Opinion

Obama Foreign Policy Allows ISIS To Acquire WMDs

Justin Haskins Editor, The Heartland Institute

Media bias, disaster in the Middle East, and a befuddled White House. It’s just another day in the Obama administration.

In Wednesday’s New York Times, veteran reporter C.J. Chivers set the Internet ablaze with his eight-part investigative report that alleges that from 2004­–2011, the American military in Iraq encountered massive troves of dangerous chemical weapons but were required to remain silent on the important discoveries, as well as the injuries multiple soldiers endured while in their presence.

Chivers, citing multiple sources in the military, says that because the weapons found were produced prior to 1991, “[t]he discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.”

Chivers says that because President George W. Bush based his support for an invasion, at least in part, on Saddam Hussein’s alleged efforts to produce new chemical and biological weapons, any evidence that stood in the way of that narrative had to be silenced.

Additionally, in a majority of cases where soldiers were injured by chemical weapons, “the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies,” Chivers wrote, adding to the embarrassment the Bush administration faced regarding the invasion.

While these allegations against President Bush are important and deserve to be thoroughly investigated, both Chivers’ piece and The Times’ op-ed that ran today, “A Deadly Legacy in Iraq,” curiously neglect to mention a single critical word about the current president, despite describing, in vivid detail, the story of American soldiers discovering hundreds of deadly mustard rounds at an Iraqi security compound in 2010 or early 2011, when Barack Obama had been president for over a year.

For all of Chivers’ efforts to paint a picture of Bush as a malevolent, selfish man hell-bent on fighting a war in Iraq at any cost, there’s no mention of Obama’s deliberate concealment of the discovered chemical weapons or any speculation provided for why Obama would deliberately neglect to explain to the American people that weapons of mass destruction did actually exist in Iraq, despite what he, Hillary Clinton, and virtually all of the Democratic Party alleged throughout the mid to late 2000s.

“Bush lied, people died.” Remember?

If George W. Bush misled the American people in a foolish attempt to keep his failed narrative afloat, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of his administration did the same – only this time without any criticism from The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media reporting on this story.

But even more important than the blatant attempts by both the Bush and Obama administrations to protect their reputations and further their political agendas is the reality that Obama pulled American forces out of Iraq without destroying the weapons of mass destruction they knew existed – weapons that are now in the hands of the radical Islamic State (ISIS), which controls “much of the territory where the weapons were found,” according to the Times op-ed.

The failure of the Iraqi military to defend itself against a ragtag, makeshift army of radicals is proof that Obama’s abandonment of Iraq was irresponsible and motivated by a desire to appease his hard-left, anti-war base. But as foolish as it was to leave Iraq in the hands of a military that was clearly incapable of defending itself, that decision is nothing compared to absurdity of leaving behind thousands of chemical weapons that could potentially be used against American soldiers or innocent civilians.

U.S. government officials claim the abandoned weapons likely do not pose a threat, but as Chivers himself reported, “nearly a decade of wartime experience showed that old Iraqi chemical munitions often remained dangerous when repurposed for local attacks in makeshift bombs, as insurgents did starting by 2004.”

A recent report by Fox News’ Paul Alster may confirm those fears, as photos from Iraq indicate that ISIS may be using chemical weapons on Kurdish fighters. Alster additionally suggests that ISIS fighters have seized the Muthanna facility, where “more than 2,500 degraded chemical rockets contaminated with deadly mustard gas” were held prior to the Iraqi military’s retreat from the region.

Iraq’s government was supposed to have destroyed the weapons in accordance with the Convention on Chemical Weapons, but, of course, they never did and the Obama administration, it appears, never pressed the issue.

Add this massive failure in foreign policy to the long list of irresponsible and deadly decisions made by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of his cabinet members and advisors in the White House. What a complete disaster.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is an author, blogger, and an editor of publications at The Heartland Institute, a leading free-market think tank based out of Chicago, IL. You can follow him @TheNewRevere or visit his personal site online at http://traskhaskins.com/.