Santorum: Military has found 500 chemical munitions shells in Iraq (Video added)

posted at 5:45 pm on June 21, 2006 by Allahpundit

**Video from Hannity & Colmes is here.**

He’s reading from a document about it right now with Pete Hoekstra by his side. The shells allegedly contained degraded mustard or sarin gas. He says they believe there are other shells inside the country that haven’t been found yet.

WMD is WMD, but finding a shell here and there when Iran’s about to get the bomb next door leaves me somewhat … underwhelmed.

Update: Actually, is that true? “WMD is WMD”? The knock on Ron Suskind’s “mubtakkar of death” is that, as scary as it sounds, it wouldn’t kill any more people inside a subway car than a conventional bomb would. Or a small-arms attack, possibly. Are chemical shells any scarier than, say, grenades? They have a lot more political value, obviously.

Update: And when I say political value, I don’t mean just for Bush. Santorum’s re-election bid is on life support, and of course there’s a debate raging on the Senate floor about the war right now. I’ve been meaning to write about it but don’t have much to say except that it’s entertaining to watch Democrats trying to figure out how defeatist is too defeatist for purposes of getting re-elected.

Update: A commentator I respect e-mails with a most excellent question indeed:

how can you fail to cheer the revelation about the wmds in iraq? and why haven’t you asked the next question? how long has this information been in the hands of the intel community? why haven’t we heard about this before?

it’s quite an interesting story, i think we will discover.

See-Dubya agrees. Captain Ed is already weighing the political fallout.

Update: I’ve got the video of Santorum via Fox but it’s going to take me awhile to get it uploaded, unfortunately. (Damned Tivo.) It should be up by 8 p.m. EST if you’ll bear with me.

Update: CNS News reports on Santorum’s press conference.

Update: Austin Bay comments:

Artillery rounds are tactical weapons–but nerve gas is still nerve gas and it puzzles me as to why this information took so long to release.

Saddam used WMD and once the Desert Storm santions were lifted I believe he intended to reconstitute his programs. To believe otherwise about Saddam is to put you in league with goofs like Michael Moore and George Galloway.

Update: Raw Story is covering this, too.

Update: Alex C. of Santorum Blog e-mails to say that the Senator has issued a press release on the chemical shells.

Update: As promised, here’s video of the press conference. Santorum’s supposedly going to be on Hannity & Colmes tonight; we’ll have video of that too if anything interesting is said.

Update: The document Santorum read from during the presser is available for download here in PDF form. Hugh Hewitt had Santorum on this afternoon and says the transcript should soon be up at Radioblogger.

Update: Austin Bay says it’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Santorum.


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Terlizzi999 on June 21, 2006 at 11:40 PM

In 1997, Charles Deulfer showed a video in Chicago showing the UNSCOM inspection team uncovering 122mm shells in Iraq in (I believe) 1994. They drilled into the shell to check it’s contents, and the Sarin in it was still hazardous then. UNSCOM used caustic hydrolysis to dispose of any munitions found. UNSCOM, in their reports to the UN, was aware of 47,000 filled WMD munitions. Moonbats can go to UN web site and do a little search to pull up the reports if they like.
It certainly is believable more would be found when dealing with munitions that high in number.

The previous mention (prior to this latest announcement) of any finding of WMD in Iraq was of three artillery shells with only TRACES of Sarin on them.

I seem to remember news articles of WWII mustard shells being found buried in Europe, and nobody ever considered them to be less hazardous due to time.

From the first Gulf War, and the munitions blown at Khamisiyah, medical research has since found that exposure to chemical agents below the level known to cause immediate health effects, is still damaging to the person exposed.

A news article of a couple days ago stated the US military cleared around 200 insurgents from around Muthanna State Establishment, which was a known, massive chemical weapons factory in Iraq. I wonder what will be uncovered there in the coming weeks.

Speaking of news articles, the first I see of this is on Worldnetdaily, so I immediately went to Michelle’s blog, then here. So far, no news at all on any other news site, including Yahoo.

