Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Back Story

You'd think the discovery of 500 chemical weapons in Iraq would be a big story, even if they are leftovers from Saddam's arsenal in the 1980s. This discovery confirms that WMD remained present in Iraq, despite the old regime's proclamation that such weapons had been destroyed, and fruitless searches conducted by U.N. inspectors, and later, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG). These weapons, which include artillery shells and rockets, were filled with mustard gas and nerve agents of varying toxicity. The discovery of these weapons suggests (surprise, surprise) that Saddam planned to retain at least a portion of his WMD capability, and would have likely resumed full-scale development and production, had UN sanctions been removed.

More importantly, these weapons remain a threat to coalition forces in Iraq. True, insurgents aren't likely to get their hands on a howitzer or rocket launcher and bombard a base with chemical rounds. But in the hands of terrorists, these chemical weapons could easily be used in IEDs or VBIEDs, daisy-chained together for increased effectiveness. According to Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan (who announced the discovery yesterday), these chemical weapons have recovered by coalition forces over the past two years, on a regular basis. More of these weapons remain unrecovered, and could possibly wind up in the hands of terrorists. So much for the "no WMD in Iraq" mantra that has dominated coverage of our military operations in that country since 2003.

Big story? Guess again. Drudge has links to coverage from Fox News and AFP, but that's about it. You won't find a mention of this story on MSM sites; MSNBC is pre-occupied with the latest combat casualties from Iraq and Senate debate on John Kerry's "cut-and-run" resolution. Ditto for CNN. The Washington Post buried the story on page A10. Guess that unambiguous evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq doesn't fit too well with their editorial and reportorial assertions that "Bush lied" about WMD. Refusing to even acknowledge the Santorum-Hoekstra announcement is another black eye for American journalism, and furhter evidence that the MSM is (thankfully) on its last legs.

***

While a number of bloggers, including Captain's Quarters and Powerline, have done an excellent job in tracking yesterday's announcement (and the underwhelming media response), there is a back story that must be told. It's a story of brueaucratic inepitude, apparent political and personal agendas, and the efforts of a few courageous individuals to get the truth out.

The story begins in April of this year, when a team of intelligence analysts, assigned to the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) published an exhaustive report on the continued recovery of chemical weapons in Iraq. Their report clearly noted that the weapons were clearly manufactured before the first Gulf War. However, the NGIC analysts also observed that some of the weapons remained in good condition (suggesting an Iraqi effort to preserve them), and posed a potential threat to coalition forces, if they fell into the hands of insurgents. From what I'm told, the report contained a full listing of all chemical weapons discovered in Iraq since the fall of Saddam, cut-away diagrams of the weapons, locations where they were found, and their potential lethality if employed by terrorists.

Obviously, the NGIC report ran against the conventional wisdom that "Iraq had no WMD" after the U.S.-led invasion, and (to its credit), the organization published the report, which was posted on INTELINK (the intelligence community's classified intranet) in April of this year. In that forum, the report could be easily accessed by anyone with access to the system, the proper security clearance, and a valid need-to-know. From an analytical standpoint, the team at NGIC did their job, and they deserve tremendous credit for publishing their report. That's what analysts are supposed to do--tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may, even if their findings run contrary to popular assumptions and political agendas.

Shortly after the NGIC item was posted on INTELINK, Senator Santorum learned of its existence, and began pressing the Army for more information, and declassification of the report's key findings. At this juncture, however, political agendas and bureaucratic tail-covering became a factor. A GOP source sent me a copy of Senator Santorum's letter, requesting information on chemical weapons in Iraq, back in April. Amazing (or, perhaps not-so-amazingly), both NGIC and the Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) ignored Santorum's request. Normally, DOD agencies are supposed to respond to a request from a member of Congress within 48 hours; the Army ignored Santorum's request for more than a month. In fact, Santorum and Hoekstra didn't get their information until the Intelligence Committee chairman obtained a copy of the NGIC report and reportedly "hit the ceiling." After that, the Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador John Negroponte, agreed to declassify portions of the report, which were released yesterday.

Why did the Army ignore Senator Santorum's initial request? That's an issue that the INSCOM commander, Major General John D. Freitas III, may be asked to explain the next time he's on the Hill. The same holds true for the NGIC Commander, an Army Colonel. But beyond the DOD's efforts to "slow-roll" Senator Santorum and Chairman Hoekstra, there's the larger issue of why the Defense Department and Intelligence Community "sat" on this information. Sources tell me that there is no evidence of the NGIC report making its way into high-visibility intelligence products, such as the daily update for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA's flagship National Intelligence Daily (NID), or the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), now handled by Negroponte's staff. Additionally, there was no effort to inform key members of Congress on this issue, until they began demanding answers. Congressman Hoekstra has every right to be pissed; the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee should not learn about the discovery of WMD in Iraq via an "under-the-table" copy of an Army report that was published almost two months earlier.

As a young intelligence officer, I was drilled that important information should make its way up the chain of command as soon as possible. Apparently, things have changed since I left the business. Information that contradicts prevailing judgements can be ignored, or simply buried on an intelligence website--let the customer find out on his own. If members of Congress want information, simply delay your response as long as possible, and provide data only when someone with enough horsepower (in this case, the HPSCI chairman) demands answers. Then, provide only a fraction of what they ask for.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Such tactics have been part-and-parcel of how the intel community does business for decades. It's the sort of behavior that has created barriers between various intelligence agencies, and generated lingering suspicion and distrust between the community, the Congress, and (ultimately) the American people. More than a year into his tenure as DNI, Negroponte's intelligence community is still operating a lot like its predecessor. The American people have a right to know that we've been uncovering WMD in Iraq--just as they were led to believe that none still existed. Withholding that information is inexcusable; intel bureaucrats were apparently uncomfortable with the revelation that they had been wrong on Iraqi WMD, not once, not twice, but a total of three times.

The MSM--if it ever gets around to this story--will likely claim that Santorum and Hoekstra are playing politics with intelligence. This blog has been critical of Congress playing fast-and-loose with intel information in the past, but that doesn't appear to be the case this time. Santorum and Hoekstra played by the rules, made their requests through proper channels, and only released declassified portions of the document, with the approval of the DNI. Compare that to the antics of Vermont Senator Pat Leahy--who was booted from the Senate intel committee for leaking classified information--and you'll see that Santorum and Hoekstra were models of patience and decorum.

