Whether Saddam’s regime actually possessed weapons of mass destruction “isn’t really the issue.”

Thus spake U.S. Arms Control Chief John Bolton in an interview with The Associated Press prompting your’s truly to wonder aloud at his computer monitor: “What the fuck?”

ABCNEWS.com : Official: Saddam Scientists Justified War

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was justified in part because Saddam Hussein retained scientists capable of building nuclear weapons, Washington’s top arms control official said Thursday.

“The issue I think has been the capability that Iraq sought to have … WMD programs,” Bolton said at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

You have got to be kidding me. ShrubCoTM hammered at us endlessly about how Saddam not only had WMDs, but was an immediate danger to world peace in general and America in particular for months leading up to the invasion. During the war we kept hearing over and over about how Saddam was perfectly capable of distributing and using chemical and biological weapons in as little as 45 minutes. The way the administration played up Saddam’s capabilities you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a real-life James Bond-esque villain mastermind!

Now they’re saying it wasn’t really the point after all, but rather that Saddam had scientists who could “potentially” have developed nuclear weapons someday, maybe, if left to their own devices. Pardon my ignorance, but doesn’t that describe just about any country this side of Liechtenstein?

Holy shit! I suppose we should invade them all, just in case! Can’t be too careful in this scary age of terrorism!

If we’re so worried about countries that don’t already have nuclear weapons getting their hands on them and are willing to justify an invasion on the mere presence of scientists capable of developing nuclear weapons, then why the hell aren’t we pounding the living shit out of North Korea right now? They’ve been practically daring us to try for months now and seem almost gleeful about rubbing our noses in the fact that, if they don’t already have them, they are on the verge of getting them any day now. Based on the comments of Mr. Bolton we should’ve been storming in there and kicking major ass weeks ago. I’m sure the South Koreans wouldn’t be too upset if we carpet bombed their neighbors out of existence once and for all.

Hey, we might even find a WMD or two in friggin’ North Korea without spending 5 months looking for ‘em only to turn up a couple of trucks that might have been biological labs. That would be one helluva success compared to Iraq!

Link via Atrios.

35 thoughts on “Whether Saddam’s regime actually possessed weapons of mass destruction “isn’t really the issue.”

  1. I think we may be developing a new international danger: DRMDs (Discarded Rationales of Mass Destruction).

    I heard somewhere else that, using Bolton’s tortured logic, Saddam should have mass-executed all of his scientists to show true good-faith compliance with UN mandates. Or emulated my home state (Texas) and started turning out textbooks that would poison young Iraqis’ minds with pseudo-science.

  2. “The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

  3. What’s the best defense against any nation these days? Possessing nukes. Anyone thinks of attacking and they launch them—so you better think twice.
    Yeah, that’s cynical, but would we dare attack any nation with nukes? NFW!

  4. At the risk of sounding stupid or ill informed here, but am I correct in thinking that there is actually only one country in the world that has demonstrated a willingness to actually use WMD, (Hiroshima, Nagasaki WWII) and also has the largest stockpiles of all varieties of such weaponry? (I refer of course to the US)

    I am sure there are some rather high brow ways of explaining what appears to me as hypocrisy, when the US aggressively disarms countries who may or may not have the exact same weapons that the US is itself pointing at the world. I just fail to see the justification for that, when as the evidence shows the US is the only country in the world that has demonstrated a willingness to actually use these things on people. Maybe I am just missing some globally accepted point, that makes it ok for some and not ok for others to use the same methods in warfare?

  5. The U.S. is the only nation to have used atomic weapons, but we are far from the only ones to have used WMD’s (under the definition I understand). WMD is actually a political term, it isn’t a term comonly used by the military. The military calls these weapons NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical), and saddam used chemical weapons in the iran/iraq war, and against the kurds. The use of atomic bombs in ww2 has to be put into perspective when you realize that during that war all sides saw attacking civilian targets as justified (the US and Britain bombed German cities regularly, and the Germans bombed British and Russsian cities), and the deaths at nagasaki and hiroshima were just a small fraction of civilian deaths during that conflict.

  6. I think what freaks me out the most is that recent polls (recent, mind you), indicate that staggering numbers of American citizens still think that Saddam and Osama are synonymous.  There are some extremely tenuous fragments of evidence to indicate that Saddam might have “reached out” to these guys at some point, but there’s no real evidence of money changing hands, of weapons being provided, or of anything else.

    Most people, when questioned, replied that their conviction that there was some sort of connection between Iraq and Al Quaeda was, at its roots, based on a “feeling” that these people with “Anti-American” sentiments were probably cooperating with each other.

