Thursday, November 03, 2005

Weapons of Not So Massive Destruction

This brief post from Atrios got me motivated to post about something that I’ve wanted to say for some time. First, from Atrios:
Of course we must constantly remind ourselves that "WMD" was always intrinsically somewhat of a bullshit argument. It should never have been whether Iraq had some nonconventional weapons, most of which aren't capable of "mass destruction," but whether Iraq was, through any means, a genuine threat to us. Absent an active nuclear program that really just was not the case, no matter how many nasty drums of chemicals Saddam had (or, apparently, didn't have) lying around.

I’ve been saying something like this since before the war began. The whole notion of “weapons of mass destruction”, short of an active and productive nuclear weapons program, was ridiculous. Chemical weapons are not weapons of mass destruction in the literal sense. They’re old technology that aren’t very effective on the battlefield. Chemical weapons have been around, more or less in the same form, for a hundred years. They pre-date tanks. They take nothing to manufacture; you can make them at home. Additionally, there are huge problems with effectively delivering chemical weapons and there was no practical way for Saddam to use such weapons outside his own borders much less be a threat to the U.S.

Inevitably when I say chemical weapons aren’t WMD, I get the “tell that to the Kurds” retort. But here’s the thing: almost any weapon can be a WMD if used against an unarmed, unsuspecting population within your zone of control. A machinegun could have been just as massively destructive. Look at the mass destruction caused by machete-wielding mass murderers in the Rwandan civil war.

Anyway, I’ll say right here it did surprise me that NO chemical weapons were found. I figured the Iraqi regime probably still had a limited stockpile of chemical artillery shells. That’s why it made me nervous when war opponents initially seemed to stake the debate on the war solely on U.S. forces no finding ANY so-called WMD, including chemical weapons. That was dangerous because it seemed to cede the point that the discovery of a cache of chemical shells would be proper justification for the war.

The total absence of so-called WMD, even chemical weapons, does underscore how wrong this administration was in using that as a justification for a war of choice. But even if Saddam had 100 bunkers packed with drums of chemical agents, he still posed no threat to the U.S. or anyone else outside his borders and that would not have been a reason to rush into a foolish war.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can absolutely confirm Dave's claim that he always had problems with the WMD argument.

I recall many emails exchanged between Dave, and I in which I was furious at Dave for not supporting the war based upon administration claims of WMDs.

Over time I realized I had been misled, and also noticed that the occupation was being completely mismanaged.

Unlike Dave I feel betrayed by the administration. Dave never bought into the war, but I did. I feel I made a fool of myself for believing the Bush administration despite my opposition to his domestic policies.

The entire world was lied to by this small group of conspirtors holding executive power. Thousands have died due to greed, and their corruption.

End this war now! Get the U.S. troops out of this breeding ground for terrorist, and let the civil war between the Sunni, Shiite, and Kurds begin.

We are not the worlds police, and do not own the oil under those sands.