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Where are the weapons of mass destruction?? Wasn't that why we went to war??

According to today's (ChristmasEve?) Guardian?, there is a new theory as to why weapons couldn't be found. Get this: Saddam's officers fooled him into thinking they had them when they didn't.
I'd not heard that one, but it's certainly possible.  Given a boss who beheads people for not being good enough, and impossible deadlines...  Styill and all, it can't fly because he used to have them, and surely he couldn't have used all of the anthrax we sold him on the Kurds?  --Vitenka
(PeterTaylor) New in what sense? I'm sure I heard that one at least as far back as October.
Yes, me too, I think.  And that's the first I've heard of Saddam using anthrax on anyone.  (And while some Kurds were gassed, I suspect most were just shot...)
Agreed that most have been shot - but last I knew the UK had sold him supplies of anthrax, and if he's not used them then, well.. I guess they must have been lost, or deliberately destroyed.  I have no idea how long Anthrax spores last in a dormant state.  --Vitenka

My favourite theory is that's Saddam's intelligence services leaked false reports of an NBC arsenal to Western intelligence services in an attempt to scare them off... Likely we shall never know. Quite possibly whoever was supposed to look after the stuff they did have quietly shipped it to Syria years ago, since the barrels were starting to look a bit leaky. --Gwyntar

Patience, patience! They have to be built, smuggled in, carefully hidden.. ;)
You'll have noticed that since pretty much as soon as we went to war - or probably since about 2 weeks before that - the politicans stopped talking about weapons and started talking about Saddam as a generally unstable dictator who needed to be removed.  They've really tried to avoid any mention of WMDs since then... --AC
I'm just amused that it isn't working.  The media seems to have acquired a medium term memory.  Although the straight faced comment on the radio this morning made me shudder: "Blair wouldn't be in this situation if he has joined with Bush in calling for a wider regime change."  Sheesh.  That is just evil on so many levels.  It's almost professional.  --Vitenka

Oh - am I being stupid here, or did someone forget to tell me what NBC stands for?  I can't help equating it with the American news channel and giggling.  --Vitenka

"Nuclear, Biological, Chemical"? - MoonShadow
That's right - SunKitten

It seems to me that the WMD was a propaganda tool. We say Iraq was a highly technologically advanced enemy and therefore by beating them we are the best. In reality we just made an effectively third world country (due to economic sanctions) poorer. Remember: only attack an opponent who can't really fight back (first rule of playground bullies). And BTW don't forget who sold the Iraqis the weapons they did have.... Or isn't that pc anymore?
Well, obviously.  (And it was the UK and US mainly, duh.  All through the first gulf war {Iran vs Iraq} I thought we were supporting Iran, because the one with a q in it was clearly more evil.)  Anyway, we all said it was propaganda at the time (I mean heck, just read the rest of WarDeclared) but the interesting thing is that this hasn't been conveniently forgotten in this country.  The US has veered off into "we won, we so bad, uh huh, uh huh {pelvic thrust}" while our government is slowly imploding and even the media is saying "You should have been openly evil before, then you wouldn't be in trouble now" - implying both that they are - and deserve to be in trouble now.  --Vitenka
This is all very reminiscent of what I was saying elsewhere in these pages before the war started ;) - MoonShadow

Well I have to disagree with Vitenka.  It seems to be the point is the press have forgotten the issue. So MS might have made all these points before the war but surely they are more crucial now. One of the arguments was attcking Iraq would be followed by massive reconstruction etc so would be for the longterm benefit of the Iraqi people (short term pain for long term gain). A good argument which no doubt bought off some of the bleeding heart liberals, at least in the Labour party. But as half the Iraqi population are still without reliable water supplies and we allegedly won ages ago, this argument seems entirely spurious. Essentially the war was about America companies getting cushy reconstruction contracts (whose chief execs were incidentally pro-war for entirely unrelated reasons) and thus saving America's faltering economy (oh, and George Dubya's reelection prospects).. Call me a Cynic (but not a Stoic)...
Eh?  The issue is in all the papers, and has been all week.  It's on the morning radio.  It'd probably be on TV but I don't know that for certain.  The press are pressing the point home and drawing blood with it.  The whole 'regime change' thing was not the reason the UK parliament went ahead - such a thing is entirely against both our policies and international law.  Without at least the threat of /NBCWeapons there would have been even more protest.  With them, there was some backlash of "Well, if he does turn out to have these weapons then you'd be sorry we didn't stop him now".  If Blair had gone for the regime change angle from the start, he would have at least been honest, and perhaps in less trouble now - but WAY more trouble before.  Weaponry was always a bluff and diversion, and I think everyone sees that.  Which bodes somewhat ill.  Be nice if he stood up in parliament and said "Sorry, I was wrong.  I think going in was the right thing to do - because we couldn't take the risk that there really were weapons.  But there weren't.  We are dedicating x billion pounds to reconstruction and aid for the Iraqi people."  But of course he won't, he'll hold out for some evidence, and whatever evidence there is, no matter how tiny (and there will be SOMETHING) will be held up high.  --Vitenka
 $$C Spelling corrected by PeterTaylor on behalf of the WikiSpellingConspiracy.

