Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Was The War Justified?!


To stop the genocide that lead to the over 400,000 bodies discovered in mass graves in Iraq so far (including mothers with bullet holes in their heads still clutching their babies holding toys in their hands.) or


To spread democracy and give the people of the Middle East a chance to taste freedom, choose their leaders democratically, and hopefully contribute to other forms of income before the world no longer needs oil. (Democracy in Egypt after protests lead to more than one candidate being placed on ballots for presidential elections, A crowd of over 150,000 people smash baricades to cheer for President Bush in Georgia hoping to increase pressure on Russia to end it's backing for two seperatist regions, The people of the Ukraine demand and receive a fair democratic election, Palestinian territories hold and democratically elect a new leader, Iraqi's show up in masses (amid threats) to democratically elect prominent leaders from all ethnic groups including Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, The Taliban regime is removed and democratic elections take place in Afghanistan, Syrians are forced out of Lebanon and TRUE democratic elections are finally set to be held, The Kind of Jordan claimed (in an interview with Peter Jennings) that he planned to replace the absolute monarchy with a democratic constitutional monarchy due to citizen's demands, Iran-Iraq governments together released statement blaming Saddam for killing rival politicians, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991 etc.) or or or or


To avoid Saddam succeeding in getting sanctions dropped and developing WMD's. (Saddam HIMSELF admits (as reported in the Duefler Report which libby's like to site as evidence of no WMD's in Iraq) that he was waiting out the UN inspectors (who weren't serious anyway since they were enthralled in the Oil-For-Food Scandal) and bribing security council members (Russia, Germany, France, etc.) with the Oil-For-Food Scandal into dropping sanctions so he could assemble nukes and attack Iran to defend his legacy. or or


To take a stand against regimes that harbor and support terrorists. (Saddam's regime was well known for assisting and financing Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO AND al-Qaida). (see comments section for a list of connections)


To enforce the 13 UN resolutions that Saddam was in violation of for over 8 years instead of taking the word of this mad man. (Note: Due to the UN's involvement in the Oil-For-Food Scandal, they weren't interested in enforcing their own resolutions. The same can be said for France, Russia, Germany and many other countries that opposed the war because they were deeply entrenched in the scandal.)


B2 said...

Here is a list of connections between Iraq and terrorist organizations that I can think of:

• Cleric al-Sadr who has called for the jihad in Fellujah has vowed to “increase the power of the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah in Iraq”.
• The fall of Saddam Hussein closed what had become the single biggest source of funds for Hamas in the past five years. Several other Arab countries have been forced to close channels through which funds were collected for and directed to Hamas."
• Baathist Iraq was a general store for terrorists, complete with cash, training, lodging, and even medical attention.
Hussein paid bonuses of up to $25,000 to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers.
• "President Saddam Hussein has recently told the head of the Palestinian political office, Faroq al-Kaddoumi, his decision to raise the sum granted to each family of the martyrs of the Palestinian uprising to $25,000 instead of $10,000," Iraq's former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, declared at a Baghdad meeting of Arab politicians and businessmen on March 11, 2002, Reuters reported two days later. Mahmoud Besharat, who the White House says dispensed these funds across the West Bank, gratefully said: "You would have to ask President Saddam why he is being so generous. But he is a revolutionary and he wants this distinguished struggle, the intifada, to continue." Between Aziz's announcement and the March 20 launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 28 homicide bombers injured 1,209 people and killed 223 more, including at least eight Americans.
• According to the State Department's May 21, 2002 "Patterns of Global Terrorism," the Abu Nidal Organization, the Arab Liberation Front, Hamas, the Kurdistan Worker's party, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization and the Palestinian Liberation Front all operated offices or bases in Hussein's Iraq. Hussein's hospitality towards these mass murderers placed him in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which prohibited him from giving safe harbor to or otherwise supporting terrorists.
• Coalition forces have found alive and well key terrorists who enjoyed Hussein's hospitality. Among them was Abu Abbas, mastermind of the October 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Manhattan retiree who Abbas's men rolled, wheelchair and all, into the Mediterranean. Khala Khadr al-Salahat, accused of designing the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988 (259 killed on board, 11 dead on the ground), also lived in Baathist Iraq.
Before fatally shooting himself four times in the head on August 16, 2002, as Baghdad claimed, Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal had resided in Iraq since 1999. As the AP's Sameer N. Yacoub reported on August 21, 2002, the Beirut office of the Abu Nidal Organization said he entered Iraq "with the full knowledge and preparations of the Iraqi authorities." Nidal's attacks in 20 countries killed at least 275 people and wounded some 625 others. Among other atrocities, ANO henchmen bombed a TWA airliner over the Aegean Sea in 1974, killing all 88 people on board.
• Coalition troops destroyed at least three terrorist training camps including a base near Baghdad called Salman Pak. It featured a passenger-jet fuselage where numerous Iraqi defectors reported that foreign terrorists were instructed how to hijack airliners with utensils.

