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Bush Wars
See other Bush Wars Articles

Title: Are Syria's Chemical Weapons Iraq's Missing WMD? Obama's Director of Intelligence Thought So.
Source: Weekly Standard
URL Source: http://www.weeklystandard.com/article/2007610
Published: Apr 10, 2017
Author: Mark Hemingway
Post Date: 2017-04-10 14:02:06 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 468
Comments: 2

Who was the bigger liar on WMD? Bush or Obama?

During the Bush administration, the popular protest refrain was “Bush lied, people died." It's true that a major justification for the Iraq war was eliminating Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of so-called weapons of mass destruction, a catch-all phrase for biological and chemical weapons, as well as ridding Iraq of attempts to start a nuclear program. Saddam Hussein previously used chemical weapons on the Kurds, so we know he had these weapons at some point. But they were nowhere to be found when we invaded.

One popular theory for what happened to them is that they were smuggled into Syria. In 2003, none other than James Clapper—who went on to be Obama's director of national intelligence—said this is what happened to Iraq's WMD:
The official, James Clapper Jr., a retired lieutenant general, said satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria, just before the U.S. invasion in March, led him to believe that illicit weapons material "unquestionably" had been moved out of Iraq.

"I think people below the Saddam-Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse," Clapper, who leads the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said at a breakfast with reporters.

He said he was providing a personal assessment. But he said "the obvious conclusion one draws" was that there "may have been people leaving the scene, fleeing Iraq, and unquestionably, I am sure, material."

Clapper wasn't alone. Other credible reports from international officials and a well-regarded Syrian journalist and many other sources said that Iraqi WMD ended up in Syria as well. In 2005, the CIA's final report on the absence of WMD in Iraq called the transfer of chemical weapons to Syria "unlikely," but couldn't rule out the possibility that this is what happened.

However, given what we know now about Syria's chemical weapons use, it might be time to reassess whether the intelligence that Iraq had WMD was as faulty as we thought. And it's not just that WMD ended up in Syria, either. Though it was largely downplayed by the media, American troops in Iraq also stumbled across caches of chemical weapons—a handful of soldiers were even exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq with serious consequences. Further, there are chemical weapons stores in Iraq unaccounted for in areas now controlled by ISIS. The New York Times reported all of this in 2014, long after "Bush lied" was the settled line on WMD.

So settled, in fact, that our current Republican president repeated the claim in a primary debate last year: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. They knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction."

However, Trump has now looked at the chemical weapons problem through the eyes of a president who has seen intelligence reports and is bombing Syria in retaliation for Assad's repeated use of chemical weapons on his people. We now know that the Obama administration was knowingly spreading falsehoods about removing chemical weapons in Syria. (Interestingly enough, the one person in the Obama administration who was admitting that the deal to get Syria to turn over its chemical weapons was unreliable was James Clapper. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee as much in February of last year, the same month as the primary debate where Trump accused Bush of lying about WMD.)

Now, there are still plenty of valid geostrategic reasons to oppose the Iraq war or think Saddam Hussein should have been handled differently. Further, there are still a number of things that Bush administration officials and their supporters did and said about WMD that were ill-advised.

However, it was always very far from a clear-cut conclusion that Bush knowingly lied us into war or that Iraq didn't have sizable WMD stockpiles. The WMD issue is sadly instructive in how domestic political imperatives can get in the way of important facts. Those on the left, along with the media, were heavily invested in the notion that Bush was lying, and undermining his credibility was necessary for improving their political fortunes. And being invested in the notion that Bush was lying meant denying the existence of chemical weapons in the region to an absurd degree. That has had serious consequences.

Given what we know now, it might be worth asking who was the bigger liar when it came to WMD? George W. Bush? Or the president that refused to enforce "red lines" against using chemical weapons, whose own director of national Intelligence believed Syria had WMD from Iraq and still had his national security adviser and secretary of state touting a sham deal that supposedly rid Syria of "100 percent" of its chemical weapons?


Poster Comment:

An apt article for the Bush Wars article category.

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#2. To: Tooconservative (#0)

Kerry/BarryO LIED...and CHILDREN DIED!!

HOO cares?! NOT DemRATZ...MUD

Mudboy Slim  posted on  2017-04-12   10:54:41 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


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