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Paul Hair is a national security expert and an author. He writes under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Connect with him at http://www.liberateliberty.com/. Contact him at paul@liberateliberty.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Weapons of Mass Destruction: Iraq vs. Syria

Media reports state that Syria will allow United Nations personnel to investigate chemicals weapons claims.

But what will it mean if the U.N. deems that someone did indeed use chemical weapons in Syria? Will the United States increase intervention? And if it does, will that change the historical record on Iraq?
Map Courtesy of The World Factbook

Key Points (declassified in 2006) from a National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) report confirmed that the United States did indeed find (to that date) “. . . approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.”

The Department of Defense buttressed the declassified NGIC Key Points with a press release on testimony it delivered to the House Armed Services Committee.

Furthermore, open source intelligence (OSINT) from 2004 showed that U.S. troops actually suffered casualties from terrorists using chemical-filled munitions as improvised explosive devices (IED).

Yet while some took the 2006 announcement from the DOD as vindication that pre-war assessments that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were correct, others dismissed it with arguments such as, “New report offers no evidence that Iraq stockpiled WMD.” (This is the same reason people later dismissed the uranium that the U.S. removed from Iraq.)

Thus, many people now believe that the U.S. was wrong or lied about its prewar assessment on Iraq and WMD. In other words, the WMD the U.S. did find in Iraq were not the correct WMD.

So what happens if U.N. inspectors find evidence of WMD use in Syria? If the U.S. goes to war over that (or otherwise increases its intervention in Syria), will people declare such actions unjustified? Or will such actions cause people to rethink Iraq? Or will people make justifications for why the situation in Syria is different than the situation was in Iraq?

Furthermore, will the dates of manufacture of the alleged chemical weapons that were allegedly used in Syria be a factor? If they exist and are found to be old will they be a non-issue? Or if they exist will they be used as justification of increased U.S. intervention regardless of their manufacture date?

Additionally, James Clapper is the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)—the top intelligence official in the U.S. Yet when he was Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency—NGA), he said that he believed that Iraq moved WMD components to Syria (something other government officials apparently also believed).

But if the supposed lies and/or wrong intelligence about Iraq possessing WMD were such a bad thing that continues to enrage people, why is Clapper now head of the entire Intelligence Community (IC)? Shouldn’t he have been one of the “guilty” parties in the supposed intelligence failure and/or supposed lies? So why did the Senate confirm him and how will his past affect any IC judgments about Syria now?

Finally, in this day and age of illegally releasing classified information, why hasn’t there been an organized and sustained campaign by the media to declassify legally the imagery that Clapper saw which he said showed Iraq moving something to Syria?

These questions deserve answers but there is no evidence at this time that any public official or political pundit of note seeks them.

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