Chemical Weapons in Iraq? From Whom?

So now the New York Times is claiming that there were chemical weapons in Iraq all along. Wow.

Iraq War

But according to Reason.com’s summary, there are a couple of oddities about these weapons.

For one thing, these chemical weapons were kept secret. Soldiers claim they were even ordered to lie to Congress about them.

Soldiers who were aware of the discoveries were ordered to keep quiet about them, and even to mislead Congress about what they knew. “‘Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,” retired Army Major Jarrod Lampier tells the Times. Lampier was on site when the biggest chemical weapons dump, containing 2,400 warheads, was found.

These weapon encounters were kept secret not only after Obama was inaugurated, but before. According to the New York Times,

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.

The fact that American soldiers were wounded by these weapons is what I found most surprising. Not only were some of our troops affected by these chemical weapons, but doctors were kept in the dark about what they had encountered.

The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

If this is true, it seems comparable or perhaps worse than the V.A. scandal—another case of denying care to those who serve in the military.

Why would the discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq be kept secret, even to the point of risking the lives and limbs of the troops?

It all makes sense once you realize that all these weapons, while sometimes still dangerous and usable to some extent, were often corroded relics from the eighties. They all dated from 1991 or earlier.

In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies.

None of this was part of any development program. They were relics from the time when we used Saddam Hussein as an asset to be our proxy agent to war against Iran.

The irony is amazing. Our government assured us that Saddam Hussein had a chemical weapons program that endangered Americans. But there was never the capability or the plan to attack the U.S. No Americans were hurt by Iraqi chemical weapons until we sent them to Iraq.  We were told we had to fight terrorism, but al Qaeda terrorists were never in Iraq until after we invaded. And now we find the chemical weapons in Iraq have as much to do with the United States as they do with the Saddam Hussein regime.