Ties to al Qaeda:
• The Philippine government expelled Hisham al Hussein, the second secretary at Iraq's Manila embassy, on February 13, 2003. Cell-phone records indicate that the diplomat had spoken with Abu Madja and Hamsiraji Sali, leaders of Abu Sayyaf, just before and just after this al Qaeda-allied Islamic militant group conducted an attack in Zamboanga City. Abu Sayyaf's nail-filled bomb exploded on October 2, 2002, injuring 23 individuals and killing two Filipinos and U.S. Special Forces Sergeant First Class Mark Wayne Jackson, age 40. As Dan Murphy wrote in the Christian Science Monitor last February 26, those phone records bolster Sali's claim in a November 2002 TV interview that the Iraqi diplomat had offered these Muslim extremists Baghdad's help with joint missions.
• Journalist Stephen F. Hayes reported in July that the official Babylon Daily Political Newspaper published by Hussein's eldest son, Uday, ran what it called a "List of Honor." The paper's November 14, 2002, edition gave the names and titles of 600 leading Iraqis, including this passage: "Abid Al-Karim Muhamed Aswod, intelligence officer responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group at the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan." That name, Hayes wrote, matches that of Iraq's then-ambassador to Islamabad. Carter-appointed federal appeals judge Gilbert S. Merritt discovered this document in Baghdad while helping Iraq rebuild its legal system. He wrote in the June 25 Tennessean that two of his Iraqi colleagues remember secret police agents removing that embarrassing edition from newsstands and confiscating copies of it from private homes. The paper was not published for the next ten days. Judge Merritt theorized that the "impulsive and somewhat unbalanced" Uday may have showcased these dedicated Baathists to "make them more loyal and supportive of the regime" as war loomed.
• Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, formerly the director of an al Qaeda training base in Afghanistan, fled to Iraq after being injured as the Taliban fell. He received medical care and convalesced for two months in Baghdad. He then opened a terrorist training camp in northern Iraq and arranged the October 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman, Jordan.
• While Iraqi Ramzi Yousef, ringleader of the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot, fled the U.S. on a Pakistani passport, he arrived here on an Iraqi passport.
Author Richard Miniter reported September 25 on TechCentralStation: "U.S. forces recently discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, that show Iraq gave Mr. Yasin both a house and a monthly salary." Indiana-born, Iraqi-reared al Qaeda member Abdul Rahman Yasin was indicted for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that exploded beneath the World Trade Center, killing six and injuring some 1,000 New Yorkers
• Along Iraq's border with Syria, U.S. troops captured Farouk Hijazi, Hussein's former ambassador to Turkey and suspected liaison to al Qaeda. Under interrogation, Hijazi "admitted meeting with senior al Qaeda leaders at Saddam's behest in 1994."
• While sifting through the Mukhabarat's bombed ruins last April 26, the Toronto Star's Mitch Potter, the London Daily Telegraph's Inigo Gilmore and their translator discovered a memo in the intelligence service's accounting department. Dated February 19, 1998 and marked "Top Secret and Urgent," it said the agency would pay "all the travel and hotel expenses inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden, the Saudi opposition leader, about the future of our relationship with him, and to achieve a direct meeting with him." The memo's three references to bin Laden were obscured crudely with correction fluid.
• tantalizing clues suggest Saddam Hussein might not have shared the world's shock when fireballs erupted from the Twin Towers. Recall that his Salman Pak terror camp taught terrorists air piracy on an actual jet fuselage.
• On January 5, 2000, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir — an Iraqi airport greeter reportedly dispatched from Baghdad's embassy in Malaysia — welcomed Khalid al Midhar and Nawaz al Hamzi to Kuala Lampur and escorted them to a local hotel where these September 11 hijackers met with 9/11 conspirators Ramzi bin al Shibh and Tawfiz al Atash. Five days later, according to Stephen Hayes, Shakir disappeared. He was arrested in Qatar on September 17, 2001, six days after al Midhar and al Hamzi slammed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, killing 216 people. On his person and in his apartment, authorities discovered papers tying him to the 1993 WTC plot and "Operation Bojinka," al Qaeda's 1995 plan to blow up 12 jets over the Pacific at once.
