A New York Times report broke the news earlier this week regarding left-overs from Saddam's decaying chemical weapons program in the 1980s. The Iraqi dictator was at war with Iran and apparently needed an extra hand from mustard agents, nerve gas and some other agents. The US learned about this when it found highly dangerous chemical weapons during various missions between 2004-2011. But still, Washington decided to leave it. Why? Nobody really knows. And no one knows who's in charge, at least so it says in an op-ed in the Friday edition of The Times.
"It was not as if there were no warnings," states the op-ed writer(s). US troops and Iraqi policymen had in fact been injured by these ageing stockpiles. According to the report, some 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs were found in the country. And to make matters worse, there are still two bunkers, near the city of Samarra, filled with chemicals and related equipment. What will IS do about that? one might ask.
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So there are two awkward parts of this story: First, most of the these weapons are designed in America and then manufactured in Europe. Secondly, not only did Bush and his allies fail to find any modern WMDs in Iraq - although that was the reason for launching a war - he (and President Obama) didn't do anything about the chemical weapons they actually found. Yet, every single person who knew about the whole thing surely must have understood that the toxic agents were, and still are, very dangerous.
In any event, the choice was inaction. Which now risks, according to The Times' op-ed, to put Iraqi lives in danger.