After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.
Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.
All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.
In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.
The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors.The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.
“I felt more like a guinea pig than a wounded soldier,” said a former Army sergeant who suffered mustard burns in 2007 and was denied hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the United States despite requests from his commander.
In an interview with The Intercept, Charles Duelfer, head of the CIA’s definitive post-war investigation of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, explained that “Saddam didn’t know he had it … This is stuff Iraqi leaders did not know was left lying around. It was not a militarily significant capability that they were, as a matter of national policy, hiding.”
The second category was simply ordnance that the Iraqi military had lost track of. Says Duelfer, “Keeping in mind that they used 101,000 munitions in the Iran-Iraq War … it’s not really surprising that they have imperfect accounting. I bet the U.S. couldn’t keep track of many of its weapons produced and used during a war.” And as the Times series notes, Iraq’s chemical shells often looked identical to its conventional ones: “An X-ray of internal features was sometimes the only way to tell [the difference].”
依旧难以置信？Duelfer指出，拿美国自己来说，在入侵伊拉克的第一年里就有价值十二亿美元的装备去向不明（a discrepancy of $1.2 billion between the amount of materiel shipped to Army activities in the theater of operations and the amount of materiel that those activities acknowledged they received)；华盛顿特区最高档的街区之一地下埋有1918年生产的化学武器，直到1993才被发现。同样的，在04-11年这段时间里，在欧洲和伊拉克发现的残留化学武器数量大约相等。
As Duelfer points out, the U.S. military itself is itself not immune to losing things; the federal government’s General Accounting Office found $1.2 billion worth of equipmentwas misplaced in just the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom. And in a situation oddly analogous to the munitions found in Iraq, in 1993 contractors digging the foundations for new mansions in one of Washington, D.C.’s most expensive neighborhoods discovered a cache of chemical weapons manufactured by the U.S. Army in 1918.Similarly, during the 2004-11 period in which 5,000 chemical munitions were found in Iraq, about the same number dating from World War I were apparently found in Europe.
Colin Powell played intercepted audio of Iraqi soldiers discussing this at his infamous U.N. presentation but doctored the translation to make it appear suspicious; in fact, the soldiers were following Saddam’s orders to make certain they did not accidentally have chemical munitions mixed in with their conventional ones.
Thanks in part to the failure of centrist and liberal media to explain this clearly, it’s now cemented as an article of faith on much of the right that Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction. Given this, many conservatives have been asking plaintively why Bush never took his own side in the argument. In fact, according to a recent story in TheDaily Beast, during the Bush administration some Republican lawmakers wanted the president to hold a press conference with some of the old Iraqi chemical munitions while wearing a protective suit. However, the Bush White House — in what was surely a first for them — declined to do something incredibly foolish, rash and dangerous involving Iraqi WMD.
"I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought."
Tony Blair says hes sorry for Iraq War mistakes