• The Czech Republic stands by its claim that 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim an-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat/intelligence agent. He was expelled two weeks after the suspected meeting with Atta for apparently hostile surveillance of Radio Free Europe's Prague headquarters, from which American broadcasts to Iraq emanate.
• Clinton-appointed Manhattan federal judge Harold Baer ordered Hussein and his ousted regime to pay $104 million in damages to the families of George Eric Smith and Timothy Soulas, both killed in the Twin Towers along with 2,790 others.
• World Review reports, “Iraq was a haven for international terrorists including the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarkawi and Abu Nidal. We now know that Saddam assisted al Qaeda in the production of VX gas in Sudan. He was clearly sympathetic to the terrorists' cause, permitting training camps to openly operate in the north. And does anyone really doubt that Saddam would have restarted his chemical, biological, and nuclear-weapons programs at the first available instant?
• Operation Iron Promise, a special antiterrorism detail in Baghdad, has captured 129 terrorists so far, and has confiscated large amounts of IED materials, rockets, and mortar rounds.
• Vice President Dick Cheney told National Public Radio last January 22: "We've discovered since [Iraq's liberation] documents indicating that a guy named Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was a part of the team that attacked the World Trade Center in '93, when he arrived back in Iraq was put on the payroll and provided a house, safe harbor and sanctuary."
• excavated on Tuesday a January 23, 1999, Washington Post article in which Clarke defended the Clinton administration's August 20, 1998, cruise-missile strike on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. That mission avenged al Qaeda's demolition of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that August 7, which killed 224 individuals and injured more than 5,000. The Post quoted Clarke as "sure" that Iraqi experts there produced a powdered VX nerve gas component. According to the Post, Clarke "said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan."
• Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas made news March 9 by dying of natural causes in U.S. military custody in Iraq. Green Berets captured him last April 14 in Baghdad, where he had lived under Hussein's protection since 2000. After masterminding the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking, in which U.S. retiree Leon Klinghoffer was murdered, Abbas slipped Italian custody. How? 'Abu Abbas was the holder of an Iraqi diplomatic passport,' Italy's then-premiere Bettino Craxi announced then. So, Rome let him split for Yugoslavia, and beyond.
• Speaking of diplomacy, the Philippine government booted the second secretary at Iraq's Manila embassy, Hisham al Hussein, on February 13, 2003, after discovering that the same mobile phone that reached his number on October 3, 2002, six days later rang another cell phone strapped to a bomb at the San Roque Elementary School in Zamboanga. While that device failed, another exploded one day earlier in Zamboanga, wounding 23 and killing three, including U.S. Special Forces Sergeant First Class Mark Wayne Jackson. That mobile phone also registered calls to Abu Madja and Hamsiraji Ali, leaders of Abu Sayyaf, al Qaeda's Philippine branch. It was launched in the late 1980s by the late Abdurajak Janjalani, with the help of Jamal Mohammad Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law.
• As the Washington Times's Marc Lerner reported on March 3, 2003, Hamsiraji Ali, an Abu Sayyaf commander on the southern island of Basilan, bragged that his group received almost $20,000 annually from Iraqis close to Saddam Hussein.
"It's so we would have something to spend on chemicals for bomb-making and for the movement of our people," Sali explained.
• Iraqi diplomat Muwafak al-Ani also was expelled from the Philippines, the Christian Science Monitor's Dan Murphy reported February 26, 2003. In 1991, an Iraqi embassy car took two terrorists near America's Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center in Manila. As they hid a bomb there, it exploded, killing one fanatic. Al-Ani's business card was found in the survivor's pocket, triggering al-Ani's ouster.
• Washington Times Pentagon correspondents Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough reported March 19 on a 20-page, Arabic-language document from the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Stamped "top secret," it lists IIS "collaborators," among them, "the Saudi Osama bin Laden." It says he is a "Saudi businessman and is in charge of the Saudi opposition in Afghanistan...And he is in good relationship with our section in Syria." Signed "Jabar," the 1993 record seemed authentic to an American official who reviewed it.
