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Old 09-04-2013, 06:20 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Did George W. Bush warn of chemical weapons in Syria?

One of the memes zipping around Facebook right now is the notion that President George W. Bush told the nation (and the world) that chemical weapons were being sent into Syria. The "liberal media" claimed that Bush was lying. I have no recollection of Bush talking about chemical weapons in Syria, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. So,

  1. Did George W. Bush claim that Syria was receiving chemical weapons? If so, where were they coming from?
  2. Did this story get much media play? Did talking heads on the Sunday shows and wherever else give it much credibility?
  3. What, if anything, did Bush propose to do about these chemical weapons?
I fully recognize the "Great Debate"-ability of this, but I believe that the above three questions have factual answers.


My fourth question is in case this does get moved to Great Debates.
  1. Does any of this matter now?
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:28 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I don't know if Bush said it personally, but yes, the idea certainly got a lot of play in the conservative media. Which would of course mean, if true, that our invasion of Iraq was a dismal failure.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:36 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Reposted from forever ago

tldr:
The best the US intelligence Community could come up with was that the Iraqi WMD to Syria story seems unlikely, we don't have corroborating evidence for it, but we can't completely rule it out.


THE IRAQI DOCUMENTS: A GLIMPSE INTO THE
REGIME OF SADDAM HUSSEIN

HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION
APRIL 6, 2006
Serial No. 109–184
Brigadier General Anthony A. Cucolo III, Usa, Director, Joint Center For Operational Analysis, United States Joint Forces Command

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin M. Woods, Usa (Ret.), Project Leader And Principal Author Of Iraqi Perspective Project, United States Joint Forces CommandThe Iraqi Perspective Project is a research effort conducted by United States Joint Forces Command, specifically the Joint Center for Operational Analysis, and it focuses on Operation Iraqi Freedom in the time period from March to May 2003.

Using information gathered through dozens of interviews with senior Iraqi military and political leaders during the fall and winter of 2003–2004, and making use of thousands of official Iraqi documents, we have a comprehensive historical analysis of the forces and motivations that drive our opponents’ decision.

Now, to accomplish this, the project leader, Kevin Woods, led a small team of professionals in a systematic 2-year study of the former Iraqi regime and military. This book is the first major product of that effort.

Essentially, Kevin and his team crafted a substantive examination of Saddam Hussein’s leadership and its effect on the Iraqi military decision making process. Moreover, we believe it goes a long way toward revealing the inner workings of a closed regime from an insiders’ point of view.

The overall objective of the project was to learn the right lessons from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and while the practice of self-critique and gathering lessons learned are distinguishing feature of the U.S. Military, in almost every past instance our understanding of events remained incomplete because any assessment was limited to a ‘‘blue’’ or a friendly view of what happened.

While we often had a relatively complete picture of what our adversary did, we remained in the dark as to what motivated his actions.


In this case, by shedding light on the actual ‘‘red team’s view,’’ this study hopes to contribute to a more fully developed history of the war.

It should be noted that this is the first such effort by the United States Government since World War II, when the United States conducted a comprehensive review of recovered German and Japanese documents, as well as interviews with key military and civilian leadership of our former enemies.

Though this is an important first step, we acknowledge that our understanding of Operation Iraqi Freedom remains incomplete.



The second assumption that Saddam made had to do with the nature of his opponents. Through the distortions of his ideological perceptions, Saddam simply could not take the Americans seriously. After all, had they not run away from Vietnam after suffering what to him was a ‘‘mere’’ 58,000 dead? Iraq had suffered 51,000 dead in just one battle on the Fao Peninsula against the Iranians. In the 1991 Gulf War, the Americans had appeared on the brink of destroying much of Iraq’s military, including the Republican Guard, but then inexplicably stopped—for fear of casualties, in Saddam’s view. Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo all added to Saddam’s belief that the Americans could not possibly launch a ground invasion that would seriously threaten his regime. At best they might be willing to launch an air campaign similar to OPERATION DESERT FOX in 1998 with a few small ground attacks around Iraq’s periphery. But from Saddam’s point of view, the idea that the Americans would attack all the way to Baghdad appeared ludicrous.

