: an unforeseen and unwanted harmful consequences, result, or set of repercussions
A New York Times article called “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons” came out on Oct 14 2014. It has some very significant information in it and, depending on your ability to think, it can be interpreted differently. In short, here are the important parts. 1) Chemical weapons were found in Iraq in the mid-2000s buried in caches and in abandoned warehouses. 2) That information was suppressed by the Bush administration and the Obama administration. 3) Some 2,500 chemical weapons munitions remain unprotected and possibly accessible to ISIS.
An article at the National Review claims that this vindicates Bush’s rationals for war. I don’t think the author read the whole NYT article.The most important part of the article is the source of these chemical weapons. It clearly exposes the destructive culmination of decades of US involvement in the Middle East.
It appears that all the chemical weapons in Iraq were created before 1991 during the war between Iraq and Iran. Saddam did not have an active chemical weapons program leading up to the invasion. The Bush administration pushed for war on the idea that Saddam had active weapons programs pursuing WMDs, like chemical weapons, with the intent to use them against the US and its allies. It seems they were at least 15 years too late.
The most damning element in this is that Saddam was only able to create those weapons because he had help from the US and Europe. Even in the 1980s the US government couldn’t resist meddling in the Middle East. The US government so feared the Islamic movement occurring in Iran that it decided to back the secular dictator Saddam Hussein and even help him acquire WMDs. Ronald Reagan appointed Donald Rumsfeld to be an emissary to the region and met directly with Saddam. Its been reported that Rumsfeld was responsible for helping Iraq get loans for them acquire weapons and even the supplies for chemical weapons. That doesn’t look to good for one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Iraq invasion in the early 2000s. The Department of Commerce also allowed the sale of equipment and materials used in the manufacture of biological and chemical weapons to Iraq.
Lets fast forward to the US invasion of Iraq. When the US armed forces actually found chemical weapons they don’t dispose of them! They tried to pretend they aren’t there! I guess the Bush administration forgot why they sent young Americans into danger in the first place.
We need to come to grips with the reality that the US government is the most destructive force in the Middle East. The unintended consequences from decades of US foreign policy are piling up and the people living in the Middle East are paying for it. In the wake of the invasion hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s have died and even more have become refugees. US drone warfare creates more terrorists than it kills because it kills way more civilians than terrorists. Add a radicalized group with a weak Iraqi government and you get ISIS running around murdering both Christians and Muslims as fast as they can. The problem isn’t that US armed forces were pulled out too early. Its that US armed forces destroyed a stable, although shitty government, and killed enough civilians to create enough hatred of America to solidify a terrorist group. The icing on top is the unsecured chemical weapons the US government put there in the 1980s. Its worth pointing out that the Christians living in Iraq were safer under Saddam. They would most likely not have suffered so horribly at the hands of ISIS if Saddam was still around. That is likely one of that saddest sentences I have ever had to write.
This is an interstellar fuck up spanning across many different presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat. Yet, no one seems to have a long enough memory or even the ability to make the connection between the current situation in Iraq and decades of US intervention.
This new information about chemical weapons in Iraq does not vindicate the war. Far from it. It only reveals the numerous disasters instigated by the US government. If the US government had any shame it would remove all military presence from the Middle East and let them tend to their affairs. The most effective policy to increase national security would be to stop giving the people in the Middle East reasons to hate us and the motivation to cross an ocean to take a swing at us. The government’s habit of selling arms, arming rebels, bombing civilians, and conducting regime changes is making the world a less safe place and fueling endless war.
Sources and other links:
US probing claims ISIS fighters seized airdropped weapons meant for Kurds: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/21/us-probing-claims-isis-fighters-seized-airdropped-weapons-meant-for-kurds/
The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&_r=1
Iraq war supporters think they were just vindicated on Saddam’s WMDs. They’re wrong.: http://www.vox.com/2014/10/15/6981493/iraq-wmd-saddam-chemical-weapons-new-york-times
The Real Secret of Iraq’s Germ Weapons – http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/october/18/the-real-secret-of-iraqs-germ-weapons.aspx
George W. Bush was still completely wrong about Iraq’s WMDs – http://rare.us/story/george-w-bush-was-still-completely-wrong-about-iraqs-wmds/#P7uSMT44fF1RpPxT.99
United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran–Iraq_war
Iraq and weapons of mass destruction – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction
Rumsfeld ‘helped Iraq get chemical weapons’ – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-153210/Rumsfeld-helped-Iraq-chemical-weapons.html
ISIS Video: America’s Air Dropped Weapons Now in Our Hands – http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/21/isis-video-america-s-air-dropped-weapons-now-in-our-hands.html