“ 'Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,”
October 15, 2014 10:20 AM   Subscribe

"The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West."

- The Secret Casualties of Iraq's Abandoned Chemical Weapons (SLNYT)
"The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (59 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Intercept: Revisionist History 101: Bush Was Right About Iraq WMD!:

Perhaps the most movingly pitiful exercise in American politics is the periodic attempt by Iraq War advocates to grasp at new developments that might somehow vindicate their disastrous, criminal support of that endeavor.

The latest attempt came yesterday, when The New York Times published an explosive new story on American soldiers who were wounded while handling corroded munitions extracted from Saddam Hussein’s inactive chemical weapons program. The Iraq Study Group has long documented the existence of these decrepit and corroded weapons stocks in Iraq, something which has precisely nothing to do with the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” claims purveyed by war supporters.

Given this readily available information, one would think that people would focus on the human tragedy exposed by this story and not use it as an attempt to revise history. But, sadly, one would be wrong.

posted by ryanshepard at 10:27 AM on October 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


Obligitory Bill Hicks.
posted by el io at 10:36 AM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seems more and more to me that to be a high-government official automatically means you are a loathsome deceptive criminal.

Since half the country would support anything, one side or the other, I don't really get the point of lying. They're like drunks hiding their bottles.
posted by umberto at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Obama, alas, has lost believability...He allows for NSA spying. He said gas in Syria would be a red line: it was found and nothing done about it. And so forth.
Who lied here? Obama, Pentagon? From what we discover , the NY Times pretty much does what govt wants till such time as it no longer matters or someone else will bring out what they do not do and thus make them look amateurish.
My guess is that the military would prefer to say nothing, to cover up, rather than be honest and direct.
posted by Postroad at 11:00 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who lied here? Obama, Pentagon?

From TFA, incidents were occurring well before Obama took office, meaning it was the Pentagon. Bringing Obama into this is... weird, to say the least.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:05 AM on October 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


All hierarchical organizations: SOP = CYA if things are different than The Plan That The Important People Have Decided On.

With some organizations, this kind of brittleness leads to small consequences; with others.....
posted by lalochezia at 11:09 AM on October 15, 2014


In fact, rereading the article to pay more specific attention to dates, there was a single incident reported that happened during Obama's tenure, by which point the coverup was well in place at the Pentagon. While it's possible that Obama knew about this, given that exposures and symptoms were being discounted at the camp clinic level it seems pretty unlikely that he would have known.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:18 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


"...The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program..."

Completely false. Bush never claimed that Saddam had an "active weapons program". Bush talked about finding Saddam's old weapons and preventing him from restarting his weapons programs:

Text Of Bush Iraq Speech To U.N.

Axis of Evil Speech

War Ultimatum Speech

President Bush explained repeatedly to the American public:
(1) Saddam Hussein possessed OLD weapons of mass destruction,
(2) desired to evade inspections so as to keep them,
(3) hoped to restart his weapons programs in the future,
(4) and could pass weapons to terrorist groups with ambitions to harm the West.


The NY Times is attempting to revise history.
posted by republican at 11:24 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall Colin Powell giving a speech to the UN, along with handy models of alleged mobile WMD labs...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2014 [14 favorites]


Shhh, don't stop him. He's on a roll.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:32 AM on October 15, 2014 [13 favorites]


Bush's speechwriters chose the words carefully because in those days there was still a legal framework around going to war that had to be navigated (they don't bother now) ... so words about 'restarting' 'programmes' were used, but the deafening propaganda pumped out was always 'ZOMG Saddam has WMD and will destroy us'.

Hence the famous headlines in the UK 'FORTY FIVE MINUTES FROM ATTACK' and 'HE'S GOT 'EM - LET'S GET 'IM!'
posted by colie at 11:35 AM on October 15, 2014


republican, you left of Colin Powel's speech to the UN Security Council in which he stated, "What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraqis' behavior - Iraq's behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort - no effort - to disarm as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:38 AM on October 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


This has been the US policy like...forever. Send all kinds of weapons to the dictatorship we support, and blockage those we don't like.

I have always assumed that the whole "we must invade because they have WMDs!" thing was because once we decided we didn't like Iran, we sent most of the "WMDs" to Iraq so they could fight Iran. Then later when things had settled down and we decided Saddam was the bad guy, we "knew" they had WMDs...because we'd sent them to him!
posted by CrowGoat at 11:40 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


"...concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction..."

Yes, 10th Regiment, Saddam was attempting to restart his WMD program.
posted by republican at 11:43 AM on October 15, 2014


... in the same sense that I am attempting to date a movie star.

