Perhaps the most movingly pitiful exercise in American politics is the periodic attempt by Iraq War advocates to grasp at new developments that might somehow vindicate their disastrous, criminal support of that endeavor.
The latest attempt came yesterday, when The New York Times published an explosive new story on American soldiers who were wounded while handling corroded munitions extracted from Saddam Hussein’s inactive chemical weapons program. The Iraq Study Group has long documented the existence of these decrepit and corroded weapons stocks in Iraq, something which has precisely nothing to do with the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” claims purveyed by war supporters.
Given this readily available information, one would think that people would focus on the human tragedy exposed by this story and not use it as an attempt to revise history. But, sadly, one would be wrong:
So WMD were, in fact, found in Iraq. Unfortunately, 'Bush Wasn't Lying' is not an especially catchy slogan … http://t.co/iYaZdrT3l0
— Philip Terzian (@PhilipTerzian) October 15, 2014
.@BenjySarlin Can we also agree that those who mocked any statement that there were WMD's in Iraq in '03 & '04 were/are wrong?
— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) October 15, 2014
Despite the fact that the article repeatedly points out that none of its revelations validate the claims made to justify the war, it has still been seized upon by hawks as some kind of retroactive justification. This is not just ahistorical; it evinces an absolutely staggering ignorance of the realities of American involvement in Iraq.
The inconvenient truth is that the U.S. was aware of the existence of such weapons at the Al Muthanna site as far back as 1991. Why? Because Al Muthanna was the site where the UN ordered Saddam Hussein to dispose of his declared chemical munitions in the first place. Those weapons that could not safely be destroyed were sealed and left to decay on their own, which they did. The site was neither “active” nor “clandestine” – it was a declared munitions dump being used to hold the corroded weapons which Western powers themselves had in most cases helped Saddam procure.
The fact that people thoroughly invested in supporting the war apparently had no idea about this is in many ways emblematic of their complete cluelessness about the country which they helped destroy.
ISIS militants very recently came into control of the Al-Muthanna site, a development which would never have come about were it not for the chaos wrought by the Iraq War. Strangely enough, this event was not similarly seized upon by war advocates as a glorious vindication of Bush’s WMD claims.
Photo: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images