Kudos to the NGIC team for publishing this discovery, and to the members of Congress--Santorum, Hoekstra (and Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon)--who pushed for its public release. Our elected officials should demand answers on why this important data never made its way up the chain of command, and why their requests for information were apparently stone-walled by the Pentagon and the intel community.

39 comments:

Retief said...

So now the story is that the Army and the DoD were hiding the evidence of the Weapons of Mass Distruction?

Wanderlust said...

retief,

What you fail to grasp is that deep in the intel community, you are a spook first, and then military (whatever branch of service colors your uniform) a distant second.

The analysts who published the report were not deep enough in the community to be affected; they did their jobs and posted the info where it was supposed to go. Very likely it will be demonstrated that they also informed up the chain of command, as they were supposed to do.

The heads of NGIC and INSCOM, however, are intelligence heads first, high-ranking members of a community that has lost its way - not unlike NASA did after Apollo, or the three letter agencies after 1991.

What worries me about this little episode is that it means Negroponte has either been unsuccessful in effecting change, or he hasn't bought into the need to effect change, in the intelligence community.

I can only hope Hayden will fix this...

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Should Donald Rumsfeld and other Reagan administration officials be subject to criminal penalties for their roles in arming Saddam with the WMD we had to invade to discover?

Also, the fact that someone has intent to reconstitute a WMD program is far from a causus belli. And it's not what we said when we invaded-- we said he was reconstituting his program. Which is still not true.

Also, if the inspectors (who were only back in Iraq b/c of the efforts of Pres. Bush, it should be said) had not had to leave b/c of the US invasion, we could have found these public hazards without this whole destruction-of-American-credibility downside that we're dealing with. Oh, and the occupation of a deteriorating country full of people who hate us, in a region of people who hate us all the more intensely.

Tim said...

" Oh, and the occupation of a deteriorating country full of people who hate us, in a region of people who hate us all the more intensely."

Agreed, Liberals and Democrats surely hate us, but most of our armed forces are here naturally, rather than as occupier, no matter how much you might hate them.

Ikez said...

Former spook, thanks for the recap. If this intel is there, then there was a reason. It's a shame some libs have already changed their story, as I knew they would.

Duke said...

Bravo! both for an excellent, informed post; and the bullseye responses to bull!

Paul said...

"Should Donald Rumsfeld and other Reagan administration officials be subject to criminal penalties for their roles in arming Saddam with the WMD we had to invade to discover?"

Get your facts straight before throwing around ignorant accusations like that. Go to the following link at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute website: http://www.sipri.org/contents/armstrad/access.html#irq. Now download the pdf file "TIV of transfers of major conventional weapons to Iraq 1975-2005". Notice that during that time the USSR provided Iraq with 55% of its weapons, followed by France at 14%, and China with 12% for a total of 81% of Saddam's weapons. The US provided a whopping 0.85%. Iraq was a Soviet client state, almost a vassal at times. The US was sure as hell not going to be supplying Iraq with anything during the Cold War.

If your head hasn't exploded after studying the numbers a bit, notice who's number two on the list, France. Think about that and their opposition to OIF. Do you think they might have been making money under the table from 1991 to 2003 by selling stuff to Saddam? Whose avionics were in the MIGS that got dug up during the first month of the war in Iraq?

rocketsbrain said...

SADDAM'S WMD

For those interested in this story that the MSM has no desire to cover, Ray Robison Blog is a must read. Ray is methodically digging through the treasure trove of the Saddam Regime's seized docs.

These docs are like the Arc of Covenant in the Raiders of the Lost Arc in the first Indiana Jones movies. If you recall the fadeout showing the Arc sitting on some self in a cavernous govt warehouse.

Also General Sada’s book, Saddam’s Secrets, is also a must read.

RBT

Fresh Air said...

Paul--

Thanks. I was going to post the same damn thing. These idiots never stop with the idiotarianism. Kind of like the scorpion who bit the frog.

Tom said...

"Should Donald Rumsfeld and other Reagan administration officials be subject to criminal penalties for their roles in arming Saddam with the WMD we had to invade to discover?"

Should Henry Stimson and other Roosevelt Administration officials be subject to criminal penalties for their roles in arming Stalin with some of the weapons he used to invade eastern Europe?

Tom said...

I should have said "...should have been subject..."

ReflectionEphemeral said...

The main point about the WMD that Rick Santorum found yesterday is that they do _not_ establish that Saddam was reconstituting his WMD program when we invaded. That was the claim we made at the time of the war.

As to our role in arming Saddam with the WMD that were just found, here's a bit from an article from war supporter Peter Beinert in the New Republic, 2/24/03, available here: http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030224&s=trb022403

Saddam first used chemical weapons, in particular mustard gas, in 1983, in his war against Iran. By October of that year, according to recently declassified documents, the United States knew he was using them "almost daily." But the Reagan administration wasn't bothered. To the contrary, that December it sent Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad. According to the book Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq, by Financial Times reporter Alan Friedman, Rumsfeld presented a letter from Reagan that proposed restoring diplomatic relations and offered U.S. military and economic assistance. When Iran launched a new offensive in February 1984, Saddam added tabun, a lethal nerve gas, to his chemical repertoire. In the spring of 1984, Rumsfeld returned for another visit. By November, the United States and Iraq had restored diplomatic relations.

It gets worse. Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a 1994 Senate Banking Committee investigation show that during Reagan's presidency, the United States sold Iraq anthrax, bubonic plague, and botulinum toxin, all supposedly for medical research. In 1988, the Commerce Department approved Dow Chemical's sale of $1.5 million worth of pesticides to Baghdad, even though many in the administration suspected Saddam would use them for chemical warfare. Over congressional opposition, the Reagan administration sold Iraq twin-engine Bell "Huey" helicopters, which appear to have been used in Saddam's chemical attacks on the Kurds.

All this was justified at the time, of course, by the need to stop fundamentalist Iran. But, by August 1988, the war between Baghdad and Tehran was over. And yet Saddam continued his genocidal "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds, which by late 1988 had resulted in close to 100,000 deaths, most of them civilian. So, in September 1988, then-Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island introduced the Prevention of Genocide Act, which would have ended all U.S. aid to Baghdad. The bill passed the Senate, but the Reagan administration helped scuttle it in the House. And, when George H. W. Bush became president the following year, he doubled U.S. agricultural loans to Iraq--money that, it would later be revealed, Saddam was partly diverting to the military. ...

