Iraq's WMD: The Lie that Will Never Die
by Kurt Nimmo
August 26, 2003
Just when you thought the Iraqi WMD story would fizzle out due to a lack of factual oxygen, along comes a World Tribune story that claims Saddam loaded up his chemical and biological weapons in semi-trucks and sent them packing to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley for safekeeping. "The CIA now believes a multi-million dollar deal between Iraq and Syria provided for the hiding and safekeeping of Saddam's strategic weapons," the online newspaper reports.
If you believe this I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.
According to Department of Defense documents based on more than a decade of international inspections, electronic surveillance, and information supplied by spies and defectors, nearly all the chemical and biological weapons sold to Iraq - mostly by American and European corporations - are now useless, that is if they exist at all.
Former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter has said as much, pointing out that the nasty stuff Saddam had in his possession all those years ago has long since turned to harmless slop. For instance, the nerve agents sarin and tabun have a shelf life of five years. VX lasts a bit longer, but not much. Botulinum toxin and liquid anthrax last about three years. Nearly all the chemical and biological weapons the Evil One had at his disposal have since turned to "harmless, useless goo," according to Ritter.
Moreover, according to the Defense Department's "Militarily Critical Technologies List" written in 1998 and updated in 2002, when "the Iraqis produced chemical munitions they appeared to adhere to a 'make and use' regimen. Judging by the information Iraq gave the United Nations, later verified by on-site inspections, Iraq had poor product quality for their nerve agents. This low quality was likely due to a lack of purification. They had to get the agent to the front promptly or have it degrade in the munition… The chemical munitions found in Iraq after the [first] Gulf War contained badly deteriorated agents and a significant proportion were visibly leaking."
In other words, Saddam - if indeed the World Tribune story is true - wasted millions of dollars to send useless sludge to Syria. "The significance of this sighting [of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon in January 2003] did not register on the CIA at the time," the online newspaper writes. Is it possible it "did not register" with the CIA because they realized the shipment was meaningless?
Additionally, according to the World Tribune story, Saddam shipped "extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads." But even if Saddam had viable chemical or biological weapons, these phantom Scuds - again, if they exist at all - would be of little use.
As the Armed Forces Journal International explains, there are plenty of technical challenges involved in arming Scuds with chemical warfare payloads. "Why have not Iraqi Scud chemical warheads appeared? Though there are reliable reports that the Iraqis have tested such warheads, technological challenges in the design of such warheads are more formidable than most reports have suggested."
Add to this the fact the Iraq’s Scud missiles - known as al-Hussein, al-Abbas, al-Hijarah, and al-Abid - are notoriously inaccurate weapons. "Once the rocket motor stops firing, the missile and warhead coast unguided towards the target area," notes the BBC. "The further they fly the less accurate they are." Not exactly an effective way to deliver biological or chemical weapons.
"Since 1991, I had been struggling with U.S. intelligence over Scud numbers and watched as the figure shrank from more than 200 to 'around a dozen' without any corresponding analysis," Scott Ritter admitted in 2000. "UNSCOM never supported a figure of more than eight, and even that number was speculation."
In other words, US intelligence was making this stuff up as they went along.
Not only did UNSCOM destroy the vast majority of Iraq's WMD and debunk the wildly inflated number of ramshackle Scuds, but Iraq assisted UNSCOM in the task of cleaning out its Pandora's box.
According to Newsweek's John Barry, inspectors were told "that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them." All that remained were "hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches" and production molds that the Iraqis figured they could use at some future date to rebuild their enfeebled WMD program. The destruction was revealed by Gen. Hussein Kamel, the Iraqi weapons chief who defected in 1995.
But this didn't fly with the CIA. "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow told Reuters back in February. A few days later, however, a copy of the Kamel transcript surfaced and egg was firmly attached to the CIA's face. "All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed," said Kamel.
It would seem Iraqi WMD are the Bushite lie that will never die. It's telling that the above mentioned story contains all the necessary elements required by the neocons - perfidious Syrians helping Saddam to hide his WMD in the Bekaa Valley, an Arab underworld "swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents."
Naturally, for the Israeli friendly neocons, Syria, Iran, and Hizbollah are at the top of the to-do hit list. More than anything, the Likudites in the Bush White House want to get the ball rolling - and the best way to do it is claim Muslims in Lebanon are sitting on Saddam's WMD cache, possibly waiting for the right moment to hand the stash over to al-Qaeda or some other Islamic terrorist organization that hates freedom.
Kurt Nimmo is a photographer, multimedia artist and writer living in New Mexico. To see his photo work and read more of his essays, visit his excellent “Another Day in the Empire” weblog: http://www.drmenlo.com/nimmo/