Weapons of mass destruction
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
A basic and deliberately limited definition for the term weapons of mass destruction, also known as WMD, comes from the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction of 2002:
"Weapons of mass destruction (WMD)--nuclear, biological, and chemical--in the possession of hostile states and terrorists represent one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States." Also included in this category are missiles capable of reaching both the United States and U.S. interests abroad.
This limited "NBC" definition also occurs in other official and quasi-official projects such as the Nuclear Threat Initiative. However this focus may be a distraction, similar to the notion of cyberterror or cyberwar, intended to move attention away from several facts that are rarely or never mentioned by any official American document:
- The United States claims to have "clear superiority" in nuclear weapon, biological weapon and chemical weapon technologies, and has stockpiles of nuclear and other weapons sufficient to wipe out Earth's whole population.
- The United Nations prefers a wider definition of WMD than the old NBC trio - including radiological weapons. Also the American Committee for the United Nations University in its 2001 State of the Future report cited the Swedish Peace Insitute and other sources as arguing that artificial intelligence, genetics, proteomics, molecular engineering had vastly greater potential than NBC weapons to destroy not only human but all life on Earth, within credible near-term development pathways. Early promoters of some of these technologies actually tend to have the most cautionary views: Hugo de Garis, K. Eric Drexler, Bill Joy, and recently Martin Rees, the UK Astronomer-Royal, have made such apocalyptic predictions.
- Various US think tanks, e.g. Foresight Institute, and corporations, e.g. Zyvex, and even some nonprofit 'charities', e.g. Singularity Institute, are actively researching these technologies and effectively promoting them - they have been successful in achieving vast investments from the US military-industrial complex, e.g. the National Nanotechnology Initiative funded under the Clinton Administration. By contrast the Chinese initiatives in this area have been mostly privately funded with medical or materials objectives.
Fighting Words: An Iraq War Glossary says that Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are "chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The Washington Post quoted historian Paul Fussell on the subject: 'A machine gun, properly fired, is a weapon of mass destruction. We're pretending that only awful and sinister people own weapons of mass destruction. We own them, too. We just call them something else.'"
- Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction
- arms control
- Arms-to-Iraq affair
- Homeland defense
- Homeland security
- Iraqi National Congress
- Iraqi supergun affair
- lightweight anti-structure missile (ASM)
- National Counterproliferation Center
- Nuclear Threat Initiative
- nuclear weapons
- Pro-technology propaganda
- Russia "Cleaned Up" Saddam's WMD
- The alleged linkage of Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction
- weapons of mass destruction investigation
- weapons of mass destruction suspected terrorists
References and notes
- John Steinbach, Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: a Threat to Peace, DC Iraq Coalition/Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), globalresearch.ca, March 3, 2002.
- Mark Matthews and Tom Bowman, "U.S. officials brief inspectors on Iraq's weapons programs. State Department, intelligence officials meet with U.N. panel," Baltimore Sun, November 13, 2002.
- Todd W. John, "How the techies will find Saddam's arsenal," Asia Times, November 15, 2002.
- "Calendar of errors," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 2003: "This one's for the history books, folks. While it's always possible that some Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or WMD--which posed such an immediate threat to the United States that the Bush administration was compelled to invade that country--may some day be found, so far the weapons have proved elusive. Just for the record, (and in case in a few years no one can believe what happened, or the story becomes confused with the plot of a Marx Brothers movie), here's a representative sample of reports from the U.S. and British news media since the search for Iraq's WMD began."
- Wolf Blitzer, "Search for the 'smoking gun'," CNN, January 10, 2003. "Last September 8, I interviewed President Bush's National Security Adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. I was pressing her on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities."
- Ayman El-Amir, "The burden of truth. Who's to produce the smoking gun?" Al-Ahram Weekly, January 23-29, 2003: "Iraq is guilty until proven guilty."
- Phyllis Bennis, "Powell's Dubious Case for War," Foreign Policy in Focus, February 5, 2003.
- Firas Al-Atraqchi, "Irrefutable Evidence Against Iraq? The Telling of a Tall Tale," Dissident Voice, February 7, 2003.
- David Isenberg, "Iraq's WMD revisited," Asia Times, April 9, 2003.
- Ari Fleischer, White House Press Briefing, April 10, 2003.
- Nicholas Watt, "Hans Blix: US was Bent on War," Guardian/UK, April 12, 2003.
- Nicholas D. Kristoff, Missing in Action: Truth, The New York Times, May 6, 2003.
- Trevor Findlay and Ben Mines, "Iraq's Weapons: The US fails to best UNMOVIC," basicint.org, June 4, 2003.
- Christopher Scheer, 10 Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq, AlterNet, June 27, 2003.
