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AP Writer Ignores Evidence of Iraq WMD
The American Thinker ^ | August 8, 2006 | Ray Robison

Posted on 08/08/2006 6:12:20 AM PDT by Quilla


A recent article by Pulitzer-winning AP writer Charles Hanley entitled “Half of U.S. still believes Iraq had WMD” builds a not so subtle argument: those who believe Saddam Hussein still had WMD need to get fitted for tin foil hats. 

He begins the piece with a reasonable question “Do you believe Saddam Hussein had WMD in 2003?” What follows is an examination of possible reasons why fifty percent of American’s said yes:

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

Notice that the most reasonable conclusion as to why half of Americans answered in the affirmative is not posited by Hanley; that coalition forces did in fact find WMD in Iraq

Munitions Found in Iraq Meet WMD Criteria, Official Says

“These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes … they do constitute weapons of mass destruction,” Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee.

Col. Chu is the commander of the National Ground Intelligence Center. Is this a genuine omission on Hanley’s part? Hanley tells us next:

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight.

Completely, unequivocally false. The very existence of a biological program was completely denied by the Saddam regime until a major stash of documents hidden at a farm was discovered in the mid nineties. And while the UN did destroy much of Saddam’s WMD arsenal following the 1991 UN resolutions, the practice of carrying it out was delayed and denied by Saddam Hussein as was well documented at the time by the UN inspectors.

Rolf Ekeus himself, possibly the most knowledgeable man on the planet about the subject, said in a 2003 interview with Jim Lehrer of PBS that Iraq was still producing small quantities of chemical agents in the mid nineties.

JIM LEHRER: Hans Blix, your Swedish diplomatic colleague who was the last chief weapons inspector from the U. N., he said in an interview last week in London that he’s come to the conclusion that, and what you’re saying seems to be saying the same thing, that the Iraqis in fact destroyed whatever they had stockpiled after 1991. Do you agree with that?

ROLF EKEUS: No, not at all, because when we came in and UNSCOM in ‘91, in April ‘91 after the war—

JIM LEHRER: Even since 1991.

ROLF EKEUS: Yeah, we came in, there we found huge quantities of chemical weapons, certainly they were not destroyed.

JIM LEHRER: In all fairness to Hans Blix, I misspoke—what he said was since 1991 they had been destroyed through your offices.

ROLF EKEUS: We destroyed them, definitely. It had to be special destruction and it took several years to clean up, in 96, we could end biological weapons destruction programs. We took many years, first to find it. However, I agree, my sense is that they did not produce anything since ‘91, for several reasons. First of all, it was the presence of weapons experts. [emphasis added]

JIM LEHRER: Because you all were there, the inspectors were there, and they were under surveillance all the time.

ROLF EKEUS: Yeah, and they took a political decision, the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein who defected at some stage and returned and was killed by Saddam, he told me during the debriefings in Amman in ‘95 that they had taken the decision not to produce during the prevailing circumstances, any new biological, chemical weapons—but instead develop the quality to…

JIM LEHRER: The capability to do it?

ROLF EKEUS: Precisely, the engineers, process specialists and so on.

JIM LEHRER: So back…

ROLF EKEUS: And quality. Small batches of production to develop quality.  [emphasis added]

And the very report that Hanley cites concluded:

Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a CW effort when sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favorable

What is perhaps most startling about Hanley’s piece is this statement:

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight.

But what did the ISG report say?

While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991.

What’s the difference? Notice the ISG report said this about the chemical program, not biological as Hanley claims. So what was the finding on the biological program?

In 1991, Saddam Husayn regarded BW as an integral element of his arsenal of WMD weapons, and would have used it if the need arose.

ISG judges that Iraq’s actions between 1991 and 1996 demonstrate that the state intended to preserve its BW capability and return to a steady, methodical progress toward a mature BW program when and if the opportunity arose.

And note that Hanley found it convenient to leave out the word “unilaterally” from his inaccurate recitation of the ISG report. Why is that important? Because these weapons can not all be confirmed as being destroyed. In fact Dr. Laurie Mylroie has quite adeptly pointed out that to the public’s knowledge; the Saddam regime did not hand over a single biological weapon to the UN.