    Amazing how “feelings” can lead to sincere belief that something is “true.”  Never works for me, but I’m one of those namby-pamby, navel-gazing, always riddled with self-doubt types.

      Well, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that humanity’s destiny is to annihilate itself in some beautifully, spectacularly idiotic way.  I just hope I can have lots of toys to play with in the meantime.  I really don’t care if dogs inherit the earth—they probably deserve it more.

  7. Serai

    Your statements caused me mild distress, which necessitated this long-winded response.

    Having had first hand experience with what the US Air Force called

  8. Umm ok Bill thanks for the clarification on some of those points, I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable when it comes to this subject really, so I was asking from a laymans point of view.

    I don’t think any single country has the right to insist others disarm for no valid reason other than ‘we don’t much like them, and they’ve done bad stuff in the past.’ You could pretty much use that excuse against any country, the US and UK included.

    It looks to me as if the US government is saying ‘Hey it’s ok for us to have them because we’re the good guys, you can trust us…’ Well I think the days when the Anglo American alliance were viewed as the good guys by default are a way behind us, it’s probably high time they started applying their expectations of other countries to themselves.

    (Please note, this is just my personal view, and not intended as a statement of facts, just my opinion…)

  9. Serai

    You should try to answer my previous questions:

    1.  What if the Nazis were the first to possess atomic weapons?
    2.  What if the Russians were the first to possess atomic weapons?
    3.  What if Islamic fundamentalists possessed atomic weapons?

    Perhaps if you could answer those questions, especially number 3, it would help explain the US position.  Like I said before I can

  10. Bill in an ideal world we shouldn’t have to choose whose boot we are under, it’s a sad fact that when you give too much power to a single nation they become oppressors.

    Ideally the UN would hold the role of world court, and the US would be part of the police force. It seems instead that the US wishes to disregard the UN when it suits them to do so, and yet on the other hand use the UN directives as justification for condemning other countries when they fail to comply. That to me is pretty hypocritical. It’s like telling your neighbour to obey the law or you’ll personally go round and break his legs… rolleyes

    If the US was willing to apply the same rules to itself that it uses to judge other nations I would be a lot happier about seeing them as a dominant world power.

    Oh and as for your 3 questions, well to be honest I couldn’t answer them because they never happened, so we will never know, all I do know is we have the US taking over where they left off, and that’s not really much better in my opinion.

  11. …all I do know is we have the US taking over where they left off

    You can’t seriously think that the US is taking over where Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR left off. You may not agree with the method’s or reasons for the war in Iraq, but it is absurd to compare the actions of the US (and the UK, lest we forget) to either of those.

  12. Val hegemony is hegemony, be it Nazi communist islamic or capitalist. To impose capitalism on the world is just as detrimental as any of the others, especially when the nation doing the imposing does so for it’s own benefit.

    Bill I didn’t say any of the other countries didn’t pull the same stunts with the UN, what I said was it doesn’t mean it’s not hypocritical to do so, when you are using non compliance with the UN as a reason for war.

    My whole point here was that I fail to see why any single country thinks it has the right or the ability to dictate world policy. Simply saying ‘ooh look at those nasty guys over there they want to rule the world too, you know you don’t want them!’ Doesn’t make me want the US running the show either…

  13. Serai is right about hegemony.

    And with Herr Ashscroft and his brownshirts stirring up sentiment wherever possible, we’re not too far off from falling into fascism, ourselves. Margaret Atwood was damned prescient in “A Handmaid’s Tale” and the creation of a religious state.

  14. Is that anything like a cat on a hot tin roof whose goose is cooked!?  Achtung…Mixed metaphors are VERBOTEN!!!

  15. Wow, I didn’t know that Canadiens were anathema. Gee, someone writes a book of some relevance, and it’s dismissed because she’s a Canucklehead?


    I happen to have been a history teacher, Bill. Spare me the b/s.

  16. What are you people talking about?
    WWII was a war fought for territorial expansion (just like WWI)..hegemony power of the nations was the result, quite reasonable.
    But consider that even before WWII american overseas expansionism had already begun…what about puerto rico after the spanish-american war?
    America had always this stupid belief of “civilizing” other less “civilized” peoples (the rationale of manifest destiny)…this is what is happening in irak, where the iraki people is very much looked down upon.
    So America is an empire, because you suddenly have an american administration imposed and you guys have military occupation of an area. Where’s hegemony there?
    America is just not a FORMAL empire, like the british, french, german, even the spanish once were…Or better said, it wasn’t a formal empire but an informal one based on economic investment as the way to penetrate the territory to “colonise”. Nowadays you people should seriously consider whether DC is not the capital of a new formal empire that has decided to “come out of the closet”.