- Scott Ritter (former UNSCOM Weapons Inspector), A Weapons Cache We'll Never See, The New York Times, August 25, 2003.
- The Elusive Iraqi Weapons, New York Times Op-Ed, October 4, 2003.
- Warren Hoge, Blair Doubted Iraq Had Arms, Ex-Aide Says, New York Times, October 6, 2003.
- Will Dunham, Pentagon Mulls Shifting Experts Away from Iraq Arms Hunt, Reuters, October 29, 2003: "The Pentagon is considering shifting intelligence personnel in Iraq from the so-far fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction to strengthen efforts to combat the intensifying resistance, officials said on Wednesday. ... 'What's more important right now and what's more destabilizing: the insurgency or knowing about the WMD?' asked a defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity."
- David Ensor, U.S. gets tough over WMD trade, CNN.com, December 3, 2003: "The Bush administration says the U.S. and its allies are willing to use "robust techniques" to stop so-called rogue nations from getting materials to make weapons of mass destruction."
- William Rivers Pitt, We Caught the Wrong Guy, TruthOut.com, December 15, 2003. A "must read" article.
- Richard W. Stevenson, Remember 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'? For Bush, They Are a Nonissue, New York Times, December 18, 2003.
- David E. Sanger and Judith Miller, Libya to Give Up Arms Programs, Bush Announces, New York Times, December 20, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Who needs WMD when you've got Saddam?," Asia Times, December 20, 2003: "With former president Saddam Hussein in the bag, the administration of President George W Bush appears determined to make US voters forget Washington invaded Iraq on the pretext that its now evidently non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed a direct threat to the United States and its allies. ... The effort so far has taken two forms: the suggestion by administration officials, including Bush himself, that ousting and capturing Saddam were ample justifications for going to war; and the quiet dissolution of the nearly billion-dollar effort to find WMD in Iraq."
- Christopher Marquis, "Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda," New York Times, January 9, 2004: "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no 'smoking gun' proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of Al Qaeda. ... 'I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection,' Mr. Powell said, in response to a question at a news conference. 'But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.'"
- Bill Maxwell, "After Pigeon Inspections, Bush Eats Crow," St. Petersburg Times, March 3, 2004.
- Peter Slavin, "Brazil Shielding Uranium Facility. Nation Seeks to Keep Its Proprietary Data From U.N. Inspectors," New York Times, April 4, 2004.
- "UN inspectors: Saddam shipped out WMD before war and after," World Tribune, June 11, 2004.
- Ben Johnson, "Exporting Saddam's WMDs," FrontPageMag.com, June 18, 2004.
- Paul Kerr, "UN: Iraqi Weapons Sites Looted," Arms Control Today, July/August 2004.
- "No WMD: Bush Legitimizes Invasion of Iraq," Washington Dispatch, October 7, 2004.
- Jonathan S. Landay, "Vast amounts of weapons-related material missing, official says," Knight Ridder, October 8, 2004.
- "Findings of US team confirms UN analysis of Iraq's weapons programme," noticias.info, December 3, 2004.
- Dafna Linzer, "Search for Banned Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month. Critical September Report to Be Final Word," Washington Post, January 12, 2005.
- Bulletin: "No W.M.D. Found," New York Times, January 13, 2005.
- Julian Borger and Jonathan Steele, "Surprise, surprise, there were no WMD. But Bush sticks to his guns on whether invading Iraq was worth the cost," Salon, January 13, 2005.
- "Editorial: Iraq/No WMD, no reason for war," Star Tribune, January 14, 2005.
- John Nichols, "Holding WMD Liars Accountable," The Nation, January 17, 2005.
- "U.S. found no evidence WMD moved from Iraq. No signs that weapons were smuggled, intelligence officials say," Associated Press, January 17, 2005.
- Emil Guillermo, "Bush's Bluff," SFGate.com, January 18, 2005.
- Kevin Harris, "Bush Calls Off Search For Weapons of Mass Destruction," The Hilltop Online, January 18, 2005.
- Edith M. Lederer, "U.N. Report Says Satellite Images Show Some 90 Inspection Sites in Iraq Stripped or Razed," AP, March 4, 2005.
- "U.N. agency: 90 dangerous sites looted in Iraq. Vials of 'seed stock' among materials of concern, inspectors say," Reuters, March 5, 2005.
- Edith M. Lederer, "U.N.: Weapons Equipment Missing in Iraq," AP, June 3, 2005.
- Jennifer Loven, "White House downplays Iraq missing weapons report," Chicago Sun-Times, June 4, 2005.
