MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The lies about weapons of mass destruction fell down upon the people of the United States like water rushing down Niagara Falls as Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld used fear to jump start a war early last decade.
Republicans are, after all, good at sales and marketing. They are masters of getting voters to either buy or support products that they don't need - or using propaganda and mendacious campaigns to create a state of abject fear that succumbs to the government launching a military invasion allegedly to ensure national security.
In fact, in the summer of 2002, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card dismissed the notion that the administration would start pushing a war with Iraq at that time. To paraphrase Card's remark, "You don't start pushing a war until the fall, when people are back from vacation."
There is the indelible farcical, pathetic and vile image, of course, of George W. Bush pretending to "comically" search for weapons of mass destruction under the dais table at a White Horse Correspondents' Dinner. The stenographers of the DC press corps ignominiously roared with laughter.
The US public was conned into a ruinous war, with tens of thousands of Iraqi and US lives lost, trillions of dollars spent and a nation now in bloody chaos.
Amidst the tragedy of the current Iraq civil war, according to The Guardian a devastating irony has occurred. The Guardian's headline from today reads, "Isis seizes former chemical weapons plant in Iraq." So the maniacal war for empire undertaken with fulsome jingoism and assertions of Iraqis greeting our soldiers with flowers has achieved full blowback. What is left of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction - which had been under UN inspection and had deteriorated seriously since the early 1990s - is now under the control of a terrorist group that even al-Qaeda considers too extreme.
It does need to be qualified that these were not considered active weapons of mass destruction even before the United States invaded Iraq. Indeed, The Guardian reports:
Bunker 41 contained 2,000 empty 155mm artillery shells contaminated with the chemical warfare agent mustard, 605 one-tonne mustard containers with residues, and heavily contaminated construction material. It said the shells could contain mustard residues that cannot be used for chemical warfare but remain highly toxic.
A US state department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, expressed concern on 20 June about Isis seizing the complex, but played down the importance of the two bunkers with "degraded chemical remnants," saying the material dates back to the 1980s and was stored after being dismantled by UN inspectors in the 1990s.
She said the remnants "don't include intact chemical weapons . . . and would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely use this for military purposes or, frankly, to move it."
Before the US invasion, the Bush administration knew the facility was under UN observation. The UN only left because the United States was about to invade, so the storage area was not a threat prior to the invasion, but now it is in the hands of ISIS.
It is not impossible that some of the chemical compounds can be reconstituted and used in terrorist attacks, just what the Bush administration claimed they were invading Iraq to prevent. There is a debate among scientists about the state of the chemicals and whether or not they can be activated, but given that the compound is now under ISIS control, no definitive tests are possible.
It is deplorable and reprehensible that the same neocon cabal that is responsible for the heinous crime of the war with Iraq is now infesting mainstream media talk shows with their bellicose rhetoric.
The only questions these men should be asked should be by a prosecutor, not a TV interviewer who only enhances their tarnished credibility.
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