Contrary to the expectations of all 16 of our U.S. intelligence agencies, the "weapons hunters" sent to Iraq by President George W. Bush found no "stockpiles" of WMD.
Never mind that there was a 15-month run-up to the war, during which time Saddam was not combing his moustache. A former Iraqi general, Georges Sada, who met with members of Congress, has long claimed Saddam Hussein moved tons of WMD by land and air into Syria during the run-up to the 2003 invasion. James Clapper, the current Director of National Intelligence, has also said publicly that he, too, believes the WMD were there. But Bush's two weapons hunters found no stockpiles.
President George W. Bush looked like a fool.
Bush-hating critics chanted, "Bush lied, people died." About the prewar intelligence, Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "Before the war, week after week after week after week, we were told lie after lie after lie after lie." Critics said the lives of over 4,000 troops were wasted, in addition to the money supposedly squandered prosecuting the Iraq War.
Now comes the 10,000-word, eight-part story in The New York Times. The front-page story, called "The Secret Casualties Of Iraq's Abandoned Chemical Weapons," says WMD were in Iraq: "In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act."
Moreover, the soldiers were told to keep quiet about the WMD:
"Troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts of what they had found. ?'Nothing of significance' is what I was ordered to say,' said Jarrod Lampier, a recently retired Army major who was present for the largest chemical weapons discovery of the war: more than 2,400 nerve-agent rockets unearthed in 2006 at a former Republican Guard compound.
"Jarrod L. Taylor, a former Army sergeant on hand for the destruction of mustard shells that burned two soldiers in his infantry company, joked of 'wounds that never happened' from 'that stuff that didn't exist.' The public, he said, was misled for a decade. 'I love it when I hear, 'Oh there weren't any chemical weapons in Iraq,' he said. 'There were plenty.'"
This is not new news to those who get news from publications other than the Times. Following a 2010 WikiLeaks leak, Wired magazine wrote: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House's staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction. But WikiLeaks' newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction (emphasis added). ... Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam's toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents."
But, rest assured, the Times emphatically insists, the discovered WMD "did not support the government's invasion rationale." It doesn't? Well, you see, according to the Times, Bush still misled Americans because the discovered WMD were "old" and "degraded," not part of an "active" weapons program. "Active?"
But only days before the bombshell Times piece, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow restated why she felt Bush "lied." Not once during her three-minute send-up about Bush "lies" and "wrong" intel, did Maddow ever use the word "active," let alone the term "active weapons program":
"There still exists — on the right — a sort of dead-ender fringe who believe that actually Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction. He must have. George Bush couldn't have been wrong about that. I say it's a dead-ender fringe because even ... George W. Bush had to admit he was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not have them. ...
"We are four weeks out from the elections this year. It is 10 years today since our own government officially admitted the whole WMDs thing about Iraq was a lie. It's not like an accusation that it was a lie. It's a lie. We've admitted it was a lie."
Maddow then handed the floor to colleague Lawrence O'Donnell, who promptly piled on. But again O'Donnell, like Maddow, said nothing about "active": "Rachel, I wish this wasn't true, but I do have a prediction for you — and that is that you have not done your last segment about a Republican who believes that there were (starts laughing) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Now we know. WMD were, in fact, in Iraq.
The New York Times, Democrats and the doofi at MSNBC should apologize to President George W. Bush, an honorable man who attempted to do the right thing, only to be savaged by his critics. Fox's Charles Krauthammer has a term for this inability to acknowledge a scintilla of decency in our 43rd president — "Bush Derangement Syndrome."
It is more toxic than Ebola.