A few senior military officers believed that the coalition might launch a ground campaign, especially given the enormous buildup that was taking place in Kuwait. But even they believed that as in OPERATION DESERT STORM, the Americans would wage a sustained air campaign before they launched their ground forces on an invasion of Iraq. Therefore, the entire Iraqi leadership—military and civilian— was surprised by Coalition ground forces beginning their offensive into Iraq at the same time the air campaign was starting. Adding to their incomprehension were the speed and power of the American offensive, which were simply beyond their understanding of military operations and logistical capabilities.

nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition either

The guy pimping the WMD to Syria story says that the United States' Defense Intelligence Agency thinks the story is B.S.

Mr. Shaw said he acquired his intel about Iraq's WMD going to Syria from a "good friend" of Dick Cheney's and that this info was derided by the DIA as "Israeli disinformation." After the Shaw launched the story, the Fox news reported "it isn't clear how this person has the authority or the knowledge to speak on such a matter."

In the recent past, it seemed that Jack Shaw did some illegal and questionable things. But, then a DoD press release seemed to have cleared him. Subsequently, the exonerating press release had to be pulled because "information has become available that indicates it may not have been accurate at the time it was issued. The matter is under review to determine the facts and circumstances involving the information contained in the original release."
AFAICT, the DoD page revoking the exoneration was last updated 2005-08-25.

Coincidentally, the previously cited article about what prompted the FBI to investigate the actions of Mr. Shaw mentioned the port of Umm al Qasr. At the Summit, Mr. Shaw also mentioned port of Umm al Qasr. He said there were floodable storage areas in Qasr that had held WMD. He also said that in Umm al Qasr, the Soviets loaded Iraqi WMD onto ships so as to sink the weapons and possibly other untold evidence in the depths of the Indian Ocean.

19 Feb 2006 by Simon W. Moon



Starting about 45 sec in he begins to talk about shopping the WMD to Syria story to the DIA. He says the DIA told him that the WMD to Syria thing is "Israeli disinformation."[around the 60 second mark] He then says that there was an effort to discredit him and the people associated with the story even though one of them was one of "the Vice Presidents very best friends." [around the two minute mark]


What the best info currently available re the WMD to Syria theory says.

Addendums to the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD
(pdf) page1 (page 4 of the pdf)ISG formed a working group to investigate the possibility of the evacuation of WMD-related material from Iraq prior to the 2003 war. This group spent several months examining documents, interviewing former Iraqi officials , examining previous intelligence reports, and conducting some site investigations. The declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when
circumstances on the ground improve.
The investigation centered on the possibility that WMD materials were moved to Syria. As is obvious from other sections of the Comprehensive Report, Syria was involved in transactions and shipments of military and other material to Iraq in contravention of the UN sanctions. This indicated a flexibility with respect to international law and a strong willingness to work with Iraq—at least when there was considerable profit for those involved. Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined. There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation.
ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war. It should be noted that no information from debriefing of Iraqis in custody supports this possibility. ISG found no senior policy, program, or intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of such movement of WMD. Indeed, they uniformly denied any knowledge of residual WMD that could have been secreted to Syria.
Nevertheless, given the insular and compartmented nature of the Regime, ISG analysts believed there was enough evidence to merit further investigation.
It is worth noting that even if ISG had been able to fully examine all the leads it possessed, it is unlikely that conclusive information would have been found.
At best, barring discovery of original documentary evidence of the transfer, reports or sources may have been substantiated or negated, but firm conclusions on actual WMD movements may not be possible.
Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials.
Note that "WMD-related materials" WMDs



But as WMD to Syria devotees and Bigfoot devotees may be tempted to say, "Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence."
And of course, they're both right.
However, in the meantime, folks in the reality-based community have to deal with the facts that are available and make the best decisions in light of what's known.
And, based on the evidence available at present, the WMD to Syria transfer theory seems unlikely.
But, so does Bigfoot, so who's to say.

