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Rick Santorum, WMD Hunter

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 (...) 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...


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Rick Santorum, WMD Hunter



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 inside Iraq."

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 2004.

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 battlefronts.

  • 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.

:: Article nr. 24154 sent on 23-jun-2006 02:46 ECT


Link: www.docstrangelove.com/2006/06/22/rick-santorum-wmd-hunter/

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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