Iraq was all worth it — traces of sarin gas found

You’d have to see Fox News to believe it. We all knew Saddam had used poison gas in the past, and that doesn’t even count as a weapon of mass destruction. But now that they’ve found some sarin gas in an artillery shell, it’s as though we’ve discovered nuclear missiles. Fox announcers are having multiple orgasms, interviewing crusty Republicans who are exclaiming how this justifies everything. It proves Bush was right all along. Now we know what a threat Saddam posed. Thank God for our brilliant invasion.

Of course, anyone who’s not severely intellectually challenged will have to wonder, if they have such awful weapons, how come they never used them against us over the past year? If this is as terrifying as Saddam’s mythological weapons get, the Fox News people have very little solid ground to stand on.

Update: Fox just interviewed their “military consultant,” convicted liar Oliver North on this startling news. He says the other media are ignoring it, possibly because it would force them to concede Bush was right about WMDs in Iraq. In that disarming Fox way, North also says he’s heard talk about new huge stockpiles of chemical weapons that “may” be buried in northern Baghdad. It’s just some BS gossip, but the way North couches it, he’s offering us exclusive insider information, and the gullible listener could easily walk away thinking it’s the truth. I’ve never seen anything quite like this — a news network that strives to elevate gossip and lies (if, of course, they serve to make Democrats look bad and Republicans look good).

North also referred dismissively to “the so-called Abu Ghraib scandal.” So-called? That’s lilke referring to President Kennedy’s “so-called assassination.”

The Discussion: 19 Comments

Did they happen to mention whether the shell was found on a turkey farm? Because, as I said in my recent press conference in front of the American people, we uncovered fifty tons of mustard gas on a Libyan turkey farm…because Omar Qaddafi wised up when he saw what happened to the Tyrant…

Did I mention the turkey farm??

May 17, 2004 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

Channel 4 News in the UK said that the shell was likely to be left over from the Iran-Iraq War (and therefore is not proof of a recent WMD programme), and that the insurgents who used it probably didn’t know that it was anything special.

May 17, 2004 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

Ah yes, the famous turkey farm.

Speaking of turkeys, I wish I could describe the Fox newslady who broke this non-story but you really had to be there.

David, the theory that it’s from the 1991 war makes lots of sense. It was quite obvious the insurgents thought it was just a plain old artillery shell.

May 17, 2004 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

Nerve gas Isn’t a weapon of mass destruction? Really? That’ll be news to all of the arms control agencies as well as the UN. Also, what’s the relevance of the manufacture date? Is there some difference in being gased by pre and post 1991 illegal weapons?

May 17, 2004 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

Conrad, the manufacture date is relevant because there are differences between pre- and post- ’91 WMD.

#1 Pre-91 WMD were supplied to Iraq by America, with none other than Donald Rumsfeld having been photographed in Baghdad shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. Remember: America knew that Iraq had at some stage had WMD because America kept the receipts.

#2 The pretext for Bush’s little adventure in nation destroying was built on the claim that Iraq was at that time pursuing WMD programs and was in current possession of WMD that could be launched within a very short period of time. It was not based on any historic claims.

May 18, 2004 @ 2:47 am | Comment

I’m sorry: (#1) I missed the provison in the Gulf War surrender terms that allowed Saddam to keep pre-1991 weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps you could provide a link? (#2) ahh yes, the old imminent threat canard. I’m sure you can provide a link to Bush saying that as well. (#3) As for so-called “nation destroying”, Iraq under Saddam was a fucking prison and charnal house. Any implication that things were better under Saddam or that his muderous regime deserved respect is, well, fucking stupid. (#4) I’ll see your Rumsfeld and Saddam photo and raise you one Albright toasting Kim Jong Il, Bill Clinton shaking hands with Arafat, Jimmy Carter embracing the Shah of Iran, Roosevelt sharing yucks and grins with Stalin and Nixon making mushy with Mao. That’s how international relations sometimes works and any assertion to the contrary is, well, even more fucking stupid than #3 above.

May 18, 2004 @ 4:45 am | Comment

1. As a Republican I am proud to say that not all of us are in this game. This has nothing to do with American interests and is a full meltdown of the American system of checks and balances. We will bepaying the price for this idiotism in years to come. Bin Ladin id not win. We won his war for him.

2. The nerve gas shell story is absolutely insulting. What kind of idiots they think we are? But one thing about it is really good – now we know the truth about Mr. Murdoch and his News Corp. I want to see how O’Reilly will spin this on his “All-Spin Zone”. Just to think that 4-5 years ago I would not check into a hotel if they did not carry FoxNews.

3. There must be some leftover shells with mustard gas all over Europe – leftovers from WW1. Would that justify sending our boys there?

Mindboggling what they take us for. And I guess we have nobody but ourselves to blame.


May 18, 2004 @ 4:52 am | Comment

Conrad –

Thank you for the dose of realpolitik.