On to Hanley’s next point:

I’m flabbergasted,” said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration’s shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.

“This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence,” Massing said.

Oh, well then, get your tin foil hats now half of America, a media critic is disappointed in you. For shame! 

Note that he did not quote the Director of DIA who said

“I do believe the former regime did a very poor job of accountability of munitions, and certainly did not document the destruction of munitions… “The recovery program goes on, and I do not believe we have found all the weapons.”

Hanley proceeds:

Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance.

The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq stated:

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001 underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Notice the argument here made and maintained by the Bush Administration and congress had nothing to do with firing artillery shells as artillery ordinance, but the possibility that these weapons could be handed over to terrorists who would use them in an IED fashion. Nobody said Saddam was going to shoot artillery rounds at DC from Iraq. These rounds were perfectly suited for IED use as did happen in Iraq when a chemical round was used against coalition forces.

Since the 1990s, such “orphan” munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.

Clearly the intent of Saddam plays into this argument. Was Saddam’s intent to comply fully with the UN resolutions, or to hide weapons? Saddam had twelve years to find all of his WMD. He had an international community willing to help. If Saddam really wanted to find all his WMD, why didn’t he ask for help instead of kicking the inspectors out from 1998 to 2002? He wanted less compliance not more.

Hanley posits a rationale that these weapons were just left on a back shelf or buried underground. But the salient question is why coalition forces, in less than three years while fighting terrorists and an insurgency, found these weapons, yet Saddam couldn’t find them in twelve years in a country that he owned.

addam’s intent is not concealed by his supposed failure to find weapons; Saddam had no intention of 100% compliance.

Hanley writes:

As recently as May 27, Bush told West Point graduates, “When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity.”

“Which isn’t true,” observed Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a scholar of presidential rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania. But “it doesn’t surprise me when presidents reconstruct reality to make their policies defensible.” This president may even have convinced himself it’s true, she said.

Really? Not according to TIME dated Feb 24, 2003: 

UN weapons inspectors have demanded that Iraq destroy its entire arsenal of the offending missile by March 1. Chief inspector Dr. Hans Blix has declined to negotiate with Baghdad over that demand — leaving no doubt that failure to comply would lead him to report to the Security Council that Iraq has failed a benchmark disarmament test. And although Saddam hinted at a defiant response in a TV interview with CBS, Monday, his handling of the crisis thus far suggests he’ll ultimately comply.

So here, just days before the war, Saddam is not being compliant but defiant about handing over prohibited weapons. He did hand them over just 2 days before the start of war, after dragging the process out for a few weeks. In other words, the attack was imminent and it was a last-second attempt after 12 years of stalling to delay a little while longer.

Hanley’s article fails to note that experts have concluded that these weapons found in Iraq were WMD. It fails to note that the true threat was the potential for Saddam to hand such weapons to terrorists, as plainly stated but the U.S. government. The most boisterous expert statements in the article are from people who are not WMD or Iraq experts. Excerpts from official reports are modified to fit his thesis. And the general tenor is that everybody knows Saddam had no WMD, go get your tin hat.

Despite the fact that Col. Chu did not win a Pulitzer, I think I will take his word that those 500 WMD rounds were, in fact, WMD.

Ray Robison

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ap; dinosaurmedia; ignorantmedia; iraq; iraqiwmds; mediabias; saddam; wmd; wot
Great article. Enjoy!
1 posted on 08/08/2006 6:12:22 AM PDT by Quilla
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To: Quilla

Once again, the quisling AP lets loose with a total line of shiite. And there are still those on this forum that continue to believe in the veracity of their reporting.

2 posted on 08/08/2006 6:14:50 AM PDT by pissant
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To: Quilla

I fail to be surprised by anything the MSM does...Reuters recently posting the obviously faked photos shows how little credibility they have.