• "Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad," CIA Director George Tenet concluded in an October 7, 2002 letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al-Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links with terrorists will increase, even absent US military action."
Secret bunkers held chemical weapons, says Iraqi exile
A scientist describes Saddam's weapons and stealth technology programs, reports Russell Skelton.
• A former Iraqi intelligence officer has disclosed new information about Saddam Hussein's ties to the al-Qaida-related terrorist group Ansar al Islam. The Iraqi intelligence agent said he served as coordinator between the Iraqi Special Security Department and the hardline Kurdish fundamentalist groups, including Ansar al Islam. Arabic press reports identified the officer as Haydar al Shammari, who used the pseudonym Abd al Rahman al-Shammari. Shammari said that Ansar "was originally set up as a branch of al-Qaida organization in Kurdistan and had strong ties with Iraqi intelligence that exerted great efforts to bring the extremist Islamic elements in Kurdistan together and make them form a new organization in the name of Jund-al-Islam that later turned into Ansar al-Islam." Iraqi intelligence opened several training camps for Ansar members to learn how to use explosives, conduct kidnappings and carry out suicide bombing attacks, according to the former officer. Shammari said he was the liaison between Iraqi intelligence and the group. The official who was his superior for the ties was identified as Col. Sadun al-Ani, who also was known as Abu Wail. Shammari revealed he met frequently with Arabs from Afghanistan who crossed into Iraq from Jordan and Syria. The Arab Afghans included "a number of the best experts in explosives and booby-trapped vehicles and also in making chemical weapons," he said. The former regime also set up several camps near Baghdad for the Arab Afghans to conduct training.
• Investigative journalist Edward J. Epstein has uncovered Czech government visa records indicating al-Ani was posted to the Iraqi embassy in Prague between March 1999 and April 21, 2001, and was involved in handling Iraqi agents. A search of the Iraq Embassy in Prague after the fall of Baghdad to coalition forces revealed al-Ani had scheduled a meeting for April 8, 2001, with a Hamburg student, according to an appointment calendar obtained by Czech intelligence. Al-Ani then was placed under surveillance as he met with a young Arab-speaking man in Prague April 8. After seeing Atta's photograph after Sept. 11, the Czech counterintelligence watcher identified the man he had seen meeting al-Ani as Atta. Al-Ani was expelled from Prague within two weeks. According to Epstein, al-Ani denied he met Atta and repeated the denial after being detained by U.S. forces in July. According to Epstein, Spanish intelligence has uncovered information indicating Algerians Khaled Madani and Moussa Laouar supplied Atta and another al-Qaida member, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, with false passports.
• Jayna Davis, author of "The Third Terrorist: The Middle Eastern Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing." suggests the September 11 attacks possibly could have been prevented if evidence of an Iraqi and al-Qaida link to the OKC bombing had been pursued. Davis writes that in November 1997, Hussain Hashem Al-Hussaini – a former Iraqi Republican Guardsman whom multiple eyewitnesses identified as McVeigh's elusive accomplice, John Doe 2 – confided to his psychiatrist that he was anxious about his airport job because "if something were to happen there, I (Al-Hussaini) would be a suspect." At the time, Al-Hussaini was employed at Boston Logan International Airport, where two of the four 9-11 suicide hijackings originated. She also reveals court records that suggest one of bombers Timothy McVeigh's and Terry Nichols's accused Middle Eastern handlers had foreknowledge of the 9-11 plot. In addition, Davis discusses information she first uncovered eight years ago – that Nichols learned the macabre genius of terrorist bomb making under the training of Philippines-based al-Qaida explosives expert Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Richard Clarke’s comments on extensive connections between Baghdad and bin Laden:
• he told the September 11 Commission about Abdul Rahman Yasin, the al Qaeda operative indicted who federal prosecutors indicted for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that rocked the World Trade Center, killed six, and injured 1,042 people on February 26, 1993.
"He was an Iraqi," Clarke observed. "Therefore, when the explosion took place, and he fled the United States, he went back to Iraq." While Clarke believes Baghdad did not orchestrate that attack, he concedes that Hussein embraced this assassin.
• "The Iraqi government," Clarke continued, "didn't cooperate in turning him over and gave him sanctuary, as it did give sanctuary to other terrorists."