Here’s a tale you might enjoy:

“CBS Cancels Reagan Miniseries

For further proof that the First Amendment only protects free speech from the US government (mostly), but not from the large corporations, CBS has caved to rightwing pressure to shelve their miniseries on Ronald Reagan. It was a relatively negative portrayal. But the presidents don’t belong to the right wing, they belong to all Americans, and we can all be critical of any of them when we choose.

In fact, of course, Ronald Reagan bears substantial responsibility for September 11. He and his administration were so gung ho to roll back Communism that they funneled billions of dollars to scruffy far rightwing radical Muslim mujahidin in Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Orrin Hatch even flew to Beijing for Reagan in 1985 to ask the Chinese to pressure Pakistan to allow the US to provide the Mujahidin with ever more sophisticated weaponry. Even the Pakistani military had initially balked at this crazy idea, knowing who the Gulbuddin Hikmatyars and Usama Bin Ladens really were (unlike clueless Reagan, who called them freedom fighters). But the US twisted the Pakistanis’ arms, and they gave in. Likewise, Reagan forced the timid Saudis to match US contributions to the Mujahidin. (And then after Sept. 11 the former Reagan officials who had twisted the arms of the Saudis, like Richard Perle, turned around and blamed Riyadh for spreading radical Muslim ideas!!) It was the CIA that first established terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to hit the leftist government in Kabul. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the camps used by al-Qaeda had been built originally by the Reagan administration.

Then after the Reagan administration contributed to the destruction of Afghanistan with this proxy war, its successor, the Bush administration, made a deal with the Soviets for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan once the Soviets were gone. The US just walked away, leaving the country in chaos. The right often tries to blame Clinton for this, but it was Bush senior that agreed to the deal and walked away, before Clinton ever got in.

The Christian Coalition and other rightwing religious groups supporting Reagan even had a “biblical checklist” by which they wanted all senators and congressmen to be judged. And one of the items in the “biblical checklist” was “support for the Afghan ‘freedom fighters.’ The rightwing Christians were saying in the 1980s that if you didn’t support al-Qaeda and its Mujahidin allies, you didn’t deserve to be in Congress! They wanted representatives tossed out for this crime. And now the same groups are droning on about how the Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist, cashing in on Sept. 11 to spread religious bigotry. But the Prophet Muhammad opposed terrorism. Who promoted al-Qaeda and kindred groups? Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan.

Why did CBS cave? Maybe some advertisers threatened to pull out, in the face of threatened boycotts by special interest advocacy groups. The US has the oddest system. Technically, the airwaves belong to the US public. But the unelected Federal Communications Commission gives away the right to broadcast on them virtually for free to large corporations. Initially the corporations were supposed to broadcast some socially useful programs in return, and were supposed to maintain some sort of political balance. But now they don’t do either. (People who watched CBS news were as likely as people who watched Fox Cable News to believe falsehoods such as that Saddam was mixed up in 9/11 or that Iraq was close to having a nuke.)

Then once the people’s airwaves have been given away to the corporations, they rent them to other corporations to sell us their products, thus paying for the programs we see. Programming is subsidiary to the advertisements that pay for it. If advertisers won’t support programming, it gets pulled, so that they have a veto on what the people can watch. Of course, there is a double corporate veto, since the networks themselves censor what can be seen to begin with. Television execs active in the 1960s remember being told to avoid showing labor activists in their programs, e.g. When’s the last time you saw a character on t.v. who was explicitly active in a union?

Michael Powell (Colin’s son who is far more rightwing than his father) was even going to let a handful of corporations control all programming, but that was too much even for Congress.

So the US is becoming Berlusconi-ized, with a few fabulously wealthy men deciding what appears in our media, and with Bush’s tax giveaways to the super-rich giving them the wherewithal to buy up even more of the country’s media.

And we can’t even point out on television, with the people’s airwaves, that Reagan went off the deep end on Afghanistan, or that he shredded the Constitution with Iran-Contra.

posted by Juan at 11/5/2003 09:24:08 AM”

You can find the original posting at Informed Comment. This window won’t allow me to link it, so I posted the whole thing.

May 18, 2004 @ 8:36 am | Comment

The Bushies were extremely cautious and clever in their charactyeriation of Saddam and the threat he posed. They avoided the words “imminent threat” but used language that certainly conveyed the idea that we were in mortal danger and that immediate action needed to be taken.