  17. really? it had nothing to do with the “civilized” status of the iraqi people?
    take a look at bush’s speech when war was declared to irak, he talked about liberation, about saddam being a dictator (quite true..but isn’t bush as dictator as saddam when deciding that HE will liberate all those who did not want to be “liberated”?)…well, liberation is part of the rationale of manifest destiny lemme tell you.
    And it’s true that it was a burden that the former empires put on america, but why is history so useful?…after all, what bush is doing is to follow history…you know, war heroes were always elected presidents..quite a coincidence…THINK, come on, is not so difficult.
    Back to 2000, Bush was a popular-vote loser brought to power…it’s quite amazing how much popularity he has acquired lately.
    He may thank osama bin laden and saddam hussein in his prayers.
    And about your argument in saying that the US wasn’t invading other countries in WWII, i did not mean that, where did I say that?….I just meant to say that it was a nice lil job to pretend to be an hegemonic power and come up with this kind of military occupation in the 21st century.
    btw, the lone star republic has nothing to do with all this….i’m not mexican if your intention is to hurt my feelings. I’m not american, that’s true…I come from an oppressed country which is Argentina (and now you’ll most probably come up with maradona and his addiction blah blah blah).
    aaaanyway, all i’m saying is that you have no right of demanding a surrender…
    nuclear weapons, that was another reason for going to war, I’m still waiting to see them.
    and the best I can come up with is hiroshima and nagasaki in WWII, remember?…who are the ones who have used that kind of weapons?
    Why don’t you guys take a good look at your problems at home such as racism, violence, the superiority of the WASP before getting into all this.
    You’re not a city upon a hill, really.
    You have your pros and cons, start looking more fiercely in the latter so as to become i dunno if a better nation, but better people…so that you don’t go around saying “why did they do this to us?” like exactly two years ago.

  18. You really misuse the term Manifest Destiny.  It was a disorganized, mid-19th century movement in this country and had nothing to do with conquering territories overseas.  One of the primary groups supporting Manifest Destiny was southern slave owners; they felt they could spread slavery to newly established territory and gain more political clout in Washington, DC.  Since African slaves were my ancestors, you might say I don

  19. Come on..manifest destiny is still inside your political leaders’ heads. I repeat: analyse bush’s speech when war was declared.
    And I DO know all that crap about southern slave owners who wanted to apply manifest destiny in the territories acquired by the missouri compromise (there you have the decadent european imperialism of napoleon) and by the war with mexico (when you became a continental nation).
    I do know all that crap, and is quite interesting that if you look back into history..exactly all that thing of invading for liberating is included in the rationale of manifest destiny.
    Btw, I’ve lived outside my country too. My husband is american, a californian, from L.A. A complete WASP lacking all that bullshit except the colour of his skin. So I do have contact with american ppl, I actually work for the U. S. embassy indirectly down here and lemme tell you that 80% of americans here think exactly like me.
    You said you had been around the world. Well, you just mention England and Germany…those are not countries which were oppressed, those are not countries that see ppl dying of hunger or cold everyday. You should go around seeing more about what’s really going on in the rest of the countries which are victims of capitalism and anglobalization.

    And I did understand your previous postings. All I’m saying is that the U.S. is NOW behaving like a 19th century empire. You cannot go around saying that you guys behaved quite good after WWII with the Europeans countries when it was due to economic interests. If those countries did not prosper again, what would you do with all your industrialisation and the economy of credit?
    It all makes sense if you come to think that all that started in 1945, in the 60’s you guys were not soooo nice with the cubans.
    And just lemme put one more thing clear, because many ppl can think that I defend the 911 attacks. I DO not, I hate violence in any way…but when the world becomes so horribly disunited and the leaders do not listen, extremists use that kind of stuff to make others see their needs.
    And now…the falklands, that IS something said to hurt my feelings. I hate that fucking stupid war. It’s embarrasing. I was only two years old when it was fought and lemme tell you that here we are most critical of it. We were under a dictator, a drunk old man who thought that war would bring ppl together under the stupid feeling of nationalism. We were bullshitted by the media who told us that we were winning (can you imagine that?…our army of 18 year-old boys against the english, the americans, and even brazil and chile which colaborated in the war working for the british).
    So that war for us who think about it and do not try to ignore it like most argentinians do is the living memory of how syupid we can be..of how leaders can blind you, of how important is to be on the path of what is REALLY going on.
    Honestly, I do not care about those two strips of land. They can keep it if they want, I don’t care…we would not use them if they were ours nowadays, trust me.
    But, I don’t think you do care much about out history and our war, I may be boring you.
    Just to sum up, I do understand your notion of European Imperialism, you just have to see that The US had embraced it long before WWII, that’s what I’m saying.
    Your former leaders had learned from the spanish empire to evangelise other peoples (you are doing that all the time, evangelism is still quite popular in am. culture) and they had learned from the english that a strong fleet was needed to protect economic interests with foreign powers. Take a look at your history in the late 19th century and you’ll realise that all that was done to secure american interests as the european empires had done so long ago.
    So when yourselves had suffered that kind of oppression, you still put it on practice towards others.
    You americans just lack a little bit of history by howard zinn, there’s finally an intelligent white man.
    And I’m sorry if my english is not as good enough as for you to think that I do not understand your comments….do not underestimate me please.
    I may not write beautifully as you do…all I care is about ideas…to respect others and to put into practice mine, not to let them be a complete irony just like the “all men are created equals” so nicely written in your declaration of independence.

