Quote of the Day

I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Glenn Reynolds

WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results | Danger Room | WIRED

By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But 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.

An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesn’t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But 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.

via WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results | Danger Room | WIRED.

ISIS storms non-existent Saddam-era chemical weapons complex in Iraq

The jihadist group bringing terror to Iraq overran a Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex on Thursday, gaining access to disused stores of hundreds of tonnes of potentially deadly poisons including mustard gas and sarin.

Isis invaded the al-Muthanna mega-facility 60 miles north of Baghdad in a rapid takeover that the US government said was a matter of concern.

The facility was notorious in the 1980s and 1990s as the locus of Saddam’s industrial scale efforts to develop a chemical weapons development programme.

via Isis storms Saddam-era chemical weapons complex in Iraq – Telegraph.

In the end, the delusional ones are those who believe Saddam’s Iraq didn’t have these weapons.  Admittedly, Saddam used a lot of deceit and misdirection in order to hide the state of Iraq’s weapons programs after 1991, but no one made up the fact Iraq has these weapons.

The lie, if you can call it that, was one of expectations.  It was expected, especially in media circles, we’d find a warehouse filled with neatly stacked racks of chemical shells, biological delivery systems or something of that nature.

By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But 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.

An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesn’t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But 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.

via WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results | Danger Room | WIRED.

The weapons existed, but they were scattered about and hidden. Nuclear centrifuges buried in backyards, jets buried in the middle of the desert or petri dishes in the back of home freezers.

Outside of the political squabbling, someone needs to open their eyes, and realize that while it might be convenient and fun for political reasons to pretend these weapons never existed, in the Middle East people don’t live with that illusion.

Photos released of Iraq ‘mass execution’ – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Sunni rebels in Iraq have posted pictures on Twitter apparently showing their fighters killing captured Shia soldiers.A Twitter account aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL, said the pictures show scores of captured Iraqi soldiers being killed.The images, released at the weekend, show masked fighters loading the captives on trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs. The final pictures show bodies soaked in blood after being shot.

via Photos released of Iraq ‘mass execution’ – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXCLUSIVE! People Who Illegally Trade in Antiquities Commit Other Crimes!

The Banteay Chhmar temple was famous for its wall carvings. Looters hacked one wall into pieces. PHOTOGRAPH BY KRIS LEBOUTILLIER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE
The Banteay Chhmar temple was famous for its wall carvings. Looters hacked one wall into pieces. PHOTOGRAPH BY KRIS LEBOUTILLIER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Most countries have laws prohibiting the plundering of sites and the export of their stolen cultural heritage, but wealthy collectors and other buyers continue to purchase looted artifacts, often viewing the trade as “a victimless crime,” Mackenzie says.

But several studies, both ongoing and published, link antiquities traffickers to a range of serious crimes, including corruption, money laundering, prostitution, and the smuggling of drugs and endangered wildlife. Moreover, new evidence from Afghanistan and Iraq suggests that artifact smuggling networks are closely connected with violent insurgents.

via New Evidence Ties Illegal Antiquities Trade to Terrorism, Violent Crime.

When what’s not said speaks louder…

The elephant in the room, unmentioned by Obama, is what happens if Iraq’s leaders — or the rebels — turn out to be uninterested in compromise. In particular, the president never said anything approaching this: “We will under no circumstances permit the terrorists to take control of Iraq.”

Barack Obama is a man who knows how to use words. It’s possible, then, that this omission was intended to prepare us for the worst.

via What Obama Didn’t Say About Iraq – Bloomberg View.