B2 said...

Here is some evidence that Saddam was working on WMD's:

• We now know that Saddam assisted al Qaeda in the production of VX gas in Sudan. (Does anyone really doubt that Saddam would have restarted his chemical, biological, and nuclear-weapons programs at the first available instant?)
• "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
• "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is calculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
• In virtually every case -- chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles -- the United States has found the weapons and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years from U.N. weapons inspectors.
• The Iraq Survey Group, ISG, whose intelligence analysts are managed by Charles Duelfer, a former State Department official and deputy chief of the U.N.-led arms-inspection teams, has found "hundreds of cases of activities that were prohibited" under U.N. Security Council resolutions, a senior administration official tells Insight.
• There is a long list of charges made by the U.S. that have been confirmed, but none of this seems to mean anything because the weapons that were unaccounted for by the United Nations remain unaccounted for.
• Both Duelfer and his predecessor, David Kay, reported to Congress that the evidence they had found on the ground in Iraq showed Saddam's regime was in "material violation" of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the last of 17 resolutions that promised "serious consequences" if Iraq did not make a complete disclosure of its weapons programs and dismantle them in a verifiable manner.
• Both Duelfer and Kay found Iraq had "a clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses with equipment that was suitable to continuing its prohibited chemical- and biological-weapons [BW] programs," the official said.
• "They found a prison laboratory where we suspect they tested biological weapons on human subjects."
• They found equipment for "uranium-enrichment centrifuges" whose only plausible use was as part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. In all these cases, "Iraqi scientists had been told before the war not to declare their activities to the U.N. inspectors," the official said.
• "Saddam Hussein's prohibited missile programs are as close to a slam dunk as you will ever find for violating United Nations resolutions," the first official said. Both senior administration officials spoke to Insight on condition that neither their name nor their agency be identified, but their accounts of what the United States has found in Iraq coincided in every major area.
• Former weapons inspector Kay detailed what the ISG had found in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last October, few took notice. Among Kay's revelations, which officials tell Insight have been amplified in subsequent inspections in recent weeks:

