The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

What ever happened to those weapons of mass destruction?

Apr 14, 2003

For 12 years, the U.S. governments under Bush I, Clinton and then Bush II, warned that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, that is, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. This is how they justified the suffocating economic embargo that lasted 12 years and cost the lives of one-and-a-half million Iraqis. The present Bush administration used it as the pretext for attacking, invading and now beginning to occupy the country.

Throughout the war, the U.S. government continued this charade. It issued endless warnings that Saddam Hussein was about to use chemical or biological weapons, that he had drawn a red line around Baghdad, etc. At the same time, the U.S. officials issued report after report of U.S. troops uncovering the possible makings of Iraqi chemical or biological weapons. They supposedly found them hidden in chemical factories, farms, in the honey comb of underground tunnels under Baghdad. U.S. troops even claimed to have found enriched uranium for the makings of nuclear bombs.

The U.S. news media dutifully reported these stories, taking them at face value, giving them great prominence, and then magnified the effect with their endless on-air speculation by their parade of supposed "experts," retired generals, colonels, majors, Bush administration officials, etc. Of course, the fact that all this turned out to be false alarms was always crowded out by supposed new sightings of "weapons of mass destruction." This left the impression for many people in this country, at least, that the U.S. had either proven that these weapons existed, or that it was on the trail of finding the proof.

In fact, they have not found anything.

Sure, we can well expect that the Bush administration and U.S. military will eventually come up with some "startling proof" to salvage the situation. After all, they are the ones with the guns. They are the ones in a position to bribe or torture a few Iraqi officials into a false confession or to suddenly "find" some of these weapons way out in the desert. We can well expect that they will do what cops do all over the world, including in this country: extract false confessions, plant false evidence, frame-up people.

But when they present this little bit of proof, we need to remember what they said before when they charged that Saddam was threatening the entire world because he had massive amounts of weapons of mass destruction. These included 500 tons (or over a million pounds) of agents to make nerve and mustard gas, as well as 30,000 missiles or bombs to deliver them. He was also supposed to have massive amounts of materials to produce biological weapons: 25,000 liters of anthrax and 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin. Besides that, they said he had mobile and underground laboratories making these germ and chemical weapons.

According to Colin Powell in his February 5 presentation at the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. had the proof of this. He said they had satellite photos, telephone conversations between Iraqi officials, and top-secret reports from important informants with impeccable credentials. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and all the other important officials assured the public over and over again that they had top secret evidence that proved this. This was confirmed by the Democrats in Congress who lined up to support the war.

Of course, if this were true, then the U.S. military would not be looking for a few miserable tins of chemicals secretly buried under a chicken coop on a farm. It would not be looking for a needle in a hay stack. They would be looking for massive amounts of weapons, materials and factories.

The Bush administration will ignore what it said before, but it will continue to do what it has done from Day One: Feed the public a daily diet of lies and deceit to justify a completely barbaric policy, one based on the murder of millions and the destruction of entire countries.

The main threat against the peoples of the world does not come from ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein, but from the likes of George Bush and the big powers and corporations that he serves.