If they can parade lots of chemical/biological weapons around to justify themselves then I imagine they'll come out quite well.  If not then they might be a bit shakier - Kazuhiko
Given that the Iraqi army has now turned to suicide bombers and fake suicide bombers, it would seem that they are really intending to drag the conflict out into guerrilla warfare and use everything available to them.  Given this, and that they have not used chemical / biological weaponry - what is the probability that they have such weapons?  (Yes ThoseWhoAreThatWayPerverted - it's a Bayesian probability question, with uncertain variables.  Enjoy)
I would suggest that on the flip side, the discovery of chemical protection suits etc. is quite incriminating,

*boggle* It was? "You carry a box of condoms, therefore you are a rapist." - MoonShadow
If there is no chance of anyone else inflicting sex upon you then, maybe yes. - Kazuhiko
*doubleboggle* Didn't everyone get given condoms in fresher's week? Given the chances of a fresher having sex inflicted upon them, does this mean we're all rapists? By that logic it would seem so.
The comparison loses something when you try to bring fresher's week into the equation...  There is a very good reason why freshers are given condoms rather than chemical/biological protection suits which has to do with their relative probability of being exposed to the appropriate danger. - Kazuhiko
And vice versa for soldiers: they have appropritate protection gear. Why does the British army posess chemical protection suits? Britain borders no countries that admit to using chemical weapons. Conversely, the chances of a Cambridge compsci fresher having sex are comparable to the chances of an Iraqi soldier having chemical weapons fired at them by an aggressor; probably much less, actually, because it's part of the Iraqi soldier's job description to have stuff fired at them by attackers. Yet both get issued with appropriate protection, and comscis are not generally known to be rapists. - MoonShadow
Possession of condoms does not imply intent to rape (or, for that matter, possession of male genitalia). Possession of metal helmet does not imply intent to shoot someone in the head (or, for that matter, possession of firearms). Possession of gas mask does not imply intent to use poison gas (or, for that matter, possession of poison gas). Possession of chemical protection suits does not imply intent to use chemicals (or, for that matter, possession of chemicals). But once more I see the meeja propagandists got there before me. - MoonShadow
So what do you think they were going to use them for? Fancy dress parties?
Well, gee, let me think now. Why do they keep fireproof clothing around fire stations? Fancy dress? Or maybe because the firemen might set something on fire? - MoonShadow
The US and the UK don't use chemical weapons. The Iraqis know this. So: what were they going to use the suits for?
You can't argue that they've never used chemical weapons, just like you can't argue they've never used nuclear weapons. They are certainly continuously working on developing more of both. OTOH, my school in Moscow, like other schools in the USSR, gave us lessons in "civilian defense" - location of air raid shelters (most public buildings were assigned one), how and when to put on gas masks, what to do in a chemical attack. Everyone was really worried about nuclear attack from the US. So: if the US never use chemical or nuclear weapons, what was all that about? Why do Moscow schools have bomb shelters and why do 7-year-old kids get a 30-minute-warning drill the way Cambridge freshers get a fire drill? By your logic, the only possible reason is that the Russians have been intending to drop a nuclear bomb on Moscow for the last X years. - MoonShadow

Cutting out all the nice comparisons, there is only one reason to have protection against chemical / biological weapons and that is because it is expected that chemical / biological weapons are expected to be used in the vicinity.  The US / UK don't have them and Saddam will be perfectly aware of this.  I can't see many other conclusions to jump to, personally. - Kazuhiko
I am sure that the Iraqis are as convinced that the US/UK don't have chemical weapons and won't use any against them as the US/UK are convinced of the opposite. Why do you expect them to gamble when the US/UK forces - which, incidentally, posess full chemical gear (of which, presumably, there is rather more stored in the US than was shipped to Iraq) - do not? Or is there a double standard? It's OK for the US to own chemical protection gear, because it is a Very Good Country, but not for Iraq, because Saddam. (sic)
I believe absolutely that the chance of the UK/US using chem/bio is zero.  I believe to a fairly high degree that Saddam is a relatively clever/intelligent person and will also know this.  I have no such faith in the opposite direction. - Kazuhiko
Good. This is how a British officer, responsible for outfitting British soldiers, would think. However, you are not an Iraqi. Can you conceive of Iraqis - and I'm not necessarily asking about civilans here, I'm asking about the Iraqis loyal to the regime that the US troops are fighting right now - trusting their own leaders the way you do yours, and distrusting their opponents the way you do yours? - MoonShadow
How does that impact on anything?  They didn't go out and buy the suits themselves.  The suits would have been supplied by their military commanders and indirectly by Saddam.  Their military would not have protection against chem/bio if Saddam did not say that they should have protection against chem/bio. - Kazuhiko
As far as I am concerned, any army that does *not* stock basic defensive material to protect itself against possible, as well as definite, threats is incompetent or worse. My efforts to make people see this by considering the US/British? armies' posession of chemical suits *before* the current conflict was even considered seem to have been largely ignored, for some reason. Peter, Lucy's husband, as another example, has to keep himself fully vaccinated etc. even though he basically has a desk job in the RAF and is unlikely to see combat (his own words) - and that was true *well before* the war started. - MoonShadow
The British Army did not take chemical suits to Kosovo. Armies do not guard against all possible threats -- if they did they would be so burdened with defensive gear that they couldn't march. They weigh the likelihoodof different attacks. The US and the UK do not use chemical weapons -- so who is Saddam expecting to attack his troops with them? I suppose Iran is a possibility. Is that your suggestion? they're there in case of another war with Iran?
AIUI, they found the stuff hidden in storage in a bunker. The US and UK both posess metric tons of various defensive gear in storage. You argue against yourself - if Saddam had chemical weapons or intent of using them, or thought that the soldiers might have such weapons used against them, the defensive gear would have been issued to the Iraqi soldiers. - MoonShadow
Iraqi troops aren't WEARING the suits - they just have them at their bases.  As do US and UK troops.  If Iraq invaded somewhere, and took suits with them then yes, that'd be pretty damning.  But having them at home is merely suggestive.  And when, as you say, its neighbours and near neighbours have active chemical weapon projects - it becomes less important.  Although yes, it could well be an exceptionally ballsy PR stunt. 