3 posted on 08/08/2006 6:18:31 AM PDT by The Great RJ ("Mir wölle bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: Quilla

With over 500 old mustard/sarin gas shells found they can question why people believed Saddam had WMD. With no evidence of MIHOP they have no questions as to why 30 percent of the people believe in it. Sure. No bias whatsoever. It's just their "policy" (which is what Peter Jennings and Newsweek called it when asked why MSM don't ask tough questions of liberals).

4 posted on 08/08/2006 6:20:13 AM PDT by techcor
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To: Quilla

This just in: British oceanliner Titanic sunk by iceburg

5 posted on 08/08/2006 6:20:55 AM PDT by TheSuaveOne
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To: pissant
The Associated -- with Fazools -- Press
6 posted on 08/08/2006 6:23:04 AM PDT by johnny7 (“And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda... what's Fonzie like?!”)
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To: Quilla
The "No WMDs" talking point has all the intellectual weight behind it as "the emporer's new clothes."

If you believe your own eyes, rather than what the media tells you, you are obviously not very smart, and they'll remind you every day.

And a significant percentage of the population falls for that tired old gag.

7 posted on 08/08/2006 6:27:47 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Quilla

I saw this WMD story posted yesterday, I'm glad to see someone bitch-slap AP writer Charles Hanley!

8 posted on 08/08/2006 6:35:52 AM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: Quilla
Thanks for posting it!


DoD Report: 50 Trucks Carried Iraqi WMD To Syria

9 posted on 08/08/2006 6:37:23 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: Quilla

CNN insisted long ago that they had to curry favor with Saddam in order to stay in Iraq and be able to report onsite Iraqi propaganda. They saw nothing wrong with this. Nothing's changed except Saddam's in jail. The Leftist press continues to spout Nazi lies. (It gets CNN's Anderson Cooper Inside Hezbollah!)

10 posted on 08/08/2006 6:38:18 AM PDT by hershey
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To: techcor

"No bias whatsoever. It's just their "policy" (which is what Peter Jennings and Newsweek called it when asked why MSM don't ask tough questions of liberals)."

That's the truth alright. By the way, do you have a web link to Jennings' quote?

11 posted on 08/08/2006 6:49:50 AM PDT by blitzgig
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To: blitzgig

Nope. Sorry . It was on Larry King Live which I happened to catch while flipping through. In the same interview Larry asked him if he thought liberals were intolerant to which Peter replied that liberals were tolerant of people who agreed with them. Well, DUH! Even the KKK and nazis are tolerant of people who agree with them.

12 posted on 08/08/2006 7:14:58 AM PDT by techcor
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To: techcor

Oh well, rush is retaiating by claiming that his is the best informed media audioence. This story follows on claims thjat Fox viewers are uninformed. that has been around since the last election. Explains why we did not vote for smarty pants Kerry.

13 posted on 08/08/2006 8:24:05 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: Quilla
There is an AP article about 9/11 conspiracy theories. I saw it in the paper the same day as the WMD hit piece.

The tone of the 9/11 piece was very favorable to the nuts in my opinion. According to the AP if you believe that Saddam would of had WMD's you are a nut, if you believe that Bush knew about 9/11 and the WTC was imploded well there is some respected "experts" who might agree and who are we to say if they are wrong.
14 posted on 08/08/2006 10:32:26 AM PDT by Swiss
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To: Quilla
The only way the peacenik Democrats would have made such early 'No WMD' claims would have been if the Russians had given them assurances that any WMD caches that did remain had been taken outside Iraq. Saddam's WMD stash was so large however, that even the Russians could not move all of them outside Iraq while the UN/French/German Leftists stalled and covered for them. So now the peacenik Leftists are forced to deny that 500 WMD shells were in fact 500 WMD shells. In the end, the leftist have made themselves even more irrelevant on the worlds stage.
15 posted on 08/08/2006 5:07:49 PM PDT by justa-hairyape
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To: Quilla

UN inspectors: Saddam shipped out WMD before war and after

16 posted on 08/08/2006 5:09:39 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (August 22)
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