Last edited by PatriotX; 09-04-2013 at 07:37 PM..
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2013, 07:46 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Did George W. Bush claim that Syria was receiving chemical weapons? If so, where were they coming from?
Not in regard to Iraq that I know of.
But it had been known that Syria had such weapons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Did this story get much media play?
In certain jerky circles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Did talking heads on the Sunday shows and wherever else give it much credibility?
Head on WND level outlets paid it some heed.
I think Art Bell may have covered it too. With Tierney and Tierney's revelations from God about Iraqs WMD. Tierney knew that the messages from God were legit because his psyhic friend confirmed it. Or maybe it was the other way around--God confirmed the psychic?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
What, if anything, did Bush propose to do about these chemical weapons?
Don't recall GWB bringing them up?

#########################################

SOME MORE ABOUT MR. TIERNEY

Here's a bit about the speaker Bill Tierney as featured on the hit radio show Coast to Coast AM:

Iraq: The Smoking Gun?


Bill Tierney, a former weapons inspector who worked with UNSCOM in Iraq in the late 1990s ... ... believes that Iraq has nuclear capability and the intention to use such weapons. ... claims that he has pinpointed a hidden location in Iraq ... where there is a uranium enriching processing facility.

Tierney's methods of ascertaining this location ... "I would ask God and just get a sense if something was valid or not, and then know if I needed to pursue it," he said. His assessments through prayer were then confirmed to him by a friend's clairvoyant dream, where he was able to find the location on a map. "Everything she said lined up."

Well at least he got verification. It would have been sheer nuttery not to verify the divinely inspired, uranium enrichment facility homing ability with a friend's "clairvoyant dream."
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2013, 07:53 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotX View Post
Tierney's methods of ascertaining this location ... "I would ask God and just get a sense if something was valid or not, and then know if I needed to pursue it," he said. His assessments through prayer were then confirmed to him by a friend's clairvoyant dream, where he was able to find the location on a map. "Everything she said lined up."

Well at least he got verification. It would have been sheer nuttery not to verify the divinely inspired, uranium enrichment facility homing ability with a friend's "clairvoyant dream."
Wait a second... he got a personal communication from God on where the site was... and then he asked his friend to corroborate God's information via psychic powers.

This somehow manages to reach new levels of both credulity and skepticism at the same time.
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  #6  
Old 09-04-2013, 07:59 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
One of the memes zipping around Facebook right now is the notion that President George W. Bush told the nation (and the world) that chemical weapons were being sent into Syria. The "liberal media" claimed that Bush was lying. I have no recollection of Bush talking about chemical weapons in Syria, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen.
Let's put this into context. The primary purpose of invading Iraq was to secure those supposed WMD's. If the Iraqis were able to slip them across the border into Syria it represented a huge failure of the entire operation. So if it had happened why exactly would the "liberal media" have participated in a cover-up? To protect the reputation of the Bush administration which they loved and respected so much?

The first question you need to ask yourself whenever you hear a conspiracy theory is "If this is true, does it make sense?"

Last edited by Little Nemo; 09-04-2013 at 07:59 PM..
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  #7  
Old 09-04-2013, 09:24 PM
Werekoala Werekoala is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Let's put this into context. The primary purpose of invading Iraq was to secure those supposed WMD's. If the Iraqis were able to slip them across the border into Syria it represented a huge failure of the entire operation. So if it had happened why exactly would the "liberal media" have participated in a cover-up? To protect the reputation of the Bush administration which they loved and respected so much?

The first question you need to ask yourself whenever you hear a conspiracy theory is "If this is true, does it make sense?"
Remember that we took almost a year before invading Iraq, due to attempting to persuade the international community, the UN, give inspectors time to work, position troops, etc. You can move a lot of WMDs in a year.