[edited away... I shout into the wind...]
With a comment of "[Enough testosterone]", no less..

As I see it, owning chemical protection suits only implies that you think you might be exposed to chemical weapons. So either they expect the colalition troops to use them, or they expect to have to avoid fallout from a chemical attack from the Iraqi side.  Now, the coalition strongly claim to be fighting by rules that prevent them from owning (let alone deploying) such weapons, whereas the Iraqis have had, and used, such weapons in the past and have no records of having had destroyed them.  That's why it's certainly an indication that Iraqi soldiers on the front line may be expecting to have to avoid weapons set off by their own side. --M-A
Yes, true, but I think overall, if I were a soldier on the Iraqi front line, I'd rather be safe than sorry - I'd rather wear an NBC suit than trust the attacking forces not to use chemical weapons. The presence of NBC suits on the Iraqi soldiers probably says more about their (or their commander's) lack of trust of the US' word (and is that surprising?) than it does about their own possession of such weapons. Certainly it is not as if chemical deposits have actually been found - SunKitten
TBH, I'm not sure that NBC suits indicate anything much about the current state of weapons.  Iraqi forces, in the past, have used chemical weapons against their own people.  I'd have thought that the suits would have been used back then, and they've had no reason to get rid of the suits since. --M-A
Well, no, of course not, given that they haven't got rid of the weapons. It would be interesting to know the state of repair of the suits.

along with the existence of a fairly credible answer to the point above - namely, that Saddam Hussein is highly skilled at playing the public support game.  He's won support in the rest of the Arab world by convincing them he has no weapons of mass destruction.  He is much more likely to keep said support if he uses suicide bombers than if he uses weapons he's convinced them he doesn't have.  I think it quite likely he has these weapons for real last resort use.  MikeJeggo
*shrug* I guess we'll find out in the next couple of days as Baghdad is invaded. If that's not last resort, I don't know what is. Although I'm sure you'll disagree with me.
Not necessarily... I'm sure that once all this is over, we'll find out one way or the other whether he's got the things.  The protection suits seem incriminating on the grounds that who else in that part of the world has chemical weapons and a reputation for using them? 
So why is it OK for the US, Britain, Russia etc. to have chemical protection suits, but not for Iraq? Oh, wait, because we're the Good Guys. I get it. Yes. Clearly, we own suits therefore we expect the Bad Guys to attack us, and the Bad Guys own suits therefore they expect to attack. - MoonShadow

Well. If there was ever a good argument that the sort of people who go on anti-war marches shouldn't be setting policy, that sort of utter rejection of all reason is it.

But I only said I thought it likely, not definitely.  And it should be noted in passing that since WMDs seem to be purely an excuse, not the reason, for this war, it makes no difference to my thinking it wrong, hence my fairly academic attitude... --MikeJeggo

I can think of one other reason why Saddam Hussain might want NBC suits for his military forces (other than the possibility that they might use NBC warfare themselves, that is). They have been involved in wars with at least one neighboring country in the last couple of decades, who do not have the anti-NBC stance of the UK and USA. If I were going to fight one of these countries again, I would make damn sure I had NBC suits lying around just in case. And no, I don't think that it is impossible that Iraq has B or even C capability, but I have yet to see any evidence to prove it beyond all reasonable doubt. - Tsunami

But since Saddam knows that whether he uses NBC weapons or not, he will lose, he might as well not use them but hide them. After all, he hides aircraft in the desert. And he is expecting weapon inspection. Anyway, by NOT using the weapons he damages USA and Britain's reputation more than anything else. It is to his best interest not using NBC weapons in this conflict. -ColinLeung

Kazuhiko bows out of this argu^W^W^W^W healthy discussion having just remembered that he gets depressed enough watching this stuff on TV, let alone bringing it to the Wiki.  Besides which he doesn't want to get himself uninvited from MoonShadow's house :)

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