Now, opponents of the war often like to parse words and rhetorically argue that the war was about WMD and not WMD precursor chemicals. Compare Saddam to the late Timothy McVeigh. Both committed mass murder, both belonged in prison. Had Timothy McVeigh worked in the prison autoshop and been caught with a gallon of gasoline in his locker as well as a few pounds of fertilizer, would that have been a threat? Absolutely! He used those chemicals to make the bomb that used to commit mass murder, and similarly Saddam used different combinations of different chemicals to commit mass murder.
The Duelfer Report, after action reports from US Forces, and even mainstream media have all shown photos and video of the thousands and thousands of empty artillery shells positioned at chlorine plants, pesticide plants, and "former" chemical weapons manufacturing plants. While empty artillery shells are not an imminent threat, they could be filled in hours and turned into WMD. Most of Saddam's program had been redesigned to make fresh, potent chemical and biological weapons in hours in some cases, and so the issue becomes his intent.
Did he intend to make fresh WMD with chemical precursors-like those allegedly dumped by Russian ships? The Duelfer Report says absolutely yes, and it makes that claim based on interviews with regime leaders as well as Saddam and his history of doing so. Having said all that, some chemicals-like chlorine and concentrated pesticides-are dual use and do have non-military uses, but other chemicals do not. The ISG shows pictures of a large can of rare New Zealand opossum pesticide that is as almost as toxic as anthrax (true, no New Zealand opossums have been seen in Iraq so either the pesticide worked, or it was to be used as a weapon as the ISG report claims). Another example: SCUD missile fuel is unique to SCUD missiles. Even Hans Blix' UNMOVIC couldn't explain why Saddam's regime making SCUD missile fuel. When the war started, this chemical was gone. Perhaps deep-sixed in the Indian Ocean? Or was it poured into the Euphrates River like the massive amounts of cyanide and other toxins that US Marines discovered and CNN reported?
Missing also are the binary chemical agents that Saddam could only have used to combine and make fresh nerve agent before loading into empty artillery shells and rockets. Where are the large, illegal missiles Saddam was found to have by post-war investigations (at least 22 of these illegal missiles were fired at Coalition forces. None had chemical warheads, but post-war investigations did find that the missiles had been widened to fit SCUD warheads of which there remain several missing chemical warheads, and some had been illegally modified to carry cluster munitions as seen in the Duelfer Report).
By air, by land, and by sea, Saddam paid the Russians and Syrians to get rid of his illegal WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people. That Saddam once had horrific weapons is not in debate. Many were destroyed or decayed, and the Duelfer Report lists them in great detail, but it also lists many Remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues. For someone to claim that all of Saddam's weapons were destroyed and not moved out of Iraq in the 15-month "rush-to-war", then that someone must be able to present greater evidence of the destruction of those remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues-evidence greater than the mounting pile that suggests they were removed from Iraq.
When someone claims that Saddam destroyed all his anthrax and other chemical and biological agents, and the war was one big "Bush lie" about WMD, they need only be asked to provide some evidence of its destruction: contaminated sand, witnesses, documentation, photos, any evidence. Fact is, for thousands of liters, there is no evidence of destruction by Saddam, but there is evidence it was moved. These terrible weapons do not simply vanish, and given that a tablespoon of some can kill hundreds of thousands. It seems to many that they should be accounted for rather than dismissed as magically destroyed to fit a political agenda. Can we really believe that no one in Iraq witnessed their destruction, or do these Remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues demand resolution; proof of destruction?
My contention has been and continues to be, that the Libyan WMD program actually had belonged to Iraq...we knew it and told them to give them up or face the same fate as Saddam.
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