WikiLeaks on Iraq WMDs

Iraq Yellowcake

Via Ran at Si Vis Pacem, I found this Examiner article by Larry Elder with the intriguing title: WikiLeaks vindicates President George W. Bush. Vindicates him on what? Well…weapons of mass destruction.

Actually, a lot of this is not new, but it is perhaps a new attitude about what was found in Iraq and what was not found. Perhaps you remember the 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” shipped from Iraq to Montreal in summer 2008. I believe that’s what this is about.

Here are some snippets from Elder:

WikiLeaks’ de facto declassification of privileged material makes it case closed: Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction — and intended to restart his program once the heat was off.

President George W. Bush, in the 2003 State of the Union address, uttered the infamous “16 words”: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Then the Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame mess began. More from Elder:

Put aside that Wilson’s CIA-employed wife, not the evil Vice President Dick Cheney — as Wilson implied — sent him on the African errand. Put aside that the British still stand by the intelligence on which Bush made the claim. And put aside that the anti-Bush Washington Post, in an editorial, concluded that Wilson had lied about not finding evidence to support the Iraq-in-Africa-for-uranium claim, since he told the CIA the opposite when he reported back from Africa.

Bush claimed that Iraq sought uranium, specifically “yellowcake.” What is yellowcake, and why would its presence or attempted acquisition corroborate the nearly unanimous assumption that Saddam possessed WMD?

Bush, in building the case for war against Iraq, lied to the nation. He falsely claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase yellowcake from Africa. Time magazine specifically referred to the yellowcake “lie” in accusing Bush of fabricating the case for war.

Therefore, were Iraq to have had yellowcake — an assertion called a “lie” — it would have confirmed the presence of WMD, giving credence to Bush’s declaration of Iraq as a “grave and gathering threat.”

But … there … was … yellowcake. This brings us back to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction (emphasis added). … Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam’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 — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.”

In 2008, our military shipped out of Iraq — on 37 flights in 3,500 barrels — what even The Associated Press called “the last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program”: 550 metric tons of the supposedly nonexistent yellowcake.

There’s more. Read all the details at The Examiner.

About the yellowcake in Montreal:

Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp. is the new owner of “tens of millions of dollars” worth of Saddam’s carefully hoarded yellowcake, which will now be processed at facilities in Ontario for use in the energy-producing reactors for which Canada is famous.

When Sean Hannity did the interview with G.W. recently, the president lamented the fact that everyone believed there were weapons of mass destruction, and yet they found none. I believe Elder is right in his assessment, and hope we have the opportunity to read the leaked documents. After Desert Storm, Saddam surely knew he had to hide what he had. The “no WMD” cries were a political dirty tricks and they worked worked well. Many times I wished several in the Senate insomnia-filled nights over their lies and defections. Too bad the brilliant Karl Rove didn’t get himself to a mic and explain exactly what WMDs could be. Even worse that Bush did not pardon Libby, although he commuted parts of Libby’s sentence – but the felony conviction remains. Shameful.

So WikiLeaks is here, and are a reality. The only hope now should be that some good comes from it, such as proving the WMD claims of Congress. Many have died and many live with injuries. I hope each soldier, sailor and marine, and their families fully understand that there was a good reason for the Iraq invasion.

  • Ran

    Cheers Maggie:
    Bush of late is somewhat disingenuously parsing on the issue of “weapons found.” What was found were elements of various WMD programs upon which Saddam was pouring a lot of the money Kofi Annan’s boys were sending as “compassionate aid” and the like. No, Saddam didn’t actually have in his possession significant amounts of fissile Uranium, nor significant quantities of bio weapons and his gas agents had been apparently spent on the Kurds. He thought he had had them however, near at hand and what he didn’t have he sought actively.

    I’m told the yellowcake shipped out later was a known stockpile from the pre-Kuwait days. We don’t have reliable data to know whether that initial amount had been supplemented under the agreement Joe Wilson inadvertently proved. Importantly, too, we don’t know how much was swiped and sold to Iran or Al Qaeda.

    Saddam was like the kid in your neighbor’s yard with a gas can in one hand and matches in the other. The simple fact that the can is empty or filled with water doesn’t change the necessary response… you can’t know until you’ve taken action.

    To WikiLeaks, not a whole lot of what they are confirming is new to anyone who paid close attention at the time. Reuters and AP would initially report this stuff and then have it ignored or spiked. In any case, WikiLeaks is doing what the New York Times can’t drag itself to do and that is to paint the broader picture fleshed-out with accurate detail. In their haste to take-down the US, they’ve stupidly told the truth and it is backfiring.

  • Ran, thanks much for that further explanation. I’ve never understood the Bush administration’s hesitancy to defend themselves on such an all-important issue. He had a case to make, but didn’t. It was devastating for him and for those of us who supported the war.

    As you point out, Saddam had access to most anything he wanted. Are we really naive enough to think he could not march his plan further?