  20. The Missouri Compromise was an attempt to keep parity between slave states and free states: 

    Through the efforts of Henry Clay, “the great pacificator,” a compromise was finally reached on March 3, 1820, after Maine petitioned Congress for statehood. Both states were admitted, a free Maine and a slave Missouri, and the balance of power in Congress was maintained as before, postponing the inevitable showdown for another generation. In an attempt to address the issue of the further spread of slavery, however, the Missouri Compromise stipulated that all the Louisiana Purchase territory north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except Missouri, would be free, and the territory below that line would be slave

    You are kind of confusing a few things by wrapping unrelated events together.  There were people in free areas as well as slave states that pushed for Manifest Destiny.  If you wish to apply that term to what you perceive to be current American foreign policy, well I guess you can (irrational as it may be).

    Well, you just mention England and Germany

  21. You’re confusing things also just to try to convice everybody of your argument.
    Just lemme put some things clear:
    Missouri Compromise, I’m with you on the issue that it was a parity between the number of slave states and the number of free states, it was drafted, however, due to territorial expansion, which is what I’m talking about when saying that the U.S. behaves (and is) an Empire of the 21st century.
    Btw, you can talk to current left LIBERAL historians and ask them whether applying manifest destiny today is irrational or not, just go and ask them if you cannot relate things.
    If we are going to talk about racism…well, that’s an issue…you are really saying that the US is behaving quite good about that?
    Because the WASP do really still have an issue on black people (and on any minority, but especially on black people).
    You’re talking about a nation that had no social system till the 30’s….you’re leaving behind many, MANY things.
    You’re living on the ideal of the american dream where everybody is succesful if they work hard and blah blah blah, well…lemme tell you that is not exactly like that.
    You have lots of flaws in your social system…and it’s kinda funny when you get discriminated ppl that discriminate other minorities…I’ve seen it thousands of times in the US.

    For the record last night I was watching TV here and the reporter was an argentinian who travelled to NY after the blackout…and he was on the streets showing some t-shirts which said: “I survived the black out” which some black guys were selling on the streets.
    Those black guys said to him: “do not film if you won’t buy anything”, the reporter said “I cannot buy anything, I have no money, I’m from argentina”, the response was: “well, if you got no money get out of america”

    and you’re not racist!

    That’s the message we all get outside america, and trust me, there’s no resentment…I admire a lot of things in your system, but foreing policy and the flaws in racism and that of imposing some kind of superiority…that’s something I cannot stand.

    And just for you to know…America did have intentions on Cuba…during the end of the 19th century treaties were signed, and they forbade cuba to make any kind of treaties that could affect american interests….next step was annexation (as a commonwealth, of course), shame you had the depression in the 30’s and that ruined everything.
    You lost an estrategical point.

    And by the way, again the subject of nuclear weapons….which was the only nation to use them?
    The Japanese people would feel very much hurt if they’d read your lines.

    And America is acting exactly like the others empires before, but with economic power. We are all oppressed, ppl are dying because of capitalism and your policy of wealth concentrated in a few hands.
    It’s exactly the same, we are not FREE…we depend on america, and the imf and all that fucking organizations that favor those who have a stake in society.

    So the colonisation that america is doing since the end of the 19th century is not one based on complete territorial expansion like the former empires had done before, but one based on economic pressures…that’s why it is said that America is an empire in denial or an informal empire…but now with this significant colonisation of irak it’s turning into a formal empire…you just cannot tell me it is’nt imposing its rule on ppl who do not want you there.

    And just for you to know, the spanish were a great empire…By whom was financed the “discovery” of america?

    Think, think…the anglo-saxons were not the only ones who populated the world.

  22. The preceding has been a test of the Stupid Evil Bastard Emergency Quoting System. Had this been an actual emergency the quote above would have contained essential information and pertinent content. This was only a test.

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