Not saying it happened, but the invasion of Iraq was hardly a secret, or a surprise, that occurred overnight. Saddam had time to bury aircraft and other weapons, fly others to Iran, etc. after all.

Last edited by Werekoala; 09-04-2013 at 09:29 PM..
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2013, 12:22 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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And pretty much any chemical weapons that WERE moved at that time, if there were any, would be outdated and probably inert by now, anyway. Certainly every instance of an actual chemical weapon we ever found in Iraq itself was already so at the time. These things have an actual shelf-life, and it's not all that long.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:13 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by Werekoala View Post
Remember that we took almost a year before invading Iraq, due to attempting to persuade the international community, the UN, give inspectors time to work, position troops, etc. You can move a lot of WMDs in a year.

Not saying it happened, but the invasion of Iraq was hardly a secret, or a surprise, that occurred overnight. Saddam had time to bury aircraft and other weapons, fly others to Iran, etc. after all.
You don't grade military operations on a curve. They either achieve their goal or they don't - if they don't you lose.

Look at the Bay of Pigs, Son Tay, and Operation Eagle Claw. You don't get to say they were good efforts because the participants tried real hard.

If we planned an invasion in order to secure Iraqi WMD's and Iraq was able to move them out of the country, then the mission was a failure. We should have called it off.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:54 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Not sure what the issue is here...

Saddam had gas weapons. We know he did, because he used them - on his own people.

If he moved them in bulk out of the country, well, maybe the guys who owned his skies would have noticed this? they had a pretty good idea where major military storage was, and decent-sized convoys are hard to hide.

While Saddam and his fellow Baathists in Syria might have been somewhat friendly, giving your weapons away to potential enemies is not a great move. (everyone is a potential enemy in that neighbourhood)

If Iraq could make its own chemical weapons, do you think Syria could make its own? As pointed out above, the ones from Iraq would be duds by now.

(As one commentator said about the current summit - they will be telling Russia that if the weapons fall in the wrong hands when Assad falls or even without that, then they would as likely be used by Chechnyan rebels as anyone else. It's as much Russia's interest as the west's to ensure the Syria weapons are rounded up and destroyed. The mor Russia's ally uses the chemicals against Sunni Islamic rebels the bigger the target on Russia's back.)
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:55 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
And pretty much any chemical weapons that WERE moved at that time, if there were any, would be outdated and probably inert by now, anyway. Certainly every instance of an actual chemical weapon we ever found in Iraq itself was already so at the time.
No, I am afraid you are not correct, at least according to the Department of Defense.
Quote:
The 500 munitions discovered throughout Iraq since 2003 and discussed in a National Ground Intelligence Center report meet the criteria of weapons of mass destruction, the center's commander said here today.

"These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee.

...

Maples said. "We're talking chemical agents here that could be packaged in a different format and have a great effect," he said, referencing the sarin-gas attack on a Japanese subway in the mid-1990s.

This is true even considering any degradation of the chemical agents that may have occurred, Chu said. It's not known exactly how sarin breaks down, but no matter how degraded the agent is, it's still toxic.
Cite.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:10 PM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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You would think that if Saddam had had viable chemical weapons in 2003, he would have used them in the war that threatened his life and the continued existence of his regime, instead of donating them to a buddy in order to troll George W. Bush.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:38 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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What difference does this all make? Sending chemical weapons to Syria is like sending coal to Newcastle.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:55 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Not sure what the issue is here...

Saddam had gas weapons. We know he did, because he used them - on his own people.
Not to rehash an old argument but everyone agrees Saddam had chemical weapons at some point. The big question in 2003 was whether he had chemical weapons in 2003 or was likely to have them in 2004.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:16 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Sigh.

I was heading for Syria, and somehow ended up in Iraq. What is it about that place? It just sucks in everything around it.