When you constantly bombard the public with these images, you certainly create the idea of an imminent threat even if you carefully avoid the “i” word. Here’s a sample of what they said leading up to the invasion (

“There’s no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States.”
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03

“We ended the threat from Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.”
President Bush, 7/17/03

Iraq was “the most dangerous threat of our time.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03

“Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States because we removed him, but he was a threat…He was a threat. He’s not a threat now.”
President Bush, 7/2/03

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an “imminent threat,” 5/7/03

“We gave our word that the threat from Iraq would be ended.”
President Bush 4/24/03

“The threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction will be removed.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/25/03

“It is only a matter of time before the Iraqi regime is destroyed and its threat to the region and the world is ended.”
Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, 3/22/03

“The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
President Bush, 3/19/03

“The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations.”
President Bush, 3/16/03

“This is about imminent threat.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

Iraq is “a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies.”
Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/31/03

Iraq poses “terrible threats to the civilized world.”
Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/03

Iraq “threatens the United States of America.”
Vice President Cheney, 1/30/03

“Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03

“Well, of course he is.”
White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett, responding to the question “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?” 1/26/03

“Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons. Iraq poses a threat to the security of our people and to the stability of the world that is distinct from any other. It’s a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It’s a danger we cannot ignore. Iraq and North Korea are both repressive dictatorships to be sure and both pose threats. But Iraq is unique. In both word and deed, Iraq has demonstrated that it is seeking the means to strike the United States and our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/20/03

“The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American. … Iraq is a threat, a real threat.”
President Bush, 1/3/03

“The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands.”
President Bush, 11/23/02

“I would look you in the eye and I would say, go back before September 11 and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or three months before or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month…So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 11/14/02

“Saddam Hussein is a threat to America.”
President Bush, 11/3/02

“I see a significant threat to the security of the United States in Iraq.”
President Bush, 11/1/02

“There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to American in Iraq in the form of Saddam Hussein.”
President Bush, 10/28/02

“The Iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace.”
President Bush, 10/16/02

“There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.”
President Bush, 10/7/02

“The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.”
President Bush, 10/2/02

“There’s a grave threat in Iraq. There just is.”
President Bush, 10/2/02

“This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined.”
President Bush, 9/26/02

“No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

“Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent?that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

“Iraq is busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents, and they continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program. These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam Hussein can hold the threat over the head of any one he chooses. What we must not do in the face of this mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness.”
Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/29/02

Maybe sarin gas can be a WMD, but even this morning on Fox News I heard their “expert” say that without the means to explode it over a wide area, Sarin by itself doesn’t meet the definition. Sarin gas is a terrible weapon and it can inflict awful casualties. So can a machine gun or a bazooka. We all knew Saddam had used chemical weapons 12 years earlier and that he probably had some stockpiles remaining. But remember the hype about how he could mobilize and use these weapons on a massive scale within 45 minutes (or something like that)? To me, there is no way a discovery of trace elements of sarin gas used in a way that it’s ineffectual can be used to justify war on a massive scale. Again, if he had these stockpiles and the means to create mass destruction, why did he never use them, even though he knew for many months that invasion was imminent?

May 18, 2004 @ 8:54 am | Comment

The “45 minutes” claim was a product of faulty British intelligence — but was nonetheless the centerpiece of Blair’s efforts to sell the Iraq war to the British public.

May 18, 2004 @ 9:37 am | Comment

It seems Bush jock straps are blowing wind over the single gas artillery shell like a dog bays at the moon. And like the foul mouthed commenter above. It is strange how men with weak or losing arguments turn abusive or resort to swear words when challenged. Pity them when they realize their intellectual capacity is as weak as their arguments.

I suspect more shells will be found, in small numbers as long as we are in Iraq.

May 18, 2004 @ 9:44 am | Comment


I know of no one on the anti-war side who ever claimed that Saddam had no WMDs. The question was — and is — whether they ever posed a threat to the U.S. and its allies that was grave enough to justify an unprovoked and immensely costly war.

May 18, 2004 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Thank you, vaara, for an efficient statement of the essential complaint.

May 18, 2004 @ 11:57 am | Comment

Agreed. Thanks Vaara.

May 18, 2004 @ 11:59 am | Comment

Anyone who really beieves that WMDs were the reason Iraq was invaded is hopelesly naive.

As for you Pete, blow me.

May 19, 2004 @ 12:19 am | Comment

So are you suggesting that the White House and 10 Downing Street lied to create public support for the war?

And are we supposed to be OK with that?

May 19, 2004 @ 2:16 am | Comment

I don’t think anybody commenting here would have believed that WMD were the reason for the war, Conrad. It simply strikes me as being supremely hypocritical that a single shell, most likely supplied by Donald Rumsfeld, could be used to ‘revive’ that pathetic excuse for an argument.

May 19, 2004 @ 4:00 am | Comment

Some weeks ago I saw a comment on a blog site about clandestine shipments of goods by sea transport into Iraq in the Basra area. The commenter speculated that it could have been WMD. I saw the comment once, but couldn’t find it a second time. Anyone else see it?

With the stakes at risk for Bush such a story’s plausibilty could gain legs in the theater of the absurd that Iraq is turning into.

May 19, 2004 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Conrad you already have been, but you are too dumb to recognize it.

May 20, 2004 @ 8:16 am | Comment

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