Only left-wingers discuss this history. And for them the lesson is obvious: The Bush administration's current outrage at Saddam's crimes is bogus. If people like Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Richard Armitage (all of whom held prominent government positions in the '80s) really cared about the Iraqi people, they wouldn't have helped Saddam brutalize them in the '80s.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

I never argued that Russia and France had lily-white motives for everything they've done in the past 30 years.

Instead, I pointed out that the US played a role in arming Saddam with chemical weapons. No one has disputed that.

These WMD that Santorum was talking about the other day that we found in Iraq are the WMD that Reagan-era conservatives ignored, if not supplied.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Also, Paul, please be advised that Reagan was not US president for the years 1975-2001.

Also, please note that the Cold War (thanks in large measure to the efforts of Reagan) did not end in 2001.

Other than those two points, your link is exactly on target.

Boghie said...

ReflectionEphemeral,

Can you provide a link to the study (certainly in the clear and public) to TNRs claim of:

"Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a 1994 Senate Banking Committee investigation show that during Reagan's presidency, the United States sold Iraq anthrax, bubonic plague, and botulinum toxin, all supposedly for medical research"

I only find references to TNR. I trust TNR about as much as I trust CBS and it's unimpeachable sources.

The CDC and Banking Committee publish their studies. Or is this double super top secret with black helicopters or something...

It could be true though...
Just want to read the study referenced.

I will keep looking for it as well.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Thanks for your follow-up, boghie.

Here's a link to The Riegle Report, U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War, from what appears to be a Veteran's advocacy website:
www.gulfweb.org/bigdoc/report/riegle1.html

Here's a more general summary of the issue of US supply of weapons to Iraq during the 1980s:
http://www.usiraqprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-2.db&command=viewone&id=6&rnd=967.4784759834285

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Of course, the fact that we supplied Saddam with WMD in the 1980s doesn't necessarily mean that we were wrong to invade in 2003.

It does mean that we should not be too overexcited about the discovery that has just come to public knowledge. This is just some run-down stuff that we gave Saddam a while back, not something that he was developing at the time of our invasion.

It also means that we should be careful about who our friends are and what we give them. It is profoundly not cool that we once supported Saddam, and once supported bin Laden's group, if not him personally.

I hope that Pres. Bush's efforts to reorient American foreign policy in favor of democracy and human rights are successful. The presence in his administration of those previously known not to worry too much about those matters, such as Negroponte and Cheney, is not comforting, but need not torpedo the whole enterprise.

AMac said...

ReflectionEphemeral is presenting a misleading picture of how the Iraqi military obtained biological warfare agents.

It gets worse. Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a 1994 Senate Banking Committee investigation show that during Reagan's presidency, the United States sold Iraq anthrax, bubonic plague, and botulinum toxin, all supposedly for medical research...

All this was justified at the time, of course, by the need to stop fundamentalist Iran...


The United States did not sell biological agents to Iraq. The ATCC, based at the time in Rockville, MD, shared these agents, so it thought, with researchers in Iraq. In conformity with its policies at the time. However naive they were.

Readers who want facts (cf. innuendo) can go to the Riegle Report that RE offered up to Boghie at 11:19am. Search for "ATCC" to see what little this document offers on the matter.

A much more detailed account is available in this 1997 Washington Post article. Again, search for the string "ATCC".

Further investigations were undertaken by Science magazine (IIRC) and others; they came to the same conclusions as the WaPo.

ReflectionEphemeral, you have accused ATCC of complicity in a U.S. government plot to deliver BW agents to Saddam. Reckless, dishonest, and dishonorable are words that this anonymous attack brings to mind.

How about offering a retraction and apology--given the absence of credible supporting documentation.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

AMac: ATCC didn't just ship stuff. They had to receive approval from the Commerce Department. The Commerce Department, unlike ATCC, is an executive agency, under the control, at the time, of the Reagan administration.

The quote you cite was not from me, it was from Beinart. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

The point is that the Reagan administration was too willing to support Saddam, ie, repeatedly sending Rumsfeld to Iraq to pal around with him, permiting the shipment of material useful for chemical weapons to him even after knowing that he used chem weapons.

Maybe you can establish that the Dept of Commerce was incompetent, or acting against the clear orders of the president and Rumsfeld and Cheney, or something. But that does not seem to fit with what we know of Reagan's policy toward Iraq.

From the Post article you linked:
Their purchases between 1985 and 1989 followed a pattern common to the country's other acquisitions of sensitive Western technology. An initial order was placed for a plant pathogen that causes smut diseases. Dipping a toe into more risky water a few months later, Iraq's ministry of higher education ordered two specimens of a Class III fungus well outside the typical range of biowarfare agents.

The country's success emboldened it to take a plunge into the most sensitive end of the bacterial pool with a 1986 order for 24 pathogens, including 13 more bacteria designated Class III. That shipment, which like the others received rapid approval from the U.S. Commerce Department, included the specific strains of anthrax, chlostridium botulinum, and chlostridium perfringens that Iraq later selected for mass production as germ weapons.


From the Senate report:
http://www.gulfweb.org/bigdoc/report/r_1_2.html#exports
Records available from the supplier for the period from 1985 until the present show that during this time, pathogenic (meaning "disease producing"), toxigenic (meaning "poisonous"), and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Another story detailing the efforts of the Reagan administration to bolster Saddam's military:
http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-01.htm
Rumsfeld’s December 19-20, 1983 visit to Baghdad made him the highest-ranking US official to visit Iraq in 6 years. He met Saddam and the two discussed “topics of mutual interest,” according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. “[Saddam] made it clear that Iraq was not interested in making mischief in the world,” Rumsfeld later told The New York Times. “It struck us as useful to have a relationship, given that we were interested in solving the Mideast problems.”

Just 12 days after the meeting, on January 1, 1984, The Washington Post reported that the United States “in a shift in policy, has informed friendly Persian Gulf nations that the defeat of Iraq in the 3-year-old war with Iran would be ‘contrary to U.S. interests’ and has made several moves to prevent that result.”