So, to summarize, these are the answers as I understand them:
  1. Bush claimed that Hussein was shipping at least some of his WMDs to Syria. However, most other analysts at the time did not believe this to be true.
  2. Since the story did not have much credence, most mainstream media did not give it much play. It did get play in the right-wing echo chamber, but most people didn't pay much attention to it.
  3. As in everything else, he wanted to (and did) go to Iraq.
Finally, as to whether any of this matters, it would seem that it does not because any weapons Assad and Co. got from Iraq would not be useful now, ten years down the road. The weapons that Bush claimed Syria had are not the weapons in play today, so his warning is irrelevant.


Is that a fair summary?
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:56 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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The point is, it's irrelevant.
Assad(s) were quite capable of making their own, and did.
So it's not like the pickle we find ourselves in now is due to neglecting warnings about munitions transfer.

This is also assuming the transfer happened in such volume, and the weapons were sufficiently stable, that it is a significant factor today.
This is assuming such bulk transfers across hundreds of miles of desert happened during heightened tensions, when America had full control of the airspace and was actively looking for any evidence.

Note too how many thousands of IEDs and car bombs have gone off against US troops and now civilian Iraqis - bombs solely meant to spread terror and now, to inflict the most brutal harm on civilians - yet not one case we've heard of where a nerve gas munitions was used, despite the remarkable propaganda coup it would give the AQII types.

What we have is the occasional forgotten or buried-and-forgotten stockpiles from the Iraqi good old days, no evidence of a concerted plan to bury and later recover and use these weapons.

As one commentator mentioned (CNN?) bin Laden and his buddies had been trying for a decade to concoct any type of nerve gas or other chemical gas weapons. They got nowhere. For all the alleged WMD gas weapons floating around Iraq, neither they nor the ex-Iraqi-army types have shown any indication they possess such weapons. Nor has anyone else.

What are the odds the worst-funded rebel group in the mid-East has managed to build and deliver enough gas to kill 1400 men, women and children? That, having laid their hands on such a trove, they would kill their own people instead of the enemy, in such a way as to completely fool US intelligence, challenged as it may be...

The simplest and most obvious answer is the simplest and most obvious:
Assad can and has made his own gas weapons.
Given that, whether he got a moderate amount of additional weaponry from Iraq is irrelevant.
The homemade danger existed anyway.

Last edited by md2000; 09-06-2013 at 12:58 AM..
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  #17  
Old 09-06-2013, 06:07 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Bush claimed that Hussein was shipping at least some of his WMDs to Syria.
No one in this thread has made that claim nor affirmed it, afaict.

I suspect that is a Facebook fact rather than a regular fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Since the story did not have much credence, most mainstream media did not give it much play. It did get play in the right-wing echo chamber, but most people didn't pay much attention to it.
There was enough credence for the ISG to take it seriously and investigate it.
A few people made the claim. The fact that the claim was made was reported.
But then that is all that there was. No new evidence came to light after that.
It wasn't that the story had "no legs', but that the story ran out of road to run on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Finally, as to whether any of this matters, it would seem that it does not because any weapons Assad and Co. got from Iraq would not be useful now, ten years down the road.
For a number of weapons, the tricky part isn't so much the production of of the main ingredient as it is the weaponization process so that the product is deployable in a weapon-y way.

Idk the details on "high quality" sarin which is readily suitable for deployment in munitions and sarin which is toxic as can be, but is not suitable for deployment. Or even if that generalization applies to sarin.
But I suspect that the good folks over at FAS.org do.


SARIN
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:34 AM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Originally Posted by PatriotX View Post
No one in this thread has made that claim nor affirmed it, afaict.
You are correct. My mistake after hastily rereading the thread. My apologies to all.
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  #19  
Old 09-06-2013, 11:00 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Bush claimed that Hussein was shipping at least some of his WMDs to Syria. However, most other analysts at the time did not believe this to be true.
As PatriotX noted, I don't think Bush himself or any official spokesman for his administration ever made this claim. It was more like an unofficial rumor that was floating around.
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