So, there's this site set up by Death Squad Johnny's office, which posts papers found during and since the invasion of Iraq. The purpose of the site, apparently, is to provide ammo to the "army" (no offense intended to the actual armed forces) of war apologists who are still carrying the torch for the administration's invented case for WMDs/al-Qaeda in Iraq.

On its face this is an unprecedented PsyOps measure intended to bolster the far right's confidence that everybody's wrong but them, as the site itself halfway acknowledges on its frontpage, calling the move "a dramatic departure from previous document release efforts which have historically taken place decades after the cessation of hostilities." Of course, waiting to actually examine the documents for credibility and relevance would take way too long to be useful to the political careers of the individuals who started this war, so they chose instead to scan and publish documents raw, with no indication of where they came from or whether or not they are authentic.

Indeed, at the top on every page of the army.mil site which hosts the database, you can find a prominent disclaimer:"The US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available." And furthermore, this wasn't our idea, go talk to Death Squad Johnny.

Of course, the fact that the government isn't willing to make any representation whatsoever about the authenticity of the documents, hasn't kept the 101st Fighting Keyboarders from jumping on them as "proof" of whatever strikes their fancy. Most recently, Powerline linked to a summary of a document, dated September 1999, talking about moving "all [Iraqi Intelligence Service] chemical materials and equipment" out of a facility, in anticipation of an inspection by something referred to as "the International Inspection Committee."

Putting aside the fact that nobody in the government is willing to vouch for the document's authenticity, the accuracy of the information contained within, or the quality of the translation, and putting aside that "chemical materials and equipment" are used in an incredibly broad range of activities (including "criminology" which is mentioned in the document) that governments commonly engage in -- many of which are done discreetly or covertly and the vast majority of which have nothing to do with chemical weapons -- in other words, putting aside that the document doesn't actually include any specific reference to banned weapons . . .

September 1999!?!

Inspections were going on in 1999?

That's odd, because every source I can find indicates that inspectors were withdrawn in 1998 in anticipation of a US/UK bombing campaign, and didn't return until 2002. A new inspections regime was proposed in December 1999 but rejected by Saddam.

This document summary -- this unverified, unsubstantiated, unsourced document summary that people are calling proof -- clearly states that an inspection of a specific facility was anticipated in early September 1999, nine months after inspectors were pulled out and three months before new inspections were proposed.

This plain contradiction is simply ignored by the war apologists, so eager to support a position that even the people who started the war have abandoned that they're willing to grab at any fistful of straw and declare victory. To wit, Powerline concludes: "As much as one document can prove anything, this seems to demonstrate that Iraq was secretly producing and hiding chemical weapons as of September 1999."

I'd suggest instead that this document demonstrates the total desperation of the far right to preserve its doctrine of infallibility. While rational Americans are left to disagree on whether the administration was lying or just wrong, these few deluded souls continue to insist it was all true, there's just a conspiracy to cover it all up . . . and that conspiracy apparently includes not only liberals, Dems, the UN, and the media, but has now grown to include the Department of Defense, the White House, and most of the Reeps as well.

It manages somehow to be almost sad and almost funny at the same time.


robwestcott said...

take a look here:

A June 1999 draft of the Anglo-Dutch resolution garnered nine co-sponsors in the Security Council. But Russia, France, and China have opposed the resolution until recently, because previous drafts had unacceptably stringent conditions on the suspension of sanctions and on humanitarian assistance.

After several months of negotiating among themselves, much of which occurred outside New York, the P-5 assembled another draft in early November. ISIS acquired a draft, dated November 10, 1999, which was used (along with a June 9 draft) in this memo. Several sections of the November 10 draft remain controversial, and newer drafts or partial text likely exist.

that should provide some assistance in your efforts to reconcile the timeline.

iraq was certainly aware of said negotiations and likely expected them to bear (bitter) fruit. of course with russia, france and china carrying the water, a resolution, let alone inspections, were, shall we say, delayed.

catastrophile said...

So, if we accept that this document means what you want it to mean:

Weapons inspectors were withdrawn in December 1998.

Saddam disseminated procedures for hiding chemical weapons in May 1999.

A resolution to resume inspections was introduced and rejected in June 1999.

Plans to inspect specific facilities reached Saddam's government in September 1999.

Another resolution was drafted in November 1999.

A resolution was passed in December 1999 but rejected by Saddam, despite the fact that Saddam apparently had advance warning of the sites to be inspected and months to clean them.

This makes no sense whatsoever. And that's all putting aside the fact that the document doesn't necessarily have anything to do with chemical weapons.

And, of course, I forgot that the conspiracy also includes Russia, France, and China.