I mean, if one presented herself...
posted by IAmBroom at 11:50 AM on October 15, 2014


Yes, 10th Regiment, Saddam was attempting to restart his WMD program.

Keep reading until you get to the part where he says, "It should come as no shock then, that since Saddam Hussein forced out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:51 AM on October 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


"...we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons."

There was intelligence for that. Just as Bush's yellowcake claim was previously verified by British intelligence.
posted by republican at 12:04 PM on October 15, 2014


Funny. I thought the original reasoning for the US going to Iraq was billed as something about ties to Al Qaeda and terrorist attacks; otherwise, why should anyone specifically care about Hussein's arsenal? The WMDs always seemed like a "since we're in the neighborhood" kind of thing from the beginning. Whether 2003 was about cleaning up an old mess or trying to prevent a naughty boy from making a new one, it looks like both are true for present-day Iraq.

Apropos of nothing, kudos to the article for depicting ISIS territory in a more realistic sense instead of as a giant blob of mostly desert land that no one technically lives in. If only someone had constructed the official national borders in a more realistic sense all those years ago.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:04 PM on October 15, 2014


Can we just ignore the willful ignorance/trolling of republican and focus on the story?
posted by RedShrek at 12:06 PM on October 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


Bush never claimed that Saddam had an "active weapons program"

He had Colin Powell go in front of the UN spouting about anthrax programs, and used plants in the Washington Post to talk about Saddam's yellowcake programs — even outing CIA agents to do so. It was all lies, of course, just like your post.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:14 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


There was intelligence for that. Just as Bush's yellowcake claim was previously verified by British intelligence.

Ah yes. I remember it well--trumpeted it from the rooftops, they did! Much like I sort of vaguely recall the congressional hearing convened on the matter three years later, which you could watch on CSPAN-3 at 2 in the morning:

Former U.S. State Department Chief of Staff, Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, testifying before Congress on June 26, 2006
...the Vice President was using portions of the intelligence documents in ways that the documents themselves did not seem to support, or at least not strongly. Others in the administration were participating in this distortion. The most startling example was the President’s State of the Union Address on January 28, 2003, which included the now infamous statement about uranium and Niger. The Secretary of State and I, and a host of others in the administration, knew that Iraq’s alleged attempt to acquire uranium from Niger, as that attempt was then reported, was highly improbable.
(transcript)
posted by Mayor West at 12:22 PM on October 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Saddam was attempting to restart his WMD program."

"...we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons."

"There was intelligence for that."

So, Saddam was attempting to restart something he was continuing to do.

You're just making this up as you go, aren't you?
posted by Bort at 12:25 PM on October 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


On the actual subject of the FPP: we're "supporting our troops" as usual, by destroying them mentally and physically (more the latter), then shipping the used and damaged humans back home to an inadequate repair system (38th in the world in quality! - well, that high if you count teaching and for-profit hospitals, along with the VA).

Every time I see a "Support Our Troops" sticker, I want to puke. America does not support its troops. It gives them plenty of toys to die with, while killing politically chosen enemies at high rates, but aside from that... their families live on shit incomes, the VA bites (and would, even if it were among the best in the US), and of course the input demographics into this human sausage churner is overwhelmingly harder on minorities, making it systemically racist.

But they get parades and discounts at amusement parks, so that's nice.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:32 PM on October 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


Just as Bush's yellowcake claim was previously verified by British intelligence.

Guardian: "Powell's claim from a discredited defector code-named "Curveball" on Iraq's biological weapons capability was particularly alarming. Valerie knew that "Curveball" had been deemed a "fabricator" by the agency, meaning that none of his intelligence could be believed."

"Rumors of a Niger-Iraq uranium deal had first surfaced in Rome in 2001, as documents purporting to be related to the sale of 500 metric tonnes of yellowcake (a lightly refined uranium ore) circulated in intelligence circles and among journalists. Those documents were later found to be forgeries, but by the time the charge made its way into the president's speech, it had already been largely discounted by both the State Department and the CIA."

"Unfortunately, as then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw testified to the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee in June 2003, the British claim had been based on separate intelligence from the forged documents, and that the British had not shared their intelligence with the US government."

Washington Post: "... 16 words: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. ... Burba felt uneasy because more than three months earlier, she had turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Rome documents about an alleged uranium sale by the central African nation of Niger. And she knew now that the documents were fraudulent and the 16 words wrong."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:38 PM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


He said gas in Syria would be a red line: it was found and nothing done about it.

