From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.The chemical weapons found included mustard gas and sarin nerve gas. Remember too, that this is after many facilities and depots were left unguarded for weeks following the invasion.
Just for a brief flashback:
The Guardian, Oct. 7, 2004, under the headline of "There were no weapons of mass destructionin Iraq," reported that after investigating 1,700 sites, inspectors concluded that Saddam Hussein had destroyed his chemical weapons inventory.
The Washington Post, Oct. 7, 2004: In an editorial titled "Weapons That Weren't There," the editorial board wrote: "THE NEW REPORT from the Iraq Survey Group has confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt what most people have assumed for the past year: At the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion, Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, and most of its programs to produce them were dormant."
NBC News, April 25, 2005, reported that the CIA had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. According to the article:
In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.Salon, September 6, 2007, reported under the headline of "Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction," that:
On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam’s inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.Huffington Post, June 21, 2012: In an article entitled "Yes, Iraq Definitely Had WMD, Vast Majority Of Polled Republicans Insist," the author belittles conservatives who believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, stating: "There is no reality-based argument that Iraq actually had WMD, after extensive searches found none, but this is hardly the first time many Americans have been certain of something that simply wasn't true."
Time Magazine, Sept. 6, 2012: "Iraq: How the CIA Says It Blew It on Saddam’s WMD."
The Telegraph, March 18, 2013, ran the headline: "Iraq war: the greatest intelligence failure in living memory." (Actually, I think Obama is the greatest intelligence failure in living memory, but that is a different topic). That article began: "Much of the key intelligence that was used to justify the war was based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies - and as subsequent investigations showed, it was dramatically wrong. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."
Think Progress, July 10, 2014, ran the headline: "No, There Are Still No WMDs In Iraq." This article swore up and down that any remnants of weapons found by ISIS were degraded and unusable.
So, the CIA's weapon inspector was either incompetent or lying. And the media wanted to believe so bad that Bush was wrong that it didn't even investigate the story.