Are the moonbats trying to figure how to spin this?

91Veteran on June 21, 2006 at 11:42 PM

It’s kinda like Monty Python on cannibalism in the Royal Navy. “May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there are no WMD in Iraq. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount.”

Jobius on June 21, 2006 at 11:57 PM

Terlizzi999, on what really matters in life, there is nothing ‘progressive’ about the Left, except taxes and paralysis.

This is what they’d like ‘progressive’ to mean when describing themselves “a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties”. Some examples:

- civil liberties for women in Afghanistan and Iraq?
- civil liberties for all in the Arabic world?
- civil liberties and freedom in any current or former communist country?
- civil liberties and freedom in Venezuella today?
- tolerance for religion?
- true freedom of speech?

Entelechy on June 22, 2006 at 12:32 AM

The question that liberals are asking themselves today is, What will we do if we find out more wepons have been discovered? This is an election year, and information like that could kill us.

Murta will have the answer. He will say we must get our troops out because the recently found WMD is hazardous to the troops health. ;o)

IMHO, I think the WMD question will get much more interesting as more answers become declassified.

DannoJyd on June 22, 2006 at 12:37 AM

Clearly, the LLL won’t be affected by this. They’ll just write it off as a hoax/conspiracy, just ignor it all together, or engage in their other favorite passtime- goal post shifting.
But a possibly important side effect of the disclosure is that it demonstrates that we had accurate intell leading into Iraq- something that could come in handy if we’re going to get off our duffs and solve concerning nuclear proliferation and NK and Iran.

kaseiryu on June 22, 2006 at 12:44 AM

Testing, testing. No kidding, I AM just testing.

james hooker on June 22, 2006 at 4:33 AM

The thing that really gets me is that this is not really new information. The declassified report may present it a little more precisely, and provide a bit more provenance….

But for news junkies like me, (and many of the rest of you seeing this), we have been aware of this for YEARS. Every few months we have read reports of 1, 10, 25, 75 etc. shells containing mustard, sarin or other nerve agents or residue thereof being found by coalition troops.

These reports have, of course, been widely ignored by the “Main Stream Media” but they have been available on the more conservative internet news sites/forums.

So, if people are completely surprised by this, they just haven’t been paying attention.

LegendHasIt on June 22, 2006 at 5:58 AM

Agree… and what about “Libya’s” nuclear weapons program? The one with 300 Iraqi nuclear scientists on it? The one that was on target for delivery of two nuclear devices around mid-2004 when Italian intelligence uncovered vital clues?

Or the reports from DEBKAfile about Iraq and Syria having merged their chem and bio weapons programs in the year 2000?

It’s always baffled me that even the “right wing” – in defense of their position – has failed to see the larger picture. We are facing what I call “WMD 2.0″, which is Arab collaboration on WMD projects. The entire debate around whether “Iraq had WMD” was always framed in the context of WMD 1.0.

Sure, we considered “collaboration” in the context of WMD 1.0; we asked whether A.Q. Khan or North Korea may have helped Libya, or Iraq, or another Arab state on “its” weapons project. But we never asked whether two or more Arab governments were jointly developing weapons that they would all agree to share according to a precise timetable.

In WMD 2.0, “it’s the collaboration, stupid…”

Hilarious DannoJyd :-)

RD on June 22, 2006 at 6:36 AM

I thought of this earlier, but forgot to include it in my post above:

My explanation of why most of the nasty stuff in this report is older than what one might expect, is because it IS mostly old stuff, and just wasn’t in the current (2002-2003) inventories kept by the Iraqis, and/or considered important enough to get shipped out to Syria or back to Russia in the last few days prior to the invasion.

The stuff we have found is just “moldy leftovers, lost in the back of the ‘fridge”, not the fresh meat that went back to the butchers when they realized that the power was about to go out.

LegendHasIt on June 22, 2006 at 7:00 AM

Hundreds of WMDs are found. But, oh, yeah, they’re “old and rusty.” And the Dems already have the soundbite: “Those aren’t the weapons we went to war for.”