In March of 1984, with the Iran-Iraq war growing more brutal by the day, Rumsfeld was back in Baghdad for meetings with then-Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. On the day of his visit, March 24th, UPI reported from the United Nations: “Mustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers in the 43-month Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq, a team of U.N. experts has concluded... Meanwhile, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, U.S. presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld held talks with Foreign Minister Tarek Aziz (sic) on the Gulf war before leaving for an unspecified destination.”
...

Throughout the period that Rumsfeld was Reagan’s Middle East envoy, Iraq was frantically purchasing hardware from American firms, empowered by the White House to sell. The buying frenzy began immediately after Iraq was removed from the list of alleged sponsors of terrorism in 1982. According to a February 13, 1991 Los Angeles Times article:

“First on Hussein's shopping list was helicopters -- he bought 60 Hughes helicopters and trainers with little notice. However, a second order of 10 twin-engine Bell "Huey" helicopters, like those used to carry combat troops in Vietnam, prompted congressional opposition in August, 1983... Nonetheless, the sale was approved.”

In 1984, according to The LA Times, the State Department—in the name of “increased American penetration of the extremely competitive civilian aircraft market”—pushed through the sale of 45 Bell 214ST helicopters to Iraq. The helicopters, worth some $200 million, were originally designed for military purposes. The New York Times later reported that Saddam “transferred many, if not all [of these helicopters] to his military.”

In 1988, Saddam’s forces attacked Kurdish civilians with poisonous gas from Iraqi helicopters and planes. U.S. intelligence sources told The LA Times in 1991, they “believe that the American-built helicopters were among those dropping the deadly bombs.”

In response to the gassing, sweeping sanctions were unanimously passed by the US Senate that would have denied Iraq access to most US technology. The measure was killed by the White House.

AMac said...

You don't state that the Iraqis received germ cultures as the result of a US Government conspiracy, but you strongly imply it.

Again--on what grounds?

As far as I know, during the time period in question, the ATCC and similar repositories around the world shipped microbiological samples to any qualified individual working for any appropriate agency.

In the pre-Photoshop, pre-color-printer days, the common phrase was along the lines of "accompany your purchase order with a signed request on your institution's letterhead."

You have a case if, in the 1980s, ATCC and similar repositories were sending samples to Iraq but not to other suspect countries. Say the Soviet Union, East Germany, Iran, Cuba, Bulgaria, China, South Africa, Poland--countries might reasonably have been suspected of aiming to do harm with biological samples (some did).

Was the ATCC willing to ship to these various parties when asked? Did the Commerce Department smooth the way for Iraq? Or would that have been superfluous, because any letterhead-toting scientist from any of these countries could have obtained these "research-use-only" samples with little or no difficulty?

If there was a conspiracy, it necessarily had to be because simply requesting the samples wouldn't work.

Evidence?

If there was a conspiracy, the people at ATCC were involved, either actively or as patsies.

Evidence?

Unfortunately, I was wrong about Science magazine publishing on the case; at least I can't find anything in their archives. The best I can dig up as far as direct quotes is this, an article which is hardly favorable to my position--but the quotes suggest that at the ATCC, it was "business as usual."

As far as the attitudes of the day: one can condemn the ATCC and the Commerce Department for naivete, for counting on ethical conduct by scientists, for failures of imagination, for a sclerotic bureaucracy.

As satisfying a jigsaw-puzzle fit as this would be: you have not illuminated the footprints of a Conspiracy, except by the standards of hundreds of websites that are devoted to things that might-be-true.

Can you cite evidence to back up the assertions you have made?

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Not a conspiracy. It was known to the US gov't at the time that Iraq was using chemical weapons. Still, we approved sales of stuff that was useful in the manufacture and delivery of such weapons. Some reports indicate that it was US helicopters used in the gassing of Kurds.

The Reagan administration removed Iraq from the state sponsors of terrorism list, prioritized improving our relations with Iraq, and sent Rumsfeld to meet with Saddam to that end, at least twice.

We turned a blind eye to, and enabled, Iraq's WMD programs. That's just a fact. You might believe, as I do, that this increases our responsibility to the Iraqi people. Whatever you think of it, it's a fact that shouldn't be swept under the rug.

All of this is substantiated in the links I've provided earlier in the thread.

Thanks for engaging the points I've been making!

Boghie said...

ReflectionEphemeral and AMAC,

Great discussion. I am reviewing the links right now. Long...

A few points:
1. Could it be possible that the WMD capability and technology used by Iraq might have come from their primary allies - the Soviet Union?

2. How much chemical and biological WMD precursor material was provided by the Soviet Union, France, Germany, and maybe China? That would be interesting to know, eh.

3. What kind of technology did the Iraqis use to manufacture their own indiginous material? Was it largely US (doubtful since it was loaded into Soviet munitions, but I am open to it) or one of his major military suppliers?

Finally, if ReflectionEphemeral is right in stating that we made the mess and we should clean it - what else could have been done with Saddam going off the deep and violent end? It took the Unibomber's brother to turn him in and stop the murdering. Maybe President Bush is just doing the right thing by taking Saddam out and ending WMD development in that country. Eh...

Back to reading. I hope it is decisive…

Al Pyne Crowe said...

He did?

Who did?

He did.

No, he didn't

Yes, he did.

No, hee didn't.

Yes, heee did!!

No, heeee didn't!!!

Well, if he didn't, who did?

He did!

Oh?!

Well, why didn't you say so before, then we wouldn't have gotten into this argument?

I did.

No, you didn't.

Yes, I did...

*****

This is all very interesting guys, but I all I really care about is that the good guys find the WMDs before the bad guys, and that they kill'em all in the process.

Oh, and Deflectionseffeminate, FYI, in case you're confused, the good guys work for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

TYVM

Boghie said...

ReflectionEpheral and AMAC,

Your links and viewpoints are helpful and your points are well argued - and both at least partially valid... Through them, I actually found - and started reading - the Duelfer CIA report.

This document (I will track down the Kay report as well) should be required reading.

It is absolutely scary regarding Iraq's repeated capability and proven desire to develop and improve WMD capability.

There is plenty of fault to go around regarding Iraq's Chemical and Biological Warfare capability. They picked the American strain of the plague - but they used Europeans to build their factories and Soviets to provide the munitions (which they reengineered for WMD). But, in the end, Iraq was at fault. They skirted international controls, bribed companies, coerced nations, and reverse engineered technology to build a WMD weaponization capability.

