Even when it publishes a detailed investigative report that basically says George W. Bush was right in stating there were dangerous weapons of mass destruction in Saddam’s Iraq — even when its own reporters reveal the truth about Saddam Hussein’s deadly chemical weapons stockpiles — the New York Times tries to vilify President Bush by essentially rewriting history and ignoring present danger.
Splashed across the front page of Tuesday’s Times is an article that repeatedly makes clear that one of President Bush’s main, stated reasons for invading Iraq post-9/11 was legitimate. There were WMD’s — chemical weapons, lots of them — hidden in Iraq and discovered by our troops.
What the article also make clear is that the discovery and destruction of Saddam’s chemical weapons caches over many years was, for whatever reason, kept secret.
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the ongoing attempt to “blame Bush” and cast the former president in a negative historical light, the Times piece attempts to condemn the Bush administration for, essentially, covering up the existence of those WMDs, thus leading to risk and injury for military personnel who found them and were involved in their destruction.
Advertisement - story continues below
The Times reporter, C.J. Chivers, tries to recast the Bush administration’s justification for the invasion of Iraq as an effort to stop an “active” WMD program carried forward by Saddam.
The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.
That “active” element of the Iraq War WMD debate is not reflected in New York Times criticism of the Bush administration in the years following the invasion. For instance, there’s this passage from a December, 2003 Times article that featured quotations from outspoken Bush critics:
They say that the administration’s statements that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons that it could use on the battlefield or turn over to terrorists added an urgency to the case for immediate military action that would have been lacking if Mr. Hussein were portrayed as just developing the banned weapons.
“This was a pre-emptive war, and the rationale was that there was an imminent threat,” said Senator Bob Graham of Florida, a Democrat who has said that by elevating Iraq to the most dangerous menace facing the United States, the administration unwisely diverted resources from fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists.
Ironically, one of the warnings President George W. Bush repeatedly issued when he invaded — that Iraq’s WMDs could fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against Western nations — ironically, that warning now appears to have been justified.
But in its investigative report, the New York Times gives Bush absolutely no credit for his prescience as it describes how ISIS has seized a critical facility in Iraq and could now be in possession of deadly WMDs:
Since June, the compound has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group. In a letter sent to the United Nations this summer, the Iraqi government said that about 2,500 corroded chemical rockets remained on the grounds, and that Iraqi officials had witnessed intruders looting equipment before militants shut down the surveillance cameras.
Photo Credit: New York Times