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deus ex machina
17th May 04, 11:22 AM
This certainly is an interesting development. A moot point perhaps. I'm expecting the usual conspirary theorists to put in their two cents. I have to admit that the timing is...fortunate...to say the least, considering the recents events.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/17/iraq.main/index.html

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S.-led coalition convoy in Iraq found sarin gas in an artillery round rigged as an improvised explosive device, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Monday.

Sarin is a nerve agent used for chemical weapons. A doomsday cult in Japan used the gas in terrorist attacks in 1994 and 1995.

The detonation of the device in Iraq resulted in a small dispersal of the nerve agent, Kimmitt said. Two members of an explosives ordnance team were treated for minor exposure, he added.

U.S intelligence officials in Washington said the shell was discovered Saturday near the Baghdad International Airport.

"The area that was affected was very minor," Kimmitt said. "There's no need for any further decontamination. The [ordnance team] people who went up there showed some minor traces of exposure, but it was so minor the doctors already have these people released."

Kimmitt said the artillery round was of an old style that Saddam Hussein's regime had declared it no longer possessed after the Persian Gulf War.

Kimmitt said device was designed to mix two relatively passive chemicals after being fired from an artillery piece, creating the potent nerve gas, and that it was ineffective as an improvised explosive device.

Kimmitt said it appeared that whoever set up the roadside bomb was unaware that it contained the chemicals.

"It was a weapon we believed was stocked from the ex-regime time," Kimmitt said. "It had been thought to be an ordinary artillery shell, set up like an IED. When it exploded, it indicated that it had some sarin in it."

The general said the Iraqi Survey Group, headed by Charles Duelfer, would determine if the shell's discovery indicated Saddam possessed chemical weapons before the U.S. invasion last year. Officials in Washington said another shell -- this one containing mustard gas -- was found 10 days ago in Iraq.

WingChun Lawyer
17th May 04, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by deus ex machina
I'm expecting the usual conspirary theorists to put in their two cents.

OK, since you insist, there it goes...

ONE LOUSY SHELL DOESNīT QUALIFY AS A WMD.

That said, I think this is much more important:

"News of the discovery came hours after Iraqi Governing Council President Izzedine Salim was killed by a suicide bomber in central Baghdad, the U.S. Army said.

Salim, who was head of the Islamic Da'wah Movement in the southern city of Basra, was a key moderate on the U.S.-appointed, 25-member council."

deus ex machina
17th May 04, 11:34 AM
The assassination may very well be important. But that's not what this thread is about.

And why does one shell containing sarin NOT qualify as WMD?

CanuckMA
17th May 04, 11:37 AM
Because small quantities of Sarin are available to any nut-job who wants it. Remember Tokyo a few years back?

That some group got some does not imply that Saddam had the huge stockpile of the stuff.

deus ex machina
17th May 04, 11:39 AM
So Saddam only had 1 or 2 artillery shells loaded with sarin?

WingChun Lawyer
17th May 04, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by CanuckMA
Because small quantities of Sarin are available to any nut-job who wants it. Remember Tokyo a few years back?

That some group got some does not imply that Saddam had the huge stockpile of the stuff.

Yup. Bring the huge stockpile of sarin to the light, otherwise you wonīt be able to say that Saddam had WMD with a straight face.

deus ex machina
17th May 04, 11:43 AM
I think you are missing the point.

The point is, Saddam said he didn't have it.

If we take this report at face value, that means he lied.

WMD are WMD, regardless of amount. They aren't called weapons of mass destruction because of the quantity.

deus ex machina
17th May 04, 11:45 AM
Also, if one artillery shell contains sarin, it's not a stretch to assume that there were hundreds or even more at one point in time. You don't fire off one shell of sarin at a time.

Wounded Ronin
17th May 04, 11:49 AM
But the point is that the international community wouldn't take that seriously as "proof". I mean, think about it. We go in, kick over the government, give Bearded Saddam a medical examination, 5.56 blast the insurgents, and then with a big grin on our face offer up a single extremely low-key chemical weapon shell as justification for it all.

WingChun Lawyer
17th May 04, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by deus ex machina
I think you are missing the point.

The point is, Saddam said he didn't have it.

If we take this report at face value, that means he lied.

WMD are WMD, regardless of amount. They aren't called weapons of mass destruction because of the quantity.

They are called WMD because of the potential threat they pose. Bush said Saddam presented an immediate threat to the USA because he had WMD in enough quantity and quality to present such a threat, or was on the brink of acquiring such WMD.

Neither the WMD nor the highly advanced development programs were found. Ergo, Bush was lying, Bush was wrong, or Bush just didnīt know what else to say to justify his war and took his chances.

One lousy shell means less than nothing. It is a well known fact that Saddam HAD those WMD: they were given him by the USA during the 80īs, and thatīs that. Bush said he had those WMD available now, and this has yet to be proven.