Finally, it is obvious that Saddam viewed his WMD program as a deterrent - like a Cold War ballistic missile fleet. With the threat of WMD he could attack or influence neighbors. He could deter Western reprisals. And, he could blackmail illicit supporters.

I am now more impressed than ever with 'W'. He cleaned up the mess Reagan and Bush Sr. left. And, he is rebuilding the respect (or fear) lost during the Clinton era. Other nations must now think twice about the deterrent factor of Chemical Weapons and/or Biological Weapons. Bush went in expecting WMD - he did not lie.

To be fair to Reagan and Bush Sr. - they had to deal with the Soviet Union and an aggressive and militant Iran. Those were the primary tasks of the time.

To be fair with Clinton - I did not hear a real clamor for action following the Khobar Towers, Embassy Bombings, or the Cole Bombing. Were we ready. Were the hundreds that died in these terror strikes acceptable casualties?

redline said...

A few points on biological materials, WMD precursors, and the Reagan Commerce Department...

1. The U.S. State Department has regulatory authority over weapons and military articles. The U.S. Commerce Department has regulatory authority over "dual-use" items. "Dual-use" means that an item has both civilian and military applications and is not specially designed for a military function. A personal computer, for example, is a dual-use item. A UH-1 Huey helicopter is a military item. As you might imagine, the vast majority of items exported from the United States are dual-use.

2. It is inaccurate to state that the ATCC shipments of biological materials during the 1980s constituted "arming" the Iraqis with "WMDs." Most of the biological materials in question that are distributed from these clearinghouses go into legitimate medical research (obviously many BW agents have their origins in horrific animal diseases that occur in nature). This is why those strains were dual-use items subject to Commerce Department jurisdiction, and not military articles subject to approval by State.

Moreover, the samples were not themselves suitable for use in direct biological warfare applications; a great deal of additional R&D work must be done in order create a "weaponized" strain. These samples were stepping stones to a weapon, in the same way that certain kinds of fertilizer are stepping stones to a car bomb. This is not the same as shipping filled warheads full of anthrax from Maryland to Baghdad.

3. National security export control policy in 1985 was very different from what it is today. Keeping advanced military technologies out of the hands of the Soviet bloc was the main focus; nonproliferation was of course an active issue, but mainly on the nuclear side. Authorizations of dual-use items to the non-communist third world were not given the scrutiny that they are today.

That's not to say that this was a good idea, of course. In hindsight there may be plenty to criticize about dual-use export policy during that period (and since). However, I don't think that you can draw the conclusion that the mere issuance of a Commerce Department export license for a dual-use item necessarily represents a Reagan administration policy to arm the Iraqis with WMDs. Non-military export licensing is a fairly routine and bureaucratized process handled by a small office of the Commerce Department. More likely the question of allowing a biological materials clearinghouse to export these particular strains overseas simply was not on high-level radar scopes in 1985.

4. Did the U.S. ignore Iraq's use of chemical weapons in the 1980s? Not entirely, though it clearly did not make such behavior a dealbreaker until 1988, after things became particularly atrocious. The wisdom and morality of this policy may be debatable in hindsight, now that we no longer have to think much about the Cold War. At the same time, the U.S. didn't supply Iraq with WMDs.

5. It's unclear, however, what any of this history has to do with how we should view the discovery of 500 chemical rounds in Iraq. Regardless of whether Iraq's CBW stocks were developed at home, fell from the sky, or were purchased personally by Saddam Hussein on the White House lawn, by April of 1991 the Republic of Iraq had an unambiguous legal obligation to declare and destroy everything, regardless of where it came from. Fulfillment of that obligation was a condition of the cease-fire that halted military action against Iraq which had been fully authorized by the UN. This is no longer a question of one or two stray undeclared rounds, which some might argue wasn't a material breach of that condition -- hundreds of undeclared chemical rounds, regardless of their provenance, is clearly material. That's why it matters.

AMac said...

ReflectionsEphemeral said (3:52pm):

Not a conspiracy.

[Regarding ATCC's shipments of biological agents to Iraq.]

This is the sort of policy discussion style that I'm objecting to. RE added biological warfare (BW) issues to the comments in order to (further) demonstrate the US Government's dirty hands with respect to Saddam's WMD programs. The facts as recited to the reader were designed to show the US Government's intentions to arm Iraq with BWs.

If not that--then what? Was RE's point in bringing up BW that Iraqis were clever in evading the spirit of US export regulations? Really?

Not a conspiracy. RE, I challenged you to provide evidence to back up your "dirty-hands" charges with respect to BW. Instead, you offer this "Emily Litella" comment. ("Never mind...")

It is very inadequate.

Lest this be taken the wrong way: I am not stating that ATCC was not involved in the sort of conspiracy that RE describes for US complicity in Iraq's CW program (and where the evidence is fairly persuasive). I don't/didn't work for them--so how would I know? I am making the much more circumscribed point that it is wrong to make such charges casually, and in the absence of evidence to back them up. RE's account of US/Iraq dealings in the CW and conventional armaments realm stands or falls on its own. The credibillity of the narrative is hardly strengthened by this broadening of the indictment. In the absence of evidence.

Thanks to redline for the insightful five points s/he made, immediately prior.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Folks, thanks for engaging my points. I'm very sorry for this inadequate response-- my comp is about to run out of batteries.

Let's not lose sight of the big picture here-- these aging weapons are not evidence of a reconstituted weapons program of the kind Colin Powell described at the UN.

The situation in Iraq when we invaded was not good-- no one thinks that there was zero threat. The question is, was there a crisis that necessitated an invasion in March 2003. As I've stressed, Bush deserves very much credit for focusing world attention on that problem. However, had we allowed the inspectors to continue their work, rather than bombing them out of the country, we would have had greater chance of not having to do this alone, not having lost so much respect (particularly in a part of the world where irrational hatred of the US already posed a threat), and of declawing Saddam without so many deaths. Please don't hold me to every inch of every one of these words, I'm typing it out real fast (3 min battery left).

On the peripheral matter of whether we helped arm Saddam, I don't think there's much doubt about that. Reagan's St. Dept. removed em from the list of terror-sponsoring countries, Rumsfeld visited repeatedly to improve relations, support Iraq vs. Iran.

