Skip to comments.U.S. Discoveres Weapons of Mass Destruction Lab..
Posted on 05/07/2003 12:53:12 PM PDT by BooBoo1000
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By PAULINE JELINEK The Associated Press Wednesday, May 7, 2003; 2:48 PM
WASHINGTON - American forces in Iraq are doing tests on trailer that matches the description of a mobile biological weapons lab given by various sources including defectors, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
It was the first time the Defense Department has announced it might have evidence of the sort of prohibited unconventional weapons program that justified forcibly disarming Saddam Hussein.
"On the smoking gun, I don't know," Under Secretary of Defense Stephen Cambone said, when asked whether this was a breakthrough in the continuing coalition search for weapons of mass destruction.
Cambone said that what the U.S. military has in its possession is the kind of mobile laboratory that Secretary of State Colin Powell described in a report to the U.N. Security Council as he sought to justify forcibly disarming Saddam.
"They have not found another plausible use for it," Cambone said.
The information Powell gave the U.N., Cambone said, "was based on information from a number of sources and it confirms what the source said."
Cambone said that experts had done initial tests on a trailer taken into custody April 19 at a Kurdish checkpoint in northern Iraq but said that more substantial testing is required.
Cambone said more testing will be required, noting that the surface of it had been washed with a caustic material and it likely would have to be dismantled before testing can be done on hard-to-reach surfaces.
It is painted a military color scheme, was found on a transporter normally used for tanks and - as an Iraqi defector has described Iraq's mobile labs - contains a fermentor and a system to capture exhaust gases, Cambone said.
Earlier Wednesday, Lt. Gen. William Wallace said that American forces have collected "plenty of documentary evidence" suggesting that Saddam had an active program for weapons of mass destruction.
Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, commander of the Army's V Corps, told a press conference the reason Saddam didn't use unconventional weapons against invading forces may be that these weapons were buried too well to retrieve before the fast coalition dash to Baghdad.
"We've collected evidence, much of it documentary, that suggests there was an active program" for unconventional weapons, Wallace said.
"A lot of the information that we're getting is coming from lower-tier Iraqis who had some knowledge of the program but not full knowledge of the program," he told Pentagon reporters in a videoconference from the Iraqi capital. "And it's just taking us a while to sort through all of that."
He did not elaborate.
The Bush administration said destroying Iraq's suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs was the main reason for the war. Despite weeks of searches of suspected sites, none has been reported found so far. And though Pentagon officials suggested before the war that some Iraqi units were armed with chemical weapons, none was found when those units were overrun.
Experts were still studying a truck suspected to be the first discovered biological-chemical mobile lab, said Wallace, who also was battle commander for the battle of Baghdad.
The suspect truck was handed over to U.S. forces in northern Iraq and was being moved to Baghdad for further investigation, a senior official said later, speaking on condition of anonymity.
On several occasions, troops have found substances they said tested positive as nerve agents or other chemical weapons materials, only to learn from more sophisticated testing that they were crop pesticides, explosives and so on.
The defense official said that he and others "feel good" about the prospect this time that they have found good evidence of an unconventional weapons program.
But they are being careful to cover all bases. He noted that many questions will be asked if it is announced as the evidence - including "chain of custody" information on who has handled the truck and whether it might have been tampered with.
Acknowledging that it was only one of his theories, Wallace said the reason such unconventional weapons never were used was that the Iraqis had to hide them from U.N. weapons inspectors up until the last days before the war.
"Inspectors only left Baghdad a few days before the start of the campaign," Wallace said. "Because they were so clever in disguising them and burying them so deep, they themselves had a problem getting to it."
Wallace said among work his men are doing now is joint police patrols and helping train Iraqis in police procedures.
He said there is still small arms fire in Baghdad and occasional criminal acts that he attributed partly to prisoners Saddam released before the war in an unusual pardon.
Looting also has been a problem in the power vacuum left by the fall of Saddam's regime. "I'm not particularly concerned about security in Baghdad at all," other than that, he said, adding that there are no areas in the entire country that he is "overly concerned about."
Troops are making progress in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, and are expanding operates all the way to the Syrian border in the west of Iraq, he said.
© 2003 The Associated Press
Nowadays, that might not even be enough.....
Let's be clear, Saddam Hussein did have WMD's and they were not all destroyed. This stuff will be (I think has been) found and the final collected list will blow most people away. You can call it faith, but that's what I believe.
As far as the persistent but unverified reports are concerned, and not to be crude, but the closest analogy that comes to mind involves the color blue and a pair of small spherical objects. It may be a painful process to go through, but personally I expect to be very satisfied when it is finally over.
"Coach, how may times are you going to run that play?"
"We'll run it till they figure out how to stop it".
Didn't the Pope come down on Bush and Blair?
Driven by "Dr. Milk"...
Maybe I'm a retard, but what in the world are you talking about?
Never, ever, say such a thing about yourself on this site. Mark my words, there will be legions who will take this comment and work their fingers to the bone to make this statement a de facto self-fulfilling prophecy.
You might as well just change your screen name right now.
P.S. the comment related to the blue dress and the stains thereupon.
My point was that weeks of hearing about all these "discoveries" without final confirmation and at the same time listening to the left crying "see, see, no WMD's!" has left many of us very frustrated.
I'm starting to miss the days of the daily 'legalize pot' and 'FREE PADILLA' threads. At least the finds are real, even if the media hype is not. Unlike the media generated SARS thing.
ROFLOL!!! (I ALMOST ruined a keyboard over that!)
Me, too, katana.
Very well said.