Why haven't U.S. forces found Iraqi banned weapons? Because Saddam's government destroyed them, only days before the war began, according to New York Times' Judith Miller.A scientist "who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team" all this, Miller says. As proof, the man showed soliders barrels filled with "pre-cursors" to chemical weapons.The scientist alleges that "Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990's, and that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda."Explosive stuff. But there are some odd things about Miller's story, as Slate's Eric Umansky notes:
As part of the deal to report on the chemical-hunting unit, Miller agreed to submit a draft of her article "for a check by military officials." Miller says the officials, trying to protect the unnamed scientist from retribution from Saddam leftovers, requested that the names of the actual chemicals uncovered be stricken from the piece. The NYT agreed. That may have been the right move, but it's potentially an important omission: Aren't pre-cursors to some chemical weapons also the basic ingredients for things that have commercial applications? Also, while most of the article forwards some officers' contentions that they've found a smoking gun, the last paragraph quotes the division commander on the scene saying, "work must still be done to validate the information."