June 22, 2006
Senator Rick Santorum, together with Congressman Peter Hoekstra, announced
today that newly declassified evidence proves the existence of Weapons
of Mass Destruction in Iraq after the 2003 Iraq invasion. Senator
Santorum went on the Senate floor and touted this "new" information.
Finally here was proof that George W Bush’s little adventure in Iraq
was not totally pointless.
Senator Santorum’s press release on the subject states in part:
"The information released today proves that weapons of mass
destruction are, in fact, in Iraq," said Senator Santorum. "It is
essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are
in Iraq. I will continue to advocate for the complete declassification
of this report so we can more fully understand the complete WMD picture
The following are the six key points contained in the unclassified overview:
• Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500
weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.
• Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War
chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions
are assessed to still exist.
• Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black
market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would
have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use
outside Iraq cannot be ruled out.
• The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.
• The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many
factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and
environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time,
chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.
• It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.
Either Senator Santorum is an idiot or he thinks the
American public are idiots - or both. After his stunning revelations it
made some sense to go back and review three crucial reports on the
subject of Iraq’s WMD. These are:
Senator Santorum claims that the discovery of pre-1991 chemical
weapons munitions proves Iraq had WMD. Here is what Volume III of the
Duelfer Report, entitled Iraq’s Chemical Warfare Program, had to say about these munitions in its key findings:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical
munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally
destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991.
There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of
chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s
desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of
force against it should WMD be discovered.
- The scale of the Iraqi conventional munitions stockpile, among
other factors, precluded an examination of the entire stockpile;
however, ISG inspected sites judged most likely associated with
possible storage or deployment of chemical weapons.
The Duelfer Report goes on to state:
Disposition of CW Munitions Post-1991
ISG expended considerable time and effort investigating
longstanding Iraqi assertions about the fate of CW munitions known to
have been in Baghdad’s possession during the Gulf war. We believe the
vast majority of these munitions were destroyed, but questions remain
concerning hundreds of CW munitions.
Since May 2004, ISG has recovered dozens of additional chemical
munitions, including artillery rounds, rockets and a binary Sarin
artillery projectile (see Figure 5).
In each case, the recovered munitions appear to have been part of the
pre-1991 Gulf war stocks, but we can neither determine if the munitions
were declared to the UN or if, as required by the UN SCR 687, Iraq
attempted to destroy them. (See Annex F.)
- The most significant recovered munitions was a 152mm binary Sarin
artillery projectile which insurgents had attempted to use as an
improvised explosive device.
- ISG has also recovered 155mm chemical rounds and 122mm artillery rockets which we judge came from abandoned Regime stocks.
Iraq Unilateral Weapons Destruction in 1991
Iraq completed the destruction of its pre-1991 stockpile of CW by
the end of 1991, with most items destroyed in July of that year. ISG
judges that Iraq destroyed almost all prohibited weapons at that time.
- ISG has obtained no evidence that contradicts our assessment that
the Iraqis destroyed most of their hidden stockpile, although we
recovered a small number of pre-1991 chemical munitions in early to mid
These remaining pre-1991 weapons either escaped destruction in 1991 or suffered only partial damage. More may be found in the months and years ahead. [Emphasis added by me.]
The March 2005 Addendum to the Duelfer Report lays the findings out even more clearly:
ISG assesses that Iraq and Coalition Forces will
continue to discover small numbers of degraded chemical weapons, which
the former Regime mislaid or improperly destroyed prior to 1991. ISG
believes the bulk of these weapons were likely abandoned, forgotten and
lost during the Iran-Iraq war because tens of thousands of CW munitions
were forward deployed along frequently and rapidly shifting
- All but two of the chemical weapons discovered since OIF were found
in southern Iraq where the majority of CW munitions were used against
Iran in the Iran-Iraq war.
- As the Coalition destroys the thousands of conventional munitions
at depots around the country the possibility exists that pre-1991
vintage chemical rounds could be found mixed in with conventional
munitions at these locations.
- ISG identified 43 bunkers and depots where the Coalition is in the
process of destroying conventional munitions and that were suspected of
being associated with the pre-1991 WMD programs.
However, ISG believes that any remaining chemical
munitions in Iraq do not pose a militarily significant threat to
Coalition Forces because the agent and munitions are degraded and there
are not enough extant weapons to cause mass casualties.
Finally, the Silberman-Robb Commission concluded that Iraq had no chemical weapons capability and what remained were discarded pre-1991 munitions:
The Iraq Survey Group’s findings undermined
both the Intelligence Community’s assessments about Iraq’s pre-war CW
program and, indeed, the very fundamental assumptions upon which those
assessments were based. The ISG concluded–contrary to the Intelligence
Community’s pre-war assessments–that Iraq had actually unilaterally
destroyed its undeclared CW stockpile in 1991 and that there were no
credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of CW thereafter.
Iraq had not regained its pre-1991 CW technical sophistication or
production capabilities prior to the war. Further, pre-war concerns of
Iraqi plans to use CW if Coalition forces crossed certain defensive
"red lines" were groundless; the "red lines" referred to conventional
military planning only. Finally, the only CW the Iraq Survey Group
recovered were weapons manufactured before the first Gulf War; the ISG
concluded that, after 1991, Iraq maintained only small, covert labs to
research chemicals and poisons, primarily for intelligence operations.
Overall, although the vast majority of CW
munitions had been destroyed, the Iraq Survey Group recognized that
questions remained relating to the disposition of hundreds of pre-1991
CW munitions. Still, given that, of the dozens of CW munitions that the
ISG discovered, all had been manufactured before 1991, the Intelligence
Community’s 2002 assessments that Iraq had restarted its CW program
turned out to have been seriously off the mark.
Senator Santorum, it seems, failed to read
either the ISG reports or the Silberman-Robb Commission reports. If he
had, he would have realized that the "chemical weapons" he is touting
are old, ineffective munitions manufactured before 1991 that had been
discarded or partially destroyed. Furthermore, these munitions pose no
proliferation threat. It should however surprise no one that the
Senator would leap to such conclusions. This is exactly the mentality
that got us into the Iraq war in the first place. Senator Santorum and
the Bush Administration claimed that Iraq had WMD and used any scrap of
intelligence to try to justify the case for war. It appears that
Senator Santorum has not yet learned the lessons of the Iraq war - that
fixing the intelligence around the policy is a dangerous path to follow.
We as a country are being ill served by such
ignorant behavior from our Senators and our Congressmen. The only
question really is whether Senator Santorum is willfully misleading the
public or whether he really is this stupid.