Postroad: the Syrian gas stocks were destroyed through some quiet diplomacy led by the US and other nations. That's a far cry from nothing. And, let's be honest: the US has no interest in the outcome of the Syrian civil war; all sides are loathsome. But the destruction of genuine WMD, without going to war, is in the best interests of the US.
posted by SPrintF at 12:57 PM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


You mean those chemical weapons we sold to Saddam?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:00 PM on October 15, 2014


Thorzdad: As meticulously documented in my Bill Hicks link.
posted by el io at 1:22 PM on October 15, 2014


If the Bush administration really believed that Saddam Hussain had a "WMD" capability, they would've dismissed the idea of removing Hussein as too risky.

The earlier Bush left Hussein in power for exactly that reason.

What GWB had that his father did not, was years of weapons inspectors disarming the country.

This whole "but there were no WMDs!" angst bothers me. Of course there we no WMDs! There were massive protests against the invasion because even at the time the WMD claim was obvious warmongering propaganda.

And yet, even to this day, the "debate" remains thoroughly framed. The idea that the warmongers believed that Iraq wasn't a threat still remains unthinkable to most people.
posted by swr at 1:29 PM on October 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


republican: You do a very competent job at articulating the republican position (in all of your comments).

Good username.
posted by el io at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


"It should come as no shock then, that since Saddam Hussein forced out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons."

Which, of course, was bullshit. The inspectors were advised by someone from Washington that they should skedaddle on out of Iraq since the US was about to bomb the shit out of the country.
posted by NoMich at 2:35 PM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is of course a "big" thing, and a very inconsequential thing. But it is a thing I would rather not have seen in the NYT or elsewhere.

It is a very inconsequential thing because as a matter of historical fact, this disclosure does not change the propriety of the original analysis to go into Iraq. The existence of WMDs in Iraq was neither a necessary or sufficient basis for the war. It rose and fall on a full case, and history should judge it on the totality of the argument, not whether some part or another was or was not correct to some degree or another.

It is a "big" thing from a partisan point-scoring perspective because so much ink was spilled trying to score points in the other direction. I know here there were many partisan threads over years in which the non-existence of WMDs was heralded as obvious and snark was strewn as if belief in their existence was somehow reflective upon the intelligence or worth of someone who so believed:
Nope, no weapons over there...maybe under here? (Oct. 2004)

It's official: US gives up search for Iraq WMD. (Jan. 2005)

WMD smackdown on MSNBC? (Feb. 2006)

WMDs? Sorry if this is double post or newsfilter, but fox news is claiming that WMDs were found in Iraq. Is it ethical to state as truth that which was been unconfirmed by anyone but one person? Depending on how this pans out, this could continue the shift of approval that started last week. (June 2006)

Half of U.S. still believes Iraq had WMD. Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq. So much for Karl Rove's claim that it's wrong to think of U.S. voters as [uninformed and gullible.] Or "There are practitioners of politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill-informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or smart line," Rove said. Previously discussed here. Thank you Fox News. (Aug. 2006)
And you could probably find a dozen more. The rhetoric behind these posts and comments therein frequently consisted at laughing at the absurdity of the belief that Iraq had WMDs, going as far as calling half of the US "stupid" for believing it or a news agency unethical for reporting it.

But as I said, it is factually inconsequential because it was neither necessary or sufficient, so why was the partisan rhetoric so focused on it? Why was it so snarky and contentious? For no good reason at all, it turns out. Just as there is no good reason for people to crow about these findings today. It's an argument that neither side "wins"; they all lose for engaging in it. If you think the existence or non-existence of WMDs in Iraq is outcome determinative or that beliefs about that somehow reflects on the soul of your "opponent", then you are part of the problem in this country. The fact that we spend so much emotional energy over such facile topics and let them bitterly divide this country is sad and destructive.

In that regard, I would have preferred this never come out because it just reignites a pointless fight, that was pointless in the first instance and even more pointless now.
posted by dios at 3:15 PM on October 15, 2014


Okay, so we--that is, leftists--were incorrect about chemical weapons being present in Iraq.

We were still right that the Bush Administration claims of continued development of said weapons were flat out lies. This article isn't about reigniting a pointless fight, it's another piece of evidence against people--one posting in this very thread--who prefer to ignore reality.

NB: I didn't post it for that reason; I thought it was interesting and important news that these incidents were covered up. I found it strange that they were covered up, since publishing them--perhaps with a little spin--would have bolstered the Bush Administration's stance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2014


I hope this revelation will result in something beyond my personal outrage.
posted by humanfont at 5:02 PM on October 15, 2014


"These encounters carry worrisome implications now that the Islamic State, a Qaeda splinter group, controls much of the territory where the weapons were found."

...

"Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them."

...

