLE person disputed what Bush said, pre-invasion.

So, you lose the argument. Now, go back to Kos for some better talking points (hah!).

Mitchell:Actually,... (Below threshold)


Actually, Ritter was accused twice, but never convicted of, attempting to pick up underage girls using chat rooms. He did have to undergo court ordered sex-offender counseling, however.

Either way, still not trustworthy anymore.

Tom, you are much more fair... (Below threshold)

Tom, you are much more fair-minded than I.

"Convicted? No, never convicted."
Bill Murray, Caddyshack, 1983.

One of my favorite movies. ... (Below threshold)

One of my favorite movies. So I got that goin' for me.

Personally speaking, he was accused twice and had to undergo the counseling, so where there is smoke...

Iraq has! had WMD.. End of ... (Below threshold)

Iraq has! had WMD.. End of story..

Actually the quote was from... (Below threshold)

Actually the quote was from Stripes, not Caddyshack.

Another Bill Murray classic.

I was trying to type and talk to my wife and two neices at the same time with that entry. This should disqualify me from driving while doing the same.

"I was trying to type and t... (Below threshold)

"I was trying to type and talk to my wife and two neices at the same time with that entry. This should disqualify me from driving while doing the same."

You were trying to speak to 3 females at the same time???? AND type????

You sir, are a brave, brave man.


I don't get it. I'm not as... (Below threshold)

I don't get it. I'm not asking you to trust Ritter on anything. I'm pointing out that he said these things well before the war (in direct response to Martin, who says no one claimed it), and as it turns out he was right.

As to his legal troubles and questionable finances, I agree this guy seems like a scumbag. But that is pretty irrelevant to this discussion. The fact remains that he, and UNSCOM, were absolutely correct.

As for trucks to Syria, I'm dubious. Here's another article from the WATimes (talk about your questionable sources!):

He said that even if all leads are pursued someday, the ISG may never be able to finally determine whether WMDs were taken across the border. "Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place," his report stated. "However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."

It may be good enough for you, but my evidence standards are a bit higher.






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