Here's a hastily copied link:

http://www.usiraqprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=2.%20Facts%2FResources.db&command=viewone&id=9

*

"When the Iran-Iraq war began in September 1980...the United States did not have diplomatic relations with either Baghdad or Tehran. U.S. officials had almost as little sympathy for Hussein's dictatorial brand of Arab nationalism as for the Islamic fundamentalism espoused by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. As long as the two countries fought their way to a stalemate, nobody in Washington was disposed to intervene. By the summer of 1982, however, the strategic picture had changed dramatically. After its initial gains, Iraq was on the defensive, and Iranian troops had advanced to within a few miles of Basra, Iraq's second largest city. U.S. intelligence information suggested the Iranians might achieve a breakthrough on the Basra front, destabilizing Kuwait, the Gulf states, and even Saudi Arabia."
The Washington Post, "U.S. Had Key Role In Iraq Buildup," 12/30/03
*

"In 1982, the U.S. gave the world a clear signal that relations with Iraq were improving. It dropped Iraq from its list of states that support terrorism."
ABC News, Nightline, "Special Investigation" 09/13/91

1983

*

"A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance... [a] highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for airstrikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq....The American intelligence officers never encouraged or condoned Iraq's use of chemical weapons [against Iran], but neither did they oppose it because they considered Iraq to be struggling for its survival, people involved at the time said in interviews."
The New York Times, "Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas," 8/18/02
*

"The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague."
The Washington Post, "U.S. Had Key Role In Iraq Buildup," 12/30/03
*

"Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations.
The Washington Post, "U.S. Had Key Role In Iraq Buildup," 12/30/03

AMac said...

RE,

> However, had we allowed the inspectors to continue their work, rather than bombing them out of the country,

This phrasing is cute, but it is not accurate or even serious as a description.

Focusing again, tiresomely, on your account of Iraqi acquisition of BW materials... you have yet to offer evidence to back up your charges.

How about saying, "let's evaluate US/Iraq relations in the 1980s as they concerned CW only. That story is bad enough in a realpolitik way. Even though the BW story is a dog that won't hunt."

Rufus said...

Since Sen. Santorum has seen the report itself: has anyone asked him if these somewhat aged chemical weapons constitute weapons of mass destruction - the sort of thing that a terrorist could use to kill hundreds or thousands of people? (Notwithstanding the fact that one can do the same with conventional weapons, which kinda blurs the meaning of the term.)

This is the thing: unless you can kill a lot of people with it with greater ease than you could with conventional weapons, there ain't nothing 'mass' about it.

Does any of these shells, or even the coordinated use of the contents of a number of them, constitute a threat to enough people at once that we needed to invade another country to block whatever remote chance that it would be used against the United States?

If not, then these aren't the droids...er, WMDs...you're looking for.

I don't know how accurate it is, but my understanding is that some of the shells in question held sarin gas, and that sarin, while quite deadly, degrades in months. And the rest held mustard gas, which holds up a bit better, but whose limitations are evident from its use in WWI: it's a lot more effective if the recipients of a mustard gas shell are trapped in trenches by the prospect of machine gun fire, circumstances that would presumably not accompany a terrorist attack in America.

redline said...

This is the thing: unless you can kill a lot of people with it with greater ease than you could with conventional weapons, there ain't nothing 'mass' about it.

"Weapons of mass destruction" is a term of art from the arms control/nonproliferation community that means any nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons (for this reason, a popular alternative formulation is "NBC"). The Monterey Institute for International Studies has produced a summary of the various places where the term has been defined here. This usage is consistent with convention and custom developed over the past two decades -- including during the run-up to the war in late 2002/early 2003.

Does any of these shells, or even the coordinated use of the contents of a number of them, constitute a threat to enough people at once that we needed to invade another country to block whatever remote chance that it would be used against the United States?

This is a policy question to which no amount of factual information produced by an intelligence agency can answer. For this reason, one's objection to the decision to go to war should not lead one to reject facts out of hand (such as, say, the existence of hundreds of undeclared CW rounds in Iraq at the time of the invasion).

Rufus said...

Redline:

I've got a longstanding policy re terms of art.
1) Some terms are both in common usage, and are terms of art in one field or another.
2) Their meanings in common usage, and as terms of art in a specialized field, usually diverge.
3) When such terms are used in a publication that is not primarily intended for specialists, terms take on their meanings in common usage, rather than their meanings as specialized terms of art, unless it's spelled out to the contrary.

For instance, you might refer to a quantity as "uncountable" because there's just no way to count it. As a mathematician, I'm NOT assuming you're referring to a number so big that a set with that many elements could not be put into one-to-one correspondence with the rational numbers.

So in the popular discussion, 'weapons of mass destruction' meant to everybody but the specialists, 'weapons with the potential to kill a shitload of people.' If the Administration didn't bother to clarify how IT was using the term, that's its bad. The conclusion most everyone drew from the apparent equivalence of WMDs and NBC weapons was that bio and chem weapons were more deadly than conventional weapons.

That conclusion was basically incorrect, but the Administration was trying to scare people into war. It worked.

Now you're saying, by weapons of mass destruction, we mean some pretty piddly stuff, as well as nuclear warheads that can level whole cities.

Sorry, too late. These may be WMDs in a 'term of art' sense, but they're not the threat that convinced the American people we needed to go to war.

As far as the latter point is concerned, who's rejecting facts out of hand? Those weapons were mentioned in, I believe, the Iraq Survey Group's report a couple years back. There's nothing new about them. They said there were hundreds of them, just like Santorum is saying. But oddly enough, they concluded (as did the Administration) that there were no WMDs in Iraq.

So I believe they're real, I believe they're old news, and I believe Bush wouldn't have been able to stampede America into war on the prospect that Saddam had enough mustard gas to kill 37 people if they were tied up and thrown into trenches before the mustard gas was released, and there was some remote chance that he might give that mustard gas to terrorists who might bring it over here.

redline said...

There is nothing complex, ambiguous, or overspecialized about the proper definition of "weapons of mass destruction," either then or now. Universal common usage, both popular and otherwise, accepts chemical nerve agents and blister agents as WMDs.

The 1995 use of sarin in the attack on the Tokyo subway is notorious precisely because it involved a WMD, despite the fact that only 12 people were killed (compare the 2002 Bali conventional bombing that killed twenty times that number). The label turns upon the character of the weapon, not its effects in any given case. Compare casualty rates from the atomic raids on Hiroshima/Nagasaki with those from the conventional raids on Tokyo the previous February, for instance -- yet atomic weapons are WMDs while incendary bombs are not.

