By late 2003, even the Bush White Houseâ€™s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
But for years afterward, WikiLeaksâ€™ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction.
An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesnâ€™t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime â€” the Bush administrationâ€™s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddamâ€™s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict â€” and may have brewed up their own deadly agents. …
A small group â€” mostly of the political right â€” has long maintained that there was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were lead to believe. A few Congressmen and Senators gravitated to the idea, but it was largely dismissed as conspiratorial hooey.
The WMD diehards will likely find some comfort in these newly-WikiLeaked documents. Skeptics will note that these relatively small WMD stockpiles were hardly the kind of grave danger that the Bush administration presented in the run-up to the war.
But the more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms. As Spencer noted earlier, a January 2006 war log claims that â€œneuroparalyticâ€ chemical weapons were smuggled in from Iran.
That same month, then â€œchemical weapons specialistsâ€ were apprehended in Balad. These â€œforeignersâ€ were there specifically â€œto support the chemical weapons operations.â€ The following month, an intelligence report refers to a â€œchemical weapons expertâ€ that â€œprovided assistance with the gas weapons.â€ What happened to that specialist, the WikiLeaked document doesnâ€™t say.
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