One shell is just a left over.

Freddy
17th May 04, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by deus ex machina
Also, if one artillery shell contains sarin, it's not a stretch to assume that there were hundreds or even more at one point in time. You don't fire off one shell of sarin at a time.
The question is. Was sarin gas still produced AFTER the first Gulf war? We all know that Saddam used gas on the Kurds. And we know he had stockpiles of it befor the first Gulf War.:confused:

Osiris
17th May 04, 01:11 PM
Regardless, they lied. If something does happen to be there, they just lucked out.

punchingdummy
17th May 04, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by WingChun Lawyer
......Neither the WMD nor the highly advanced development programs were found. Ergo, Bush was lying, Bush was wrong, or Bush just didnīt know what else to say to justify his war and took his chances.

One lousy shell means less than nothing.....Bush said he had those WMD available now, and this has yet to be proven.

One shell is just a left over.


It was not a single shell, it was two (so far). It was not just serin as there was also mustard gas. Both are chemical weapons, neither should have been in Iraq. Whether they are leftovers does not matter as they should not have been there. Is was a well known fact he HAD WMD, and now it is a fact he still had them at the time of the invasion. By virtue of the fact they ARE there now means they were available for use. Plain and simple, these ARE WMD and your arguments to the contrary are just silly.

Now, the small quantities is another story. A couple of shells are not going to sway, significantly anyway, the opinion of the international community. What they indcate, however, is that the WMD question is still open. We have gone from no weaponized WMD to small quantities of WMD weapons. Time will tell if it grows beyond that.

Te(V)plar
17th May 04, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by Osiris
Regardless, they lied. If something does happen to be there, they just lucked out. Noone lied. Before the war everyone was sure they had WMD's. Hell, even Hans Blix said he'd be surprised if they didn't. This sarin shell wasn't "low-key", it was not armed properly. It's armed by mixing two chemical agents while in midflight. These clownshoes thought it was a regular artillery shell and decided to rig it into a bomb. The "minor exposures" that this sarin caused must've been treated immediately, because even minor exposure to the stuff is fatal. This incident shouldn't be written off as a fluke. If one shell had sarin in it, it's not inconceivable that there's more of the stuff in Iraq somewhere. Furthermore, the whatever group that used this shell thinking it was a normal artillery round is now aware that what they've got is sarin, which is also pretty scary.

Dochter
17th May 04, 02:56 PM
The point some are trying to make is that the case for invasion was presented as being based on an imminent threat posed by Saddam and WMD's. That is/was obviously false. The degree to which the Bush administration overstated the threat is a different argument. Links to Al-Queda were also false.

Te(V)plar
17th May 04, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by Dochter
The point some are trying to make is that the case for invasion was presented as being based on an imminent threat posed by Saddam and WMD's. That is/was obviously false. The degree to which the Bush administration overstated the threat is a different argument. Links to Al-Queda were also false. Not true. What would've prevented saddam from hiding WMD upon our invasion? The only thing saving Saddam for the past decade was playing the UN like a fiddle. The second he'd use WMD against us in the invasion, he'd clearly be SOL in terms of garnering sympathy. This doesn't mean he disposed of them, nor does it mean he didnt have WMD in his possession to use against us in the future aggresively or give to 3rd parties.

Dochter
17th May 04, 03:04 PM
What part is incorrect? Your comments have zero to do with mine.

Of course he could hide them, and has done so in the past. Point?

Rigante
17th May 04, 03:17 PM
The puzzle I still cant figure is why such large quantities of gas masks were stockpiled prior to the invasion. Was this to calm the fears of the Iraqi troops about Iraqs use of chemical weapons or were there actually plans at one point to use such weapons but later recinded. I do remember clearly that all the "military experts" on both sides of the media were expecting at least some chemical weapons to be fired off, especially as we approached Bagdad. There were more concerns for the civilian casualties than the U.S. troops due to the fact they had chemical protective measures in place prior to crossing the line.

Phoenix
17th May 04, 03:27 PM
Gee. I wonder what took them so long to find those, after all this trouble.

punchingdummy
17th May 04, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Dochter
The point some are trying to make is that the case for invasion was presented as being based on an imminent threat posed by Saddam and WMD's. That is/was obviously false. The degree to which the Bush administration overstated the threat is a different argument. Links to Al-Queda were also false.

I'm not arguing against that point. I'm only positing that one cannot make the case that there were no WMD in Iraq at the time of invasion.

Dochter
17th May 04, 03:30 PM
Saddam = very bad
Disinformation resulting in deaths = very bad

The Wastrel
17th May 04, 11:28 PM
I sure am glad we don't have to worry about that anymore. Now American can sleep tight forever!