They say when it rains, it pours. The WaPo has a new scoop on the old ‘mobile bioweapons labs’ story:
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”
Minor point of interest, it took me about ten minutes to figure out that any pathogens grown in the “mobile labs” from the leaked photos would have mostly killed the people in and around the trailers. That is if you can somehow manage to maintain the tanks to within a few tenths of a degree of human body temperature, which the trailers obviously could not. That led to an entertaining exchange with a message-board wingnut who insisted that Iraq parked the trailers in secret climate-controlled warehouses kept within a few tenths of 37 celsius (yes, in the desert). Some people will. not. let. go. of that precious morphine lever.
Speaking of people wanting something so badly to be true that reality takes a backseat,
…But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped “secret” and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war.
Sadly I am neither shocked nor surprised.