I find it difficult to believe that the "popular" discussion centered around some radically different meaning of the term, given that countless action movies, novels, magazine articles, comic books, video games, etc., etc., used the WMD triad as themes. And even if you manage to find an unfortunate layman who somehow didn't understand that yes, nerve gas is a WMD, I hardly think you can blame this on the government. Our concerned but undereducated citizen who bases his vote for war on whether a weapon can kill "shitloads" (rather than some indefinitely smaller quantum of humanity) should really be reading more and cussing less.

Now, I will readily admit that there are times when government doublespeak serves to mislead the voters (see, e.g., the popular titles of most legislation). This, however, isn't one of those cases.

As to whether a chemical artillery round is "piddly stuff" that isn't "more deadly than conventional weapons," I'll leave that to the subject-matter experts. I understand the rhetorical point you're trying to make, but in the course of doing so I think you're making some pretty silly statements about a not-at-all silly subject.

As for the broader war point, I do understand your underlying argument (though I disagree). But I don't think anyone is saying that the actual discovery of five hundred weapons (as opposed to the announcement of the likely possibility of their existence, per the Iraq Survey Group) completely ends the conversation. I think reasonable people can differ on whether the decision to go to war, viewed in hindsight, was justified based on the presence of these weapons alone. But things don't end with Rick Santorum's press conference.

What I and many others are interested in is what else might be out there. It is clear that successive iterations of intelligence product on this subject have been regularly incorrect in key respects. The popular dialogue has been even worse when it comes to generating premature conclusions. It is also clear that the full accounting for WMDs was not completed with the delivery of the Duelfer Report.

So what's the rest of the story? To me, that's a legitimate, impartial question that one should be able to pose without inducing a great deal of partisan shouting about tired subjects.

Rufus said...

Redline:

"Universal common usage, both popular and otherwise, accepts chemical nerve agents and blister agents as WMDs."

Because the near-universal belief is that biological and chemical weapons can potentially kill thousands of people with a single weapon.

"The 1995 use of sarin in the attack on the Tokyo subway is notorious precisely because it involved a WMD, despite the fact that only 12 people were killed..."

I've never heard this referred to in the popular press as a WMD attack, but rather as a sarin gas attack.

"Compare casualty rates from the atomic raids on Hiroshima/Nagasaki with those from the conventional raids on Tokyo the previous February, for instance -- yet atomic weapons are WMDs while incendary bombs are not."

Now you're being disingenious. It took a LOT of bombs dropped on Tokyo to create that firestorm. We dropped ONE A-bomb on Hiroshima.

"I find it difficult to believe that the "popular" discussion centered around some radically different meaning of the term, given that countless action movies, novels, magazine articles, comic books, video games, etc., etc., used the WMD triad as themes."

OK, find me three instances where the term was used in a popular context to refer to a weapon unlikely to kill, say, 50 people. If you're claiming that the popular media made it readily apparent that "Weapons of Mass Destruction" meant "any NBC weapon" as opposed to "nukes, plus bio/chem weapons capable of killing lots of people at once," they shouldn't be too hard to find. Go for it.

"Our concerned but undereducated citizen who bases his vote for war on whether a weapon can kill "shitloads" (rather than some indefinitely smaller quantum of humanity) should really be reading more and cussing less."

Why?? Wasn't that the crux of the entire debate - the threat that Saddam's weapons represented to us?

We weren't going to go to war over Saddam being able to supply terrorists with a few machine guns. And a few terrorists with machine guns situated around a crowded place could easily kill a hundred or more persons before they were taken down. And if we'd been told that Saddam might have bio or chem weapons, but such a weapon in the hands of terrorists would be lucky (from the terrorist's perspective) to kill 100 people, there would have been little support for invading Iraq to prevent this threat.

To ordinary people, 'mass' means 'mass.' "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is not a complicated phrase - each of the four words, including the preposition, is easily grasped by a child, as is the combination of the four. Its lay meaning is obvious, and no one, in the run-up to war, went around correcting people and saying "WMDs mean nuclear, bio, and chem weapons, regardless of their actual lethality and destructive capacity." Rather, it was "nuclear, bio, and chem weapons are weapons of mass destruction." If you already know (or believe you know) what a weapon of mass destruction is, the implication is that bio and chem weapons can kill lots of people at once.

"It is clear that successive iterations of intelligence product on this subject have been regularly incorrect in key respects."

No, that is not clear at all.

"It is also clear that the full accounting for WMDs was not completed with the delivery of the Duelfer Report."

Nor that.

"I think you're making some pretty silly statements about a not-at-all silly subject."

Hey, the feeling is mutual. Cheerio.

ReflectionEphemeral said...

amac-- ATCC would not have been able to ship those materials to Iraq without approval from the executive branch. That approval would not have happened had the Reagan administration not removed Iraq from the list of terror-sponsoring states; what's more, the Reagan administration repeatedly sent a high-level official, Rumsfeld, to improve relations with Iraq, when we knew that Iraq was using WMD.

If you want to believe that the US failed to do anything to prevent Iraq from acquiring BW, rather than that we tacitly supported that program, and declare victory in our debate, ok, congrats, you win.

That returns us to the CW issue, and the much larger issue of whether the decision to go to war was based on sound intel, with sound intel-gathering and analysis procedures, and whether the war was, given the info available to us at the time, the wisest and most cost-effective way to declaw Saddam.

I supported the war when it started, and I hope that we stay (or increase troops) to finish the job in Iraq. That said, it is now clear that I was wrong to take Dick Cheney's word and analysis over Mohammad ElBaradei's. Because ElBaradei was right and Cheney was wrong. It was unnecessary at that moment, with inspectors on the ground, to go to war to account for these bad, but not mass-casualty-causing, WMD that we'd helped/done nothing to stop Saddam from getting 20 years before.

It is also true that the inspectors (who were, let me stress yet again, in praise of Pres. Bush, only there b/c of his efforts) left Iraq because we were starting to bomb the country.

AMac said...

RE,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. We have areas of agreement as well as disagreement; I think they've been aired. I appreciate you sticking with the issues.

redline said...

Rufus:

"Universal common usage, both popular and otherwise, accepts chemical nerve agents and blister agents as WMDs."

