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1 ckkatz  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 9:32:42am

GB and VX are essentially the human equivalent of bug spray. And in fact a number of "otc" bug sprays can set off chemical weapon detectors such as M8 paper.

As mentioned in many recent articles, it is widely believed that Syria has large stocks of such chemical agents. And most western powers are conducting their foreign policy under that assumption.

2 Buck  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 9:40:11am

IMO if these weapons are used and thousands are killed and injured, there will be many who will ask why this was not preempted.

There is a good chance that these are weapons that were transferred to Syria from Iraq just before the war.

At the time Dr. David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group felt that there was a good chance that Saddam, with help from the Russians, moved technology, plans and even some banned material to where they knew the inspectors could not look.

Syria has a very friendly border with Iraq.

If Syria does make a serious political change, there is a good chance we will get the answers to that question.

3 drool  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:21:32am

I heard on some report that Daddy Assad had used chemical weapons before but can find no more on that. Anyone else seen that?

4 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:32:35am

re: #2 Buck

At the time Dr. David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group felt that there was a good chance that Saddam, with help from the Russians, moved technology, plans and even some banned material to where they knew the inspectors could not look.

Syria has a very friendly border with Iraq.

If Syria does make a serious political change, there is a good chance we will get the answers to that question.

Wrong again, Buck.

CNN.com - Kay: No Evidence Iraq Stockpiled WMDs - Jan. 26, 2004

(CNN) -- Two days after resigning as the Bush administration's top weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay said Sunday that his group found no evidence Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons before the U.S.-led invasion in March.

He said U.S. intelligence services owe President Bush an explanation for having concluded that Iraq had.

"My summary view, based on what I've seen, is we're very unlikely to find large stockpiles of weapons," he said on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition." "I don't think they exist."

5 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:36:00am

There's no doubt that Syria possesses the components to make chemical weapons. But there's also no doubt that Iraq did NOT have those weapons when we invaded.

I faced the facts about Iraq long ago. George W. Bush's administration flat out lied about Iraq's WMDs. But obviously there are still die-hards hoping to find those fantasy weapons somewhere, anywhere.

6 jc717  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:53:44am

Syria hasn't signed the chem weapon ban treaty. I'm sure they have a lot of the stuff. Frankly surprised they haven't used them yet, especially after the bomb killed off those senior guys last year.
Really crappy situation. Assad is no picnic, but at least he's secular. Whatever replaces him will likely be much worse.

7 researchok  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 11:13:49am

Anyone contemplating the use of chemical or biological weapons probably isn't interested in the health risks.

8 Political Atheist  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 11:59:17am

re: #7 researchok

True, but the refugees and anyone who goes in to provide humanitarian help sure has to sweat this. "persistent nerve agent" Jaw dropping potential horror.

9 Buck  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 12:13:39pm

re: #4 Charles Johnson

I said that

Dr. David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group felt that there was a good chance that Saddam, with help from the Russians, moved technology, plans and even some banned material to where they knew the inspectors could not look.

Your links does not say otherwise. I didn't say 'large stockpiles".

Here is a quote from Dr. Kay's testimony:

BEN NELSON: Is it possible that they found their way to Syria? Is there any way of knowing whether they've found their way to Syria or to another location?

KAY: In terms of possibility, I mean, you can't rule out anything. The way I tried to direct our activities, I knew we were not going to get permission to conduct inspections in Syria, as much as I would professionally and personally have enjoyed it.

I also knew that the intelligence we collected that showed movement of material across the Iraq-Syrian border didn't show what was in the containers.

So you try to answer that question by saying, "Was there something to be moved back across the border?" Look at production capability. It is totally inadequate for saying, "Did they move small amounts? Did they move technology? Did they move documentation?" It's absolutely possible; I would say probable.

But my personal belief is that they did not move large stockpiles. Because I do not believe they have reconstituted a capability that had produced large stockpiles. So that's how you get at it.

Is it inadequate? Yes. Will it probably always remain as an -- unless the Syrian regime really changes course -- will it always remain uncertain? Yes.

And as I said, perhaps we are going to see that 'change of course'.

10 Buck  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 12:21:15pm

re: #5 Charles Johnson

I faced the facts about Iraq long ago. George W. Bush's administration flat out lied about Iraq's WMDs. But obviously there are still die-hards hoping to find those fantasy weapons somewhere, anywhere.

