The Hunt for WMD Continues
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R. – Mich.) demanded in recent weeks that US intelligence agencies continue to look for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He might be another voice in the crowd, but unfortunately he is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The intelligence officials who report to his committee say there is nothing new to discover.
We have been in Iraq for three years now. The UN weapons inspectors found nothing in the years preceding our invasion of Iraq, and since the invasion nothing of any significance has been found. Yet Rep. Hoekstra wants to devote hundreds more man hours to continue looking for these phantom WMDs.
To be fair, some old chemical weapons have been found. Recently 300 old chemical shells were found, and there were 500 sarin shells found earlier. All of these shells, though, dated back to before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. They were in such bad condition they couldn’t have conceiveably been used for any destructive purpose.
Saddam Hussein did not possess WMDs before President Bush decided to invade Iraq. He apparently had no plans to revive his program. The WMDs that justified the invasion did not exist. We went to war over phantom chemicals.
Hoekstra insists that “there are continuing threats from the materials that are or may still be in Iraq.” The thing is, though, Hoekstra has said he wants the intelligence agencies “to more fully pursue a complete investigation of what existed in Iraq before the war.” BEFORE the war? Why? It’s beating such a dead horse! They don’t exist, and even if they do, they are in such poor shape they can’t be used! Why waste the manpower and money to continue this wild goose chase? Is he that desperate to somehow vindicate the White House? Even the White House has backed off on its claims of WMDs.
Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Hoekstra, asserts that Hoekstra’s main concern is that all munitions dumps and sites that could still pose a hazard to U.S. soldiers be found. “Any effort that chairman Hoekstra has made in this area has been aimed at insuring the safety of our troops overseas,” he said. So it’s not to make the Iraqi people more secure. It’s to make our soldiers more secure. But the alleged WMDs don’t pose a threat to our people!
There are those in the U.S. intelligence community who see Hoekstra’s demands as a waste of time. One source Hoekstra claimed for proof of the existence of the WMDs was Georges Sada, a former Iraqi Air Force general who claimed in a book that chemical weapons were flown from Iraq to Syria prior to the U.S. invasion. Sada has admitted he never actually saw any of the weapons, but his allegations were prominently featured on Fox News.
The bottom line is that more than three years into the war, the mission is not accomplished and is unlikely ever to be accomplished. There are better and more productive things to spend our intelligence resources on than a search for ghosts.