And no one is saying that they are.

We went to war for various reasons, as Ann Coulter pointed out on H&C. She also quipped that ‘if [these weapons] are so harmless, let’s bury them in a liberals’ backyard.’

Not a bad idea.

And will the real John Murtha please stand up…

California Conservative on June 22, 2006 at 8:27 AM

Bringing up the Iraq/Libiya/Syria angle here.
But in the 6-8 months before we invaded, while Bush went to the UN, didn’t Hussain have several convoys headed to Syria?
As I understood the reports then, no one knows what was in the convoys, but WMD’s and mobile chemical weapon factories were suggested.

Wyrd on June 22, 2006 at 9:20 AM

But in the 6-8 months before we invaded, while Bush went to the UN, didn’t Hussain have several convoys headed to Syria?

So we’re told. Also, Gen Georges Sada tells us saddam was loading passenger jets stripped of seats with all manner of nasty, banned things and sending them to Syria. Then let’s not forget that because Turkey refused to let us attack from the north, we had to get all the way across Iraq before we could even think of stopping anything that might be leaving for Syria while we were headed in.

Why in the world would he leave the good stuff laying around for us to find?

Pablo on June 22, 2006 at 9:30 AM

This argument is like soooooooo 2003.

As someone noted above, all of this is irrelevent: as soon as Saddam violated the post-1991 cease fire agreement and any of the 17 U.N. resolutions in the next 12 years (especially 1441 – the final resolution calling for “serious consequences”), war was fully justified.

The first time he fired at a coalition aircraft illegally, we could have been justified in invading.

As for the WMDs – of COURSE he had them. He used them. How much remains in the country, or may have been spirited off to Syria or Iran, is of academic interest I suppose, but irrelevent to the argument for war.

He didn’t allow inspections to re-commence. That’s all that matters. He violated the resolutions. Period. End of story.

I assume we’ll be finding at least small quantities of WMDs for years to come. I don’t much care. I know why we went to war and why it was right.

And if we find a carbon copy of the Enola Gay sitting in a hangar loaded for bear, liberals still won’t admit they were wrong.

And when that first WMD is triggered in the U.S. – and it will happen – do you think liberals will admit they were wrong? Of course not. They’ll blame Bush for not doing more.

Like I said … its all 2003 redux. None of it matters.

Professor Blather on June 22, 2006 at 9:33 AM

Hey, slightly off topic, but I noted BetterOffBlue doing her usual song and dance in this thread … and I was wondering … did she ever cough up the details of her impressive military record?

I think I’ve now asked for the 48th time. Anyone? Beuller?

Professor Blather on June 22, 2006 at 9:36 AM

15 of those shells, if exploded in a crowed area ( market, for example), could kill 1000 to 2000 people.

These 500 shells, if fall into the terrorists’ hands, could be extremely threatening to our troops at the base camps.

easy87us on June 22, 2006 at 9:39 AM

Sure enough, the left remains in denial. Here’s a dailykos comment…

At http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/6/21/224455/881

It starts…

“PA-Sen: Santorum Makes Shit Up”

Interestingly enough, they credit Hot Air as the 1st accurate report (see: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/6/21/185253/434)

Poster “smintheus” notes: “As several posters report, who ventured into right blogistan and returned intact, even some of the wingnuts aren’t buying the little Ricky show. It was obvious from the start that this “news” was going to be partisan hackery.”

The take on the left is that a WMD first has to be a WEAPON, and that these shells were no longer weapons, because they were not in “usable condition.” That’s their story and they’re sticking to it!

I’m no expert on WMD, so I have no idea what the expected “shelf life” of an Iraqi WMD is. However, there is an article at http://www.britainusa.com/iraq/other_show.asp?Sarticletype=2&other_ID=493 that states:

Chemical weapons, particularly the skin blister agent “mustard”, have a notoriously long shelf life and indeed such shells derived from the first world war continue to be discovered and require destruction and disposal. US and Russian weapons currently being destroyed by OPCW that were manufactured years ago and are predicted to have a residual shelf life of at least a further ten years.