- Murray Waas,"Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers to Senate Intelligence Committee" National Journal, Oct. 27, 2005
- Murray Waas and Paul Singer, "Addington's Role in Cheney's Office Draws Fresh Attention," National Journal, Oct. 30, 2005
- Murray Waas,"Murray Waas: Key Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel," National Journal, November 30, 2005.
- Murray Waas,"Cheney Authorized Libby to Leak Classified Information," National Journal, February 9, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "What Bush Was Told About Iraq" National Journal, March 2, 2006.
- Muray Waas, "Cheney Authorized Leak of CIA Report,Libby Says," National Journal, April 14, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "Insulating Bush," National Journal, March 30, 2006.
- Shane Harris and Murray Waas, "Justice Department Probe Foiled" National Journal, May 25, 2006
- Katherine Shrader, "New Intel Report Reignites Iraq Arms Fight," Associated Press (Washington Post), June 22, 2006: "The newly declassified military intelligence report was released Wednesday by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte." Congressmen Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) and Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) "had urged him to release the report this week during congressional debates on Iraq."
- Joby Warrick, "Warnings on WMD 'Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says," Washington Post, June 25, 2006.
- Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra, "Saddam's WMD. Why is our intelligence community holding back?" Opinion Journal, June 26, 2006.
- Scott Ritter, "Three Iraq Myths That Won't Quit," AlterNet, June 26, 2006.
- Kristin Roberts, "US forces have found some old Iraqi WMD, says general," Reuters (Boston Globe), June 29, 2006.
- Michael Scherer, "The GOP's Clorox bombshell. House Republicans are trumpeting a WMD 'discovery.' But experts say Saddam's dusty weapons are less toxic than the pesticides under your sink," Salon, June 30, 2006.
- Colin Brown and Andy McSmith, "Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war," The Independent (UK), December 15, 2006.
- ArmsControlWonk.com: "All the stuff about WMD, intel and the national security bureaucracy."
- "weapons of mass destruction" in the Wikipedia. Note: This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. See the Wikipedia talk page for details.
- Let the Record Speak, TomPaine.com: Bush Administration Quotes from August 26, 2002 through May 30, 2003.
- Also see United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for documents and reports.
- Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs. U.S. Government White Paper, released February 13, 1998.
- Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, Monterey Institute of International Studies, September 2001.
- Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Assessment of the British Government, September 24, 2002.
- Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), October 2002.
- National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, December 2002.
- Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence Threat Assessments, 1992-2003.
- Jeffrey Richelson, ed., Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 80, December 20, 2002/Updated - February 26, 2003.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.
- WMD: U.S. Interdiction, Council on Foreign Relations' Update on Weapons of Mass Destruction, June 26, 2003.
- Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch Department for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations.
History of the U.S. Relationship With Saddam Hussein Prior to War
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "Bush Had Long History of Support Iraq Aid," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 24, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "U.S.Loans Indirectly Financed Iraq Military," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "U.S. Knew Arms Sales Broke Law, Pell Charges," Los Angeles Times, March 7, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "U.S. Gave Intelligence Information to Iraq Three Months Before Invasion," Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz,"Abuses in U.S. Aid to Iraqis Ignored: Bush Administration Pushed Trhough $1 Billion More in Assistance Despite Efforts of Kickbakcs and Evidence That Food May Have Been Traded for Arms," Los Angeles Times, March 22, 1992.
- Norman Kempster and Murray Waas, "U.S. Paying Off Bad Iraqi Loan," Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1992.
- Dean Baquet, "Documents Charge Iraqis Made Swap: U.S. Food for Arms," New York Times, April 27
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "Bush Tied to `86 Bid To Give Iraq Military Advice," Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "Assessment Shows CIA Miscalculated Saddam's Intent," Houston Chronicle, May 9, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "Assessment Shows CIA Miscalculated Saddam's Intent," Houston Chronicle, May 9, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas,"Bush Officials Defend Prewar Aid to Iraq," Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "Officials Investigating Whether U.S. Loans Helped Iraq Buy Arms," Los Angeles Times, May 30, 1992.
- Elaine Sciolino, "U.S. Reports A Stronger Saddam Hussein," New York Times, June 16, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "Testimony on Iraq Export List is Contradicted," Los Angeles Times, June 24, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "Special Counsel Sought to Probe U.S. Aid to Iraq,"Los Angeles Times, July 10, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "Iraq Got U.S. Technology After CIA Warned Baker," Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1992.
- Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas, "CIA Told White House of Iraqi Arms Exports," Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1992.
- Murray Waas and Douglas Frantz, "Jordan Gave Iraq Broad Military Assistance," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 9, 1992.
- Index of Articles, ""U.S. Military Aid to Iraq," Los Angeles Times, 1992-1994.
- Index of Articles, "U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Iraq," Los Angeles Times.