And again from Dr. Kay's testimony:

CORNYN: Dr. Kay, I, too, want to thank you for your service.

I'm deeply concerned, lest the politics of the moment overshadow some important facts.

First, would you agree that not only are our intelligence agencies but Democrats, Republicans, President Clinton, President Bush, France, Germany, Britain all believed that Saddam had stockpiles of WMD?

KAY: I think that's true.

CORNYN: And until your report after your long work with the Iraqi Survey Group, have you found that any one of those people or groups that I have identified have in fact learned that it was not true, but nevertheless tried to manipulate it and present it as fact for some improper purpose?

KAY: No, I know of no manipulation. I know of a lot of skepticism. And because it was such a widely held view and wanting to know the facts, I view that as absolutely appropriate.

CORNYN: So you know of no evidence, no indication that anyone tried to intentionally manipulate the intelligence that we got in order to justify going to war in Iraq.

KAY: I've seen no evidence of that, nor have I seen any evidence after the fact of anyone trying to influence the conclusions that I or others are reaching as part of the survey group.

11 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 12:51:57pm

re: #9 Buck

Apparently, you missed this little paragraph in there:

But my personal belief is that they did not move large stockpiles. Because I do not believe they have reconstituted a capability that had produced large stockpiles. So that's how you get at it.

David Kay did NOT believe that weapons were moved to Syria, Buck.

12 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 12:58:54pm

re: #10 Buck

It doesn't matter in the slightest that Kay said in 2004 he hadn't seen evidence of deliberate manipulation of intelligence. We now know for a fact that the intelligence was manipulated, and that Bush officials made numerous statements about Iraq's "WMDs" that they knew were false.

I'm not going to argue this with you because it's pointless, but I'm not going to let you post your wingnut talking points without pushing back, either.

13 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 1:09:49pm

The conclusion of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the Bush administration's propaganda push for war with Iraq:

Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.

It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qaeda as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qaeda as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11. Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.

There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.

14 ckkatz  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 3:07:54pm

re: #3 drool

I heard on some report that Daddy Assad had used chemical weapons before but can find no more on that. Anyone else seen that?

The only incident of which I am aware is the July 2007 explosion in a Syrian weapons lab in which 15 Syrians and an unknown number of Iranians were killed. Reportedly they were attempting to fill warheads with chemical agents.

[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

I've not seen any authoritative information that Syria has used its chemical weapons domestically. There were unsubstantiated rumors that chemical weapons were used against Hama in 1982. And likely the regime pumped fuel into tunnels under the old city, and set them alight, create fuel/air/thermobaric explosions.

At a minimum, of course, the Syrian army used artillery and air power to level large parts of Hama in 1982 after the armed revolt. It then systematically hunted down, rounded up, and summarily executed thousands, if not tens of thousands of locals.

15 Political Atheist  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 4:23:46pm

re: #10 Buck

Please move on. Let's talk about Syria today.
This Page is about Syria and Assad and his hell on earth inventory. To ponder consequences and humanitarian rescue. If Assad lets loose with those damn things nobody will give a rats ass where they came from. I don't think we can stop him if he gives the order.

16 ckkatz  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 5:32:36pm

Another huge question is what happens to this stuff if any of the sites fall to an anti-regime attack. There is no accountable authority.

People taking what they could and transferring it to whomever they wanted, for money, ideology, etc. Most borders in the area are quite porous. Remember what happened to a lot of captured Libyan arms.

Get some suicidal mental case to shake up and break a mason jar of VX in a subway. Not to mention trying to mix and handle this stuff in a crowded slum.

17 Buck  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 5:43:24pm

re: #11 Charles Johnson

Apparently, you missed this little paragraph in there:

David Kay did NOT believe that weapons were moved to Syria, Buck.

Again, I ask you to realize that I am not talking about large stockpiles.

Did you miss this little paragraph?

"Did they move small amounts? Did they move technology? Did they move documentation?" It's absolutely possible; I would say probable.

18 Charles Johnson  Fri, Dec 7, 2012 6:32:43pm

re: #17 Buck

No, I didn't miss that quote from 8 years ago, but you need to realize that this issue is already settled. When you insist on clinging to the hope that GW Bush's claims about Iraq will eventually be vindicated, you're living in a dream world.

19 Obdicut  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 2:24:51pm

re: #15 Political Atheist

Why is killing people with gas worse than killing people with ordinary shells, as he's doing every day?


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