In Iraq shells containing mustard were discovered in August 1997, which were manufactured in the late 1980s, and were found to contain mustard of 98% purity.

Nerve agents have a considerably shorter “shelf life” although certain “stabilisers” will prolong their storage and Iraq has not provided details to provide a technical assessment of their durability.

Iraq has a break out capability and as such the shelf life is irrelevant.

Iraq has the expertise, knowledge and experience to produce militarily significant quantities of VX, sarin, tabun and mustard of exceptional purity.

While some of these shells may not be “like new,” clearly they are still dangerous, especially the mustard ones.

But this just begs the question: Saddam stated that he destroyed them after the Gulf War — and their existance is proof that he didn’t. Hence the UN Security Council Resolutions were not complied with, and Saddam was in violation. And our invasion remains justified.

Both Drs. Pat Santy and Charles Krauthhamer say that the paranoia that afflicts the moonbats is not affected or tempered in any way by reason much less evidence that they are wrong.

So the exist in denial, and still tell their lies.

georgej on June 22, 2006 at 10:06 AM

Ricky is behind by 18 points in Pa. Desperate times…..

honora on June 22, 2006 at 12:26 PM

Point 1: As others have mentioned, this will have no effect on the libs.

Point 2: As to whether Chemical weapons can kill more people than a bomb, the amount of people killed is determined by more factors than just the agent used. Also, the reason chemical and biological agents are such a horror is not because of the number of they kill in one application, it’s about the horrific way they kill people. The description of death by VX gas given by Nicolas Cage in the movie “The Rock” is a pretty accurate description. Victims will literally convulse so hard that they break their own spine. Deaths caused by these agents are at least gruesome. Now, you can argue the relevance of gruesomeness to how “bad” a weapon is if you want, but that’s where the stigma with chemical and biological weapons comes from.

Point 3: The war in Iraq was justified with or without chemical weapons.

Point 4: There have been documents found suggesting the Russians moved large amounts of weaponary from Iraq prior to the last invasion.

fmragtops on June 22, 2006 at 2:34 PM

Everytime I hear someone saying how poison gases are not as dangerous as presented because they disperse or are diverted by the wind I see those photos of dead Kurds. It worked pretty well for them.

I also remember a couple accidents I had in Chem labs with very small amounts of much less lethal gases. I give it a lot of respect. Skin. Eyes. Lungs. So much immediate threat. Then, brain damage, dna damage, cancers.

If gases unpredictably disperse depending on air flows why could they not also be more lethal than expected? Of course, they can. With these poisons, it doesn’t take much to ruin you. My grandfather served in WWI. My grandparents talked about soldiers who were exposed to mustard gas. They said a lot of them were ‘nuts’ after one exposure. Permanently.

One shell makes a war criminal IMHO. They are too easy to use if the perp doesnt care about his own health.

entagor on June 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM

Wow. I’m away from the computer all day and this happens…
Well, it won’t be enough for the moonbat crowd- I can hear them now- “what, only 500 shells? Please. Bush lied, people died.”

Abigail Adams on June 22, 2006 at 7:05 PM

Regarding mustard gas exposure, I believe exposure to it also increases ones chance of developing cancer….years later.

Saddam had all kinds of nasty stuff, including:

5,000 sarin-filled 122mm rockets
44,500 liters of GB/GF
120 liters of GB
5,000 liters of D4
1,100 liters of dichlorethane
16.5 tons of thiodiglycol
5.5 tons of mustard agent

This is only what the UNSCOM inspectors had evidence of. They had eveidence of a huge amount (tons) of additional precursor agents, but could not find them.

I believe Cheney may have said something related to satellite photos showing convoys of trucks heading to Syria. Other reports on this state they went all the way to the Bekka Valley in Lebanon. Nice.

91Veteran on June 23, 2006 at 12:10 AM

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