Because the near-universal belief is that biological and chemical weapons can potentially kill thousands of people with a single weapon.


Agreed.

OK, find me three instances where the term was used in a popular context to refer to a weapon unlikely to kill, say, 50 people.

I've never claimed that a chemical weapon is not -- remember that you're the one being dismissive about them, not me. Mustard gas is a horrific substance that can do grievous harm to human beings. Sarin is in many respects even worse. You're asserting that this stuff is no more deadly than cotton candy (because you know, human physiology has come so far since 1917), then stomping your feet as to why the "popular" notion of WMDs doesn't match your description. I understand the tension here but I'm not the source of it.

"It is clear that successive iterations of intelligence product on this subject have been regularly incorrect in key respects."

No, that is not clear at all.


Are you seriously arguing this? Perhaps I need to rephrase: "WMD intelligence is frequently wrong." Are there objections to that?

"It is also clear that the full accounting for WMDs was not completed with the delivery of the Duelfer Report."

Nor that.


The scoping note to Volume 1 of the Duelfer Report makes it clear what was reviewed and what was still ongoing. It states that new WMD-related reports continue to flow in "virtually every week," and that these continue to be investigated. It points out that only one-third of the documentation exploitation effort was complete. It also points out that 20,000 boxes of IIS documents had not been reviewed at all.

Now, the report does state this: "New information will inevitably derive from this process, but may not materially affect the overall elements of this report." A classic hedge, of course, and technically meaningless -- it may not, but then again it may. But of course we're meant to conclude that there probably isn't anything else, even though nobody's examined large portions of the evidence to see what's there.

Frankly, that kind of prejudgment is what produces intelligence failure. And I say this without disrespect to anyone involved with the Duelfer Report or the ISG, who were operating under political time pressures and had to bring this to some kind of interim closure. Hence, "new information may not prove this report inaccurate."

So here's the thing. When the Duelfer Report was released, it stated that fifty-three chemical munitions had been identified to date (Volume III, Annex F, p. 97). As of last week we now know that about five hundred munitions have been discovered.

When a key number like that goes up by an order of magnitude, that says something. The only fair-minded conclusion is that it's time to revisit the conclusions of the Duelfer Report, based on the emergence of new information. What's so controversial about that? Why is the Duelfer Report suddenly gospel truth when everyone is happy to admit that previous intelligence assessments have been wrong?

ReflectionEphemeral said...

Thanks for the discussion, amac. The best kind of discussion, to me, is with intelligent, well-informed people with whom I disagree. Thanks for the back-and-forth.

BIGDOG said...

http://www.fas.org/irp/gulf/cia/960705/73919_01.htm

>20 FEBRUARY 1991

MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: SHELF LIFE OF IRAQ'S CW AGENTS


1. CIA AND DIA AGREE THAT IRAQLS CURRENT STOCKS OF

MUSTARD ARE STABLE AND SHOULD REMAIN EFFECTIVE FOR SEVERAL

YEARS. ALTHOUGH WE CANNOT PROVIDE A BREAKDOWN OF THE CURRENT

INVENTORY, CIA ESTIMATES THAT THE STOCKPILE IS DIVIDED FAIRLY

EVENLY BETWEEN MUSTARD AND NERVE AGENTS



2. CIA AND DIA HAVE DIFFERENT ASSESSMENTS OF THE SHELF

LIFE OF IRAQ'S UNITARY NERVE AGENTS. BOTH AGENCIES AGREE THAT

IRAQ HAS ENCOUNTERED DIFFICULTY OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS WITH

THE SHELF LIFE OF ITS UNITARY NERVE AGENTS. DIA BELIEVES THAT

THE PROBLEM PERSISTS, THAT THE STOCKPILE OF NERVE AGENTS WILL

BE UNUSABLE BY LATE MARCH, AND THAT DAMAGE TO PRODUCTION

FACILITIES WILL FORCE THE IRAQIS TO RELY ON STOCKPILED AGENTS.

CIA BELIEVES THAT A SUBSTANTIAL SEGMENT OF IRAQ'S NERVE AGENT

STOCKPILE CONSISTS OF BINARY CHEMICAL WEAPONS--WHICH WOULD NOT

BE SUBJECT TO DEGRADATION. CIA ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE SHELF

LIFE PROBLEM WAS ONLY TEMPORARY AND THAT THE IRAQIS EVEN NOW

MAY BE ABLE TO PRODUCE UNITARY AGENTS OF SUFFICIENT QUALITY BY

ADDING A STABILIZER OR IMPROVING THEIR PRODUCTION PROCESS.

THE STOCKPILE PROBABLY IS FAIRLY EVENLY DIVIDED BETWEEN BLISTER

AN NERVE AGENTS. THE MOST LIKELY AGENTS ARE THE BLISTER AGENT SULFUR MUSTARD AND
THE NERVE AGENTS SARIN AND GF. WE ASSESS THAT MOST OF THE SARIN AND GF ARE

WEAPONIZE IN BINARY FORM AND DO NOT NOT SUFFER FROM THE LIMITED SHELF-LIFE

PROBLEM PREVALENT DURING THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR. IRAQ

PROBABLY ALSO HAS SMALL QUANTITIES OF THE ADVANCED NERVE AGENT VX, AND MAY HAVE
LIMITED AMOUNTS OF OTHER AGENTS IN ITS STOCKPILE.



IRAQ MOST LIKELY HAS WEAPONIZED THESE AGENTS IN AERIAL BOMBS, MORTAR ROUNDS,

ARTILLERY SHELLS AND ROCKETS, AND MISSILE WARHEADS.

WE BELIEVE THAT BOMBS AND ARTILLERY MAKE UP THE BULK OF IRAQ'S CHEMICAL ARSENAL. TO

GIVE AN IDEA OF THE QUANTITIES OF MUNITIONS AVAILABLE, ONE TON OF AGENT WOULD BE
ENOUGH TO FILL ROUGHLY TEN 500-KG BOMBS, 150 122-MM ARTILLERY ROCKETS,

OR 350 152-MM ARTILLERY SHELLS

sorry for caps

Ikez said...

FYI - I thought some of you might find it interesting that the DOD may be expanding to data mine blogs for info related to the war on terror.
http://www.defenselink.mil/transformation/articles/2006-06/ta062906b.html