Chemic relief: Destroying our WMD should be easy
by Daniel Clark
Under the 1997 International Chemical Weapons Convention, all signatories, including the United States, were to destroy their stockpiles of chemical weapons by 2006. That deadline has since been put off until 2012, but the U.S. is now requesting a further extension, to the year 2023.
To this point, we've only eliminated approximately 41 percent of our Cold War-era chemical weapons stocks, while the Russians have only destroyed about 3 percent of their own. This is unacceptable. According to our inspectors, Saddam Hussein obliterated all of his chemical weapons in a moment of panic, after those same intrepid inspectors had gotten a little too close for comfort. If he can complete a project like that almost instantly, then there's no excuse for our taking 26 years to do the same.
Are we so filled with hubris that we won't admit that there are certain things our enemies can do better than we can? Saddam may be a genocidal maniac, but if he really destroyed all of his chemical weapons in 1991 -- as the Duelfer Report tells us he did -- then our global commitments demand that we at least try to learn his methods before asking for yet another 11 years. To that end, here are some suggestions on how to destroy chemical weapons quickly and inexpensively, in such a way that is sure to satisfy the international community.
* Point out that our weapons were produced before the fall of the Soviet Union. As everyone knows by now, any chemical weapons that existed before 1991 have lost all potency, and therefore cannot truly be said to be chemical weapons at all.
* Whenever anyone asks if we still have any of these weapons, just say that there's no "smoking gun." Since that is only a metaphor, it can never be proven to exist. Hence, we can conclude that there are no weapons of mass destruction, since no "smoking gun" has been found.
* Bury the weapons in small numbers throughout the desert. When they are dug up, we can say we'd forgotten we had them. Therefore, they do not exist.
* Deny responsibility for demonstrating that we've destroyed them. Instead, shift the burden of proof onto the UN, and then forbid their inspectors from entering the country.
* Define the term "weapon" as narrowly as possible. For example, a chemical agent is not itself a weapon of mass destruction, but only a "WMD component." It does not become a weapon until it is loaded into a warhead and mounted onto a missile.
* Allow UN inspectors into the country, and repeatedly try to bribe them. This will convince them of our sincerity when we tell them the weapons are all destroyed.
* Convince John Kerry, the French government, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that America has tons and tons of chemical weapons. They will later decide that the idiot Bush has fooled them again, thus demonstrating that we have no such weapons.
* Load as many chemical weapons as possible onto a military convoy, and then drive them to Medicine Hat. That way, the nonexistent weapons won't even be ours anymore.
* If we can find a female Italian journalist who is sympathetic to our cause, she can produce a document stating that we have chemical weapons, only to later reveal that it is a forgery. This will nullify all other documentation regarding our program.
* Round up lots of "dual use" equipment that is commonly used in the production of chemical weapons, and store it at our missile sites. It will be self-evident that this equipment is intended for innocent civilian purposes, like making medicine. Obviously, no government that was converting its missile sites for such noble, peaceful purposes would possess any weapons of mass destruction.
* Produce a tape in which one of the president's closest advisors brags about how completely we've fooled everyone about our chemical weapons program, and the president muses about how these weapons might be used against our enemies. Exactly how this is supposed to prove that we have no chemical weapons is kind of tough to explain, but you can't argue with the results. It works every time it's tried.
Unless we avail ourselves of these easy alternatives, the destruction of our chemical weapons is expected to take another 17 years, at an estimated cost of $32 billion. That's simply unjustifiable, when a clever media campaign can get the same job done practically overnight, and at a tiny fraction of the cost.
Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.