• A prison laboratory complex that may have been used for human testing of BW agents and "that Iraqi officials working to prepare the U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N." Why was Saddam interested in testing biological-warfare agents on humans if he didn't have a biological-weapons program?
• "Reference strains" of a wide variety of biological-weapons agents were found beneath the sink in the home of a prominent Iraqi BW scientist. "We thought it was a big deal," a senior administration official said. "But it has been written off [by the press] as a sort of 'starter set.'"
• New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin that were not declared to the United Nations.
• A line of unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, or drones, "not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 kilometers [311 miles], 350 kilometers [217 miles] beyond the permissible limit."
• "Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited Scud-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N."
• "Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] -- well beyond the 150-kilometer-range limit [93 miles] imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1,000-kilometer range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara [Turkey], Cairo [Egypt] and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates]."
• In addition, through interviews with Iraqi scientists, seized documents and other evidence, the ISG learned the Iraqi government had made "clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer-range [807 miles] ballistic missiles -- probably the No Dong -- 300-kilometer-range [186 miles] antiship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment," Kay reported.
• In testimony before Congress on March 30, Duelfer, revealed the ISG had found evidence of a "crash program" to construct new plants capable of making chemical- and biological-warfare agents.
• The ISG also found a previously undeclared program to build a "high-speed rail gun," a device apparently designed for testing nuclear-weapons materials. That came in addition to 500 tons of natural uranium stockpiled at Iraq's main declared nuclear site south of Baghdad, which International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky acknowledged to Insight had been intended for "a clandestine nuclear-weapons program."
• In taking apart Iraq's clandestine procurement network, Duelfer said his investigators had discovered that "the primary source of illicit financing for this system was oil smuggling conducted through government-to-government protocols negotiated with neighboring countries [and] from kickback payments made on contracts set up through the U.N. oil-for-food program."
• The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction concluded that Saddam "probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons [MT] and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW [chemical warfare] agents -- much of it added in the last year." That assessment was based, in part, on conclusions contained in the final report from U.N. weapons inspectors in 1999, which highlighted discrepancies in what the Iraqis reported to the United Nations and the amount of precursor chemicals U.N. arms inspectors could document Iraq had imported but for which it no longer could account.

What are "stockpiles" of CW agents supposed to look like? Was anyone seriously expecting Saddam to have left behind freshly painted warehouses packed with chemical munitions, all neatly laid out in serried rows, with labels written in English?
Or did they think that a captured Saddam would guide U.S. troops to smoking vats full of nerve gas in an abandoned factory?