"The United States government says the abandoned weapons no longer pose a threat. But nearly a decade of wartime experience showed that old Iraqi chemical munitions often remained dangerous when repurposed for local attacks in makeshift bombs, as insurgents did starting by 2004."
---

The NYT lost the right to be taken seriously on this exact topic more than a decade ago. It's a drag that US servicemen and Iraqis have been injured by this military-industrial waste. It's also a drag that there are piles of moldering chemical munitions out there.
posted by mwhybark at 7:07 PM on October 15, 2014


Okay, so we--that is, leftists--were incorrect about chemical weapons being present in Iraq.

Saddam slaughtered an entire Kurdish town using nerve and mustard gas in 1988, and they were used by his military in the Iran-Iraq War [PDF], so many on the left knew full well that chemical weapons were present in Iraq.

What better informed leftists knew was that they were nothing but a flimsy pretext for the invasion, and that they never posed any meaningful threat to the US or its allies.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:09 PM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Remember when ParisParamis said that Bush should be impeached if a bunch of WMD stockpiles weren't found and then tried to weasel out of it when that came to pass? Good times. Good times.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Mem-o-ries...
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:02 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


dios: In that regard, I would have preferred this never come out because it just reignites a pointless fight, that was pointless in the first instance and even more pointless now.

The NYT may indeed be trying to reclaim some kind of legitimacy in the realm of journalism regarding Gulf Wars 1 and 2, specifically, and political analysis of the Middle East, more generally.

My suspicion, however, is that the FPP'ed article is preparation for a new campaign to convince the NYT's readership that it's time to launch a war against another Middle Eastern nation.
posted by mistersquid at 9:26 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that this article has triggered so much discussion about the causes of the 2003 invasion and the state of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.

To me the key takeaway is this:
The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.
I know there is outrage fatigue with regards to the Middle East but this is outrageous. And it seems like a bad misreading to view this article as a call for more war.
posted by leopard at 9:41 PM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Okay, so we--that is, leftists--were incorrect about chemical weapons being present in Iraq.

Not really. There wasn't any question that, like the posted article makes clear, that there were old chemical weapons dumps that were in a long process of being destroyed or being left to degrade, and that fact was a matter of public record at the time. That's why the deception about Saddam restarting his weapons programs was so important to the deception campaign that sold the war -- no one actually cared if Iraq had a few rotting mustard gas shells left over from its war with Iran. Certainly not the US military, which showed a conspicuous lack of concern over supposed chemical and biological threats during the invasion.
posted by Gelatin at 5:33 AM on October 16, 2014


There wasn't any question that, like the posted article makes clear, that there were old chemical weapons dumps

That's revisionist. Read the threads I linked. There were frequent claims at the time that there were no WMDs at all (without any distinction between old and new) and even going so far as to claim that it was stupid to think there were any WMDs.

But as I said, that argument was petty and inconsequential at the time, for it didn't answer the real questions at issue and was nothing more than partisan point-scoring; what's worse, is it framed the issue as such that if some were found, then it mattered. It was all just bunk. And it is even moreso now trying to revisit the argument with those on the other side claiming to be right. It changes nothing. Historical and retrospective analysis rises and falls on the propriety of the full case, not this over-blown singular issue.
posted by dios at 9:58 AM on October 16, 2014


The full case was claiming there were lots there that were usable and that Saddam was continuing to develop more.

This article indicates that neither was true--another nail in the coffin of that case.

(If anyone feels I'm threadsitting please flag me into oblivion; I feel like I am participating in the discussion but if you don't feel that way I have no argument with you.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 AM on October 16, 2014


The full case was claiming there were lots there that were usable and that Saddam was continuing to develop more.

That was not the full case. The full case was listed in the 23 recitals/whereas clauses in the AUMF to go to Iraq. It includes references to breaches of treaties, WMDs, genocide, repression of civil population, refusal to release POWs, assassination attempts, sponsorship of terrorism, and demonstrable violations of numerous UN resolutions. Certainly WMD development capability was a large part about it, and you are correct that the existence of a current program to build nuclear weapons was alleged. But that's my point: for whatever reason our base-minded partisan-driven somehow got hung up on whether there any WMDs or not. There was a common line of discussion about whether we could find anything at all, and if we couldn't, whether the president would fake WMDs as if finding any WMD was the sole issue. Outsized emphasis was placed on it. And when there were no reports of discoveries, a bunch of emotional energy and nastiness was spilled crowing about how there aren't any WMDs at all. I've included the links showing that. It was wrong emphasis then, and it is wrong emphasis now.
posted by dios at 11:08 AM on October 16, 2014


Perhaps I should have said 'the full case as presented to the public via press releases to various media channels.'

