Captain's Quarters Blog

« Cosby Wasn't Just Speaking To Blacks | Main | It Depends -- Are We Trying A Celebrity? »

July 2, 2004
Poland: We Found WMD, Bought It Ahead Of Terrorists

More evidence that the WMD we believed existed in Iraq still waits to be discovered, this time from the Poles patrolling in southern Iraq. The AP and the BBC report that the head of Polish military intelligence revealed that Polish troops outbid terrorists for rockets laden with chemical weapons:

Terrorists may have been close to obtaining munitions containing the deadly nerve agent cyclosarin that Polish soldiers recovered last month in Iraq, the head of Poland's military intelligence said Friday. Polish troops had been searching for munitions as part of their regular mission in south-central Iraq when they were told by an informant in May that terrorists had made a bid to buy the chemical weapons, which date back to Saddam Hussein's war with Iran in the 1980s, Gen. Marek Dukaczewski told reporters in Warsaw.

"We were mortified by the information that terrorists were looking for these warheads and offered $5,000 apiece," Dukaczewski said. "An attack with such weapons would be hard to imagine. All of our activity was accelerated at appropriating these warheads."

The BBC report adds this:

The general said the ammunition had been buried in order to avoid it being discovered by UN weapons inspectors.

Poland purchased seventeen rockets and two mortar shells containing cyclosarin, a derivative of the notorious nerve agent that is five times more powerful than its more well-known cousin. The Poles say the weapons came from a storage bunker in their sector, although they refused to get more specific.

This development coincides with General Richard Meyers's statement during his interview last night with Hugh Hewitt (transcript here), where the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs affirmed Donald Rumsfeld's announcement that the number of chemical weapons found has increased:

Hewitt: General Myers, yesterday Secretary Rumsfeld said and Vice President Cheney said it the week before that more warheads containing saran or mustard gas have been discovered in Iraq. Have you seen those reports?

General Myers: Right. I think there were 16 or 17 warheads that were discovered and has been confirmed that they contained both saran, the nerve agent saran and mustard gas and now they are looking the shells to try and determine their age and perhaps where they originated. So, that work is ongoing and I expect further reporting on that.

(By the way, this was a terrific interview -- I listened to it twice last night, and you should read the entire transcript.)

It's now obvious that Saddam held onto his chemical weapons despite all claims that they had been destroyed after the first Gulf War, which demonstrates the folly of UNSCOM inspections. They had twelve years to find this stuff, since the Iraqis continually failed to prove that they destroyed them. Now we know why. Perhaps he manufactured nothing new since then, although I highly doubt that, but his standing inventory provided enough killing power to make Saddam a highly dangerous man.

How much WMD do we need to prove the point? One of these shells would be enough to kill most of the people in my town, and 17 of them would be more than enough to wipe out any American urban center. The Poles worried about their use in Baghdad, but I suspect that had the terrorists made the buy first, they had plans for the weapons in Tel Aviv or Washington, DC.

UPDATE: Sorry, guys, but Miles's prediction wins out. The two warheads that tested positive for cyclosarin had degraded to the point where they represented no grave threat, according to this statement which the AP quotes from "multinational forces" in Baghdad:

"Those 16 rounds were all empty and tested negative for any type of chemicals," it said.

Two other warheads found in mid-June were found to contain an insignificant amount of sarin gas. The armaments were left over from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the statement said.

"Due to the deteriorated state of the rounds and small quantity of remaining agent, these rounds were determined to have limited to no impact if used by insurgents against coalition forces."

No danger -- but also a demonstration that they continued to remain in Saddam's arsenal long after they were supposed to be destroyed.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 2, 2004 12:37 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!