• as recent evidence made public by a former operations officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority's intelligence unit in Iraq shows, some of those stockpiles have been found - not all at once, and not all in nice working order -- but found all the same.
• Douglas Hanson was a U.S. Army cavalry reconnaissance officer for 20 years, and a veteran of Gulf War I. He was an atomic demolitions munitions security officer and a nuclear, biological and chemical defense officer. As a civilian analyst in Iraq last summer, he worked for an operations intelligence unit of the CPA in Iraq, and later, with the newly formed Ministry of Science and Technology, which was responsible for finding new, nonlethal employment for Iraqi WMD scientists. In an interview with Insight and in an article he wrote for the online magazine, Hanson examines reports from U.S. combat units and public information confirming that many of Iraq's CW stockpiles have indeed been found.
• The materials that constitute Saddam's chemical-weapons "stockpiles" look an awful lot like pesticides, which they indeed resemble. "Pesticides are the key elements in the chemical-agent arena," Hanson says. "In fact, the general pesticide chemical formula (organophosphate) is the 'grandfather' of modern-day nerve agents."
• The United Nations was fully aware that Saddam had established his chemical-weapons plants under the guise of a permitted civilian chemical-industry infrastructure. Plants inspected in the early 1990s as CW production facilities had been set up to appear as if they were producing pesticides, or in the case of a giant plant near Fallujah, chlorine, which is used to produce mustard gas.
• When coalition forces entered Iraq, "huge warehouses and caches of 'commercial and agricultural' chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists," Hanson writes. "What was surprising was how quickly the ISG refuted the findings of our ground forces and how silent they have been on the significance of these caches."
Caches of "commercial and agricultural" chemicals don't match the expectation of "stockpiles" of chemical weapons. But, in fact, that is precisely what they are. "At a very minimum," Hanson tells Insight, "they were storing the precursors to restart a chemical-warfare program very quickly."
• Kay and Duelfer came to a similar conclusion, telling Congress under oath that Saddam had built new facilities and stockpiled the materials to relaunch production of chemical and biological weapons at a moment's notice.
• At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area, Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that was shown to reporters -- with unpleasant results.
• "More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson says.
• Left unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6 feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also colocated with a military ammunition dump -- evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG.
• Near the northern Iraqi town of Bai'ji, where Saddam had built a chemical-weapons plant known to the United States from nearly 12 years of inspections, elements of the 4th Infantry Division found 55-gallon drums containing a substance identified through mass spectrometry analysis as cyclosarin -- a nerve agent.
Nearby were surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, gas masks and a mobile laboratory that could have been used to mix chemicals at the site.
• "Of course, some claim these were only pesticides that everybody was turning up," Hanson says. "It seems Iraqi soldiers were obsessed with keeping ammo dumps insect-free, according to the reading of the evidence now enshrined by the conventional wisdom that 'no WMD stockpiles have been discovered.”
• At Taji -- an Iraqi weapons complex as large as the District of Columbia -- U.S. combat units discovered more "pesticides" stockpiled in specially built containers, smaller in diameter but much longer than the standard 55-gallon drum.
Hanson says he still recalls the military sending digital images of the canisters to his office, where his boss at the Ministry of Science and Technology translated the Arabic-language markings. "They were labeled as pesticides," he says. "Gee, you sure have got a lot of pesticides stored in ammo dumps."
• Again, this January, Danish forces found 120-millimeter mortar shells filled with a mysterious liquid that initially tested positive for blister agents. "If it wasn't a chemical agent, what was it?" Hanson asks. "More pesticides? Dish-washing detergent? From this old soldier's perspective, I gain nothing from putting a liquid in my mortar rounds unless that stuff will do bad things to the enemy."
• And that's the problem: Finding real stockpiles in grubby ammo dumps doesn't fit the image the media and the president's critics carefully have fed to the public of what Iraq's weapons ought to look like. A senior administration official who has gone through the intelligence reporting from Iraq as well as the earlier reports from U.N. arms inspectors refers to another well-documented allegation. "The Iraqis admitted they had made 3.9 tons of VX," a powerful nerve gas, but claimed they had never weaponized it. The U.N. inspectors "felt they had more. But where did it go?" The Iraqis never provided any explanation of what had happened to their VX stockpiles.
• What does 3.9 tons of VX look like? "It could fit in one large garage," the official says. Assuming, of course, that Saddam would assemble every bit of VX gas his scientists had produced at a single site, that still amounts to one large garage in an area the size of the state of California.
• Senior administration officials stress that the investigation will continue as inspectors comb through millions of pages of documents in Iraq and attempt to interview Iraqi weapons scientists who have been trained all their professional lives to conceal their activities from the outside world.
"The conditions under which the ISG is working are not very conducive," one official said. "But this president wants the truth to come out. This is not an exercise in spinning or censoring."
• Mr. Bush's lectures about WMD, while perhaps privileging such fears over more pressing practical and humanitarian reasons to remove Saddam Hussein, took their cue from prior warnings from Bill Clinton, senators of both parties including John Kerry, and both the EU and U.N.
If anyone goes back to read justifications for Desert Fox (December 1998) or those issued right after September 11 by an array of American politicians, then it is clear that Mr. Bush simply repeated the usual Western litany of about a decade or so — most of it best formulated by the Democratic party under Bill Clinton. Indeed, we opted to launch that campaign in large part because of Iraq's work on WMDs.
No, the real rub is whether Iraq will work: If it does, the WMD bogeyman disappears; if not, it becomes the surrogate issue to justify withdrawing.
• In Baghdad, officials announced that a roadside bomb containing sarin nerve gas had exploded (May 15, 2004) near a U-S military convoy. Officials said the bomb was apparently left over from the Saddam era.