Which really, really didn't include anything about treaties. It was all WMD all the time.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:17 AM on October 16, 2014


If breaking treaties is a legitimate excuse to invade a country, the US really should start honoring its treaties with the native population.
posted by el io at 1:09 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


dios: I completely disagree with your statement - In that regard, I would have preferred this never come out because it just reignites a pointless fight, that was pointless in the first instance and even more pointless now.

Seems like it's a very important discussion to:
  • Those hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis (can't give an exact number, can we, didn't really keep count)
  • those who have died since, in the ongoing internecine hell they now live in.
  • Our 4000+ dead and even more permanent wounded.
  • the lost opportunities and permanent debt from that unnecessary war of choice.
  • the interference and distraction from the hunt for the actual mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Pretty much on the opposite side of the universe from pointless.
posted by lon_star at 4:08 AM on October 17, 2014


Okay, so we--that is, leftists--were incorrect about chemical weapons being present in Iraq.

Speak for yourself! As far as I'm concerned, biological and chemical weapons are not in the same class as nuclear weapons. The joke at the time ran that we knew Saddam had chemical weapons - we just had to check the receipts.

The big issue with WMD as a classification is that chemical and biological weapons are less effective by both mass and volume than simple explosives. Using one obvious example The Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack. A coordinated strike at five locations on the Tokyo Subway in rush hour. Which is pretty much the world's best location for that sort of attack. Total dead: 13.
posted by Francis at 5:15 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


The rehash of the wmd debate ignores the important facts disclosed in this article:
-The Bush team prefered to say no weapons were found instead of revealing that most of the weappns we found were designed in the US, built in Europe and sold to Saddam.
-The Bush administration was so afraid of these revalations that they put US soldiers, contractors and civilians in harms way rather than have the facts come to light.

We must pressure congress and the current President to take action to investigate these crimes.
posted by humanfont at 5:25 AM on October 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


"...Within its first six years, US sanctions against Iraq killed well over 500,000 children. Even the US mass media took notice of the suffering of Iraq's children. So it was that in 1996 the CBS News program “60 Minutes” interviewed then-Ambassador Madeleine Albright about the deaths..."

Madeleine Albright says the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was "worth it"

So...500,000 dead children by the end of Clinton's first term. It's logical to conclude that the number was close to 1,000,000 or more by the end of Clinton's second term.

Removing Saddam from power has saved hundreds of thousands and perhaps over a million Iraqi lives in the 11 years since he was deposed.
posted by republican at 10:02 AM on October 17, 2014


Keep moving those goalposts! Never gets old.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:24 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


well, you know, except for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by coalition forces.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:03 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


These statistics are a fantasy created by those who wanted to end the sanctions. They can't be documented or verified. They don't count those killed by Saddam's choices to use oil for food to enrich himself and his cronies, nor his decision to attack the kurds in the north and various actions against the Shi'ites and Marsh arabs in the south of Iraq.
posted by humanfont at 11:19 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


It may not matter who made up those numbers, if the reasons Republicans say we went to war keep changing from WMDs to something else entirely. That it is always-something-else seems to be the point — and the main problem.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2014




All of which deaths would have stopped had Saddam, you know, done what the rest of the world wanted him to do.

Now how about those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by the invasion of Iraq? Hmm?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:30 AM on October 19, 2014


Unfortunately the UN has a spotty record on reporting on human rights issues.

Looking specifically at the deaths attributable to the sanctions it is very hand wavy. First one have to accept that Iraqi stats on mortality under Saddam before and after sanctions were accurate, or that external organizations could gather independent data. Then one must determine how much of a factor sanctions were vs. Saddams deliberate government policy. For example were Iraqi children malnourished because of sanctions or because the regime decides to use oil for food money to build palaces and enrich themselves. If there has been no sanctions would there really have been a trickle down effect to ordinary Iraqi's or would Saddam and his friends just enriched themselves further.
posted by humanfont at 3:26 PM on October 19, 2014


You know what's bullshit? Citing the UN when your justification for war was WMDs, and you ignored the UN Security Council on the basis of that justification.

Such bullshit, right? And yet the same people get to keep telling the same bullshit lies. It almost borders on trolling.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:29 PM on October 19, 2014


Screw the niger cake. We invaded to free the people of Iraq from misery and...harm.
posted by clavdivs at 10:00 PM on October 19, 2014


"Once, when I told him the U.S. was fed up with the kurds and would abandon the north one day"
-Bob Baer. From a conversation between Barzani and Baer in 1995.
posted by clavdivs at 10:16 PM on October 19, 2014


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