Despite years of accusing former President George W. Bush of lying about WMDs in Iraq, a new report from the New York Times shows that the CIA had a secret purchasing program to buy chemical weapons from a secret Iraqi seller to ensure that they did not end up into the wrong hands.
The program, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and lasted through 2006, and was deemed a nonproliferation success. The CIA is believed to have acquired and destroyed up-to 400 Borak rockets, which is an internationally condemned chemical weapon that Saddam Hussein produced in the 1980s but were unaccounted for in the early 1990s after the Persian Gulf war, despite an agreement mandating Saddam verifiably destroy them.
Details of the program remain classified and the CIA has declined to comment, but the discovery of this program is significant because for years anti-war protesters and liberal politicians claimed that the American People were lied to about the reasons of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, stating that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
As Ed Morrissey notes over at Hot Air, the debate about WMDs in Iraq is far more nuanced than the hackneyed “Bush lied” response. Sarin-filled chemical weapons were found, although at this point, it doesn’t seem as though these weapons were new procurements — just older ones that Saddam was trying to conceal from UN investigators, which was still a violation of the 1991 cease-fire agreement he had signed.
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