Why Is the Existence of WMD Still Being Kept Classified?

OK.  Read the title of this post carefully.  it is NOT intended as an argument that the recent declassification of a document (find the source document here: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Iraq_WMD_HPSCI_Negroponte4.php ) which states that Pre Gulf War WMD munitions have been discovered in Iraq justifies us going to war.  It does, however, make conclusions that are favorable to the Bush Administration and decisions it has made in the conduct of the war, and there are people about who's entire purpose in life is to snuff out anything that does not classify Bush as downright evil, so they will debate my conclusions as if this WERE an argument that justifies us going to war.

People on one side of the "Should we have gone to war?" question will rightfully point out that these weapons were not the ones we were looking for.  Those on the other side of the argument will rightly point out, however, that these weapons were't even supposed to be there because Saddam Hussein and the United Nations had certified that they had been destroyed, and that's the reason we weren't looking for them. 

No matter which side you fall on, none of this will change minds on either side of that argument.

 

This is a discussion of a possible reason why this has been kept classified for so long, especially once one considers that revealing the AMOUNT of these munitions and the ongoing discovery of them beginning two years ago may have ended up saving the Administration a good deal of political grief.  

The argument presented that these weapons, which were not supposed to be there, is proof that Hussein intended to resurrect his WMD programs as soon as sanctions were lifted (a conclusion bolstered by the final report of the Iraq Survey Group), is a very strong one.  Had it been made early enough in the political debate, minds that are made up now may at least still be open on the subject, if not thinking differently altogether.

But, if we have found 500 hundred artillery shells containing WMD in groups of two or three over the past two years, mathematics tells us that we are discovering them at the rate of ONE EVERY OTHER DAY.  This means that the terrorists can too…IF they are looking for them as astutely as we are, AND if they know they are there.  That is a LOT of very evil chemicals and an astonishing rate of discovery.  This DOES mean that the stuff is literally laying around out there, and some very important political arguments could have been made on that basis, and Senator Santorum definitely thinks he can save his political career by making the knowledge public.  But the Bush Administration chooses not to. 

WHY?

I've made statements about my conclusionson LST and in posts in the NoKOs Not so Long Dong thread of a day or so ago.  But it is much more eloquently stated here:

 http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htintel/articles/20060623.aspx

If the United States were to have announced WMD finds right away, it could have told terrorists  (including those from al-Qaeda) where to look to locate chemical weapons. This would have placed troops at risk – for a marginal gain in public relations. A successful al-Qaeda chemical attack would have been a huge boost for their propaganda efforts as well, enabling them to get recruits and support (many people want to back a winner), and it would have caused a decline in American morale in Iraq and on the home front.

It should also be noted that it places innocent civilians at risk as well, possibly American, but definitely Iraqi. 

Now, it should be common knowledge that the Terrorists in Iraq use old Iraqi artillery shells wired to explode in Improvised Explosive Devices as their principal method of attack (and if it's not, i can provide links to sites that explain the weapons and tactics of these evil bastards).  Knowing that, consider this story from 2004:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120268,00.html

NEW YORK — Tests on an artillery shell that blew up in Iraq on Saturday confirm that it did contain an estimated three or four liters of the deadly nerve agent sarin (search), Defense Department officials told Fox News Tuesday.

The artillery shell was being used as an improvised roadside bomb, the U.S. military said Monday. The 155-mm shell exploded before it could be rendered inoperable, and two U.S. soldiers were treated for minor exposure to the nerve agent.

snip

Another shell filled with mustard gas (search), possibly also part of an improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered on May 2, Defense Dept. officials said.

snip

"I'm not as concerned they're going to use a lot of chemical munitions," Maginnis said. "They're not gonna use these as improvised explosive devices because they don't have a big blast associated with them, but they do combine those two compounds into the noxious sarin gas. But they can't do it all that well with a small explosive charge."

"The reality is, they'd have to have a whole bunch of these things," he added, "have to find some way of blowing them with a large charge to even create a cloud."

That doesn't mean insurgents couldn't find a better way to make the devices to create a more "terrorist-type of attack" against U.S. forces, Maginnis continued.

It is obvious, at least to me, that the Terrorists who planted these things thought they were "regular" artillery shells, and not WMD, because they were wired and planted in a manner consistent with that kind of weapon.  They probably weren't even aware of the difference, and since the UN and the Americans were both saying that these weapons did not exist, then they most likely weren't even looking for WMD so as to modify them for use as WMD.  It should also be obvious that continued references in the media or by the military that IED attacks contained WMD shells that exploded harmlessly, or nearly so would have tipped off Terrorists that the reason why this BANG wasn't as big as the other BOOM was because WMD shells were in the mix and they'd pay closer attention to what they were using so they could learn to tell the difference.

I remember commenters on LST and other blogs at the time expressing a good deal of dissapointment with the Bush Administration for not using this story more effectively to defend it's decision to go to war.  There were even a number of statements, primarily from military sources, that this was no cause for concern, as noted in the FOX story above.  But it may be that was because they knew this:

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2006/06/back-story.html

More importantly, these weapons remain a threat to coalition forces in Iraq. True, insurgents aren't likely to get their hands on a howitzer or rocket launcher and bombard a base with chemical rounds. But in the hands of terrorists, these chemical weapons could easily be used in IEDs or VBIEDs, daisy-chained together for increased effectiveness. According to Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan (who announced the discovery yesterday), these chemical weapons have recovered by coalition forces over the past two years, on a regular basis. More of these weapons remain unrecovered, and could possibly wind up in the hands of terrorists. So much for the "no WMD in Iraq" mantra that has dominated coverage of our military operations in that country since 2003.

So, even though one can  make a case that, since these weren't the weapons we were looking for (although saying that we knew they were there is false, because the UN promised us they weren't), then they don't comprise a reason for going to war, you may find yourself unable to come up with a more plausible explanation of why the AMOUNT of WMD in Iraq has remained Classified, as well as the fact that they are being found at a rate of ONE EVERY OTHER DAY.

This then, tells me that the Bush Administration made the decison that keeping this information from the Terrorist in Iraq was more important than saving his poltical ass.

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Published in: on June 25, 2006 at 2:16 am  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. LOL it doesn’t answer anything. It’s pure conjecture, and pure BS in my opinion.

    The reason Bush doesn’t tout it is very simple: it doesn’t help him! It has nothing to do with keeping the info away from the terrorists. That’s lame!

    If the administration started touting this type of stuff, Bush would be laughed at even more than he is now. And it will only bring to the forefront once again that the WMD’s he claimed Saddam had are not there.

    Geez, you wonder why my head wobbles!™

  2. Yes, it is conjecture, and i say so inthe post.

    But it is a bit more plasible than Bush not revelaing them because he’s protecting the Russians and the French, and most fair minded people will consider that your explanatuion of him not doing it was because he knew it would make him look foolish as being symptomatic of an individual infected with Bush Derangemnt Syndrome.

    Nothing the guy does is right to you and you can always be counted on to make any argument, no matter how foolsih or unsupportable (provide me with aplausible example how this would make him look foolish please) that devolves towards making him look bad.

  3. There would be little politically gained by Bush to announce these discoveries. Thus he chose to not acknowledge them in order to keep our troops safer. These are not just a few bombs laying around, these are WMDs. Big difference. They could do a whole lot more harm than mere bombs taken apart and used for IEDs, IMHO.

  4. Actually, Neo, I’ll disagree with you.

    It’s pretty obvious that Santorum thinks there is a lot to be gained from this poltically, or he wouldn’t be making such a big deal of it.

  5. Wow…just notice that the posts made AFTER I fixed the clock will end up as the last post…no matter what, cuz they’ve been made 5 hours in the future

  6. Wow…just notice that the posts made AFTER I fixed the clock will end up as the last post…no matter what, cuz they’ve been made 5 hours in the future…Neo..I’m going to delete that post so things will show up right.

  7. Sarge, I wasn’t talking about Santorum – Bush has known about these finds since last year (and probably sooner) and that was what I was referring to. Santorum’s motives are indeed political, although I don’t see how he gets much from this “disclosure.”

  8. Right;

    But my point is that there IS a lot to be gained politically from making this more public, that's WHY Santorum is doing it.
    But the Administration is NOT jumping on that bad wagon…and it's NOT because it would make them look foolish if they did. They want, I beleive, for this to go away so that the Terrorists keep blowing this stuff up in IEDs rather than separating the componets and using them in a way that they CAN be used as WMD.

    And if you trace the sources I give above, all taken from here:

    http://blog.groupintel.com/

    and posts on MilBlogs, a number of Intelligence and Military personnel, retired and active, agree, withn me.

    It's only Liberals who come up with lines like Shakey used up thread.

  9. Sarge, right, I got your point and I agree. I believe we are on the same page.

  10. Too bad you’re both on the wrong page.

  11. Wel shakes;

    all I can say is thast the three of us, using the same information came to two conclusions.

    Your was that this information is being kept Classified by the Director of National Intelligence because the president is afraid of being laughed at.

    Now, I’m sure everybody else will see that as a well reasoned, adult, explantation and mine is pure fantasy, but I’ll just have to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and move on……

  12. Sarge, the information was declassified and no one cared other than Santorum and a few yahoo Bushbots still trying to be DOTI™.

    And let’s clarify something: the report was classified, but that particular information has been reported previously.

  13. Well;

    It’s pretty obvious you didn’t read the one page, 7 paragraph doscument which comprises the full extent of Declassification. Here it is again:

    http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Iraq_WMD_HPSCI_Negroponte4.php

    This is NOT the “Declassification” you are trying to get people to beleive. Read it.


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