Via such worthies as Captain’s Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, and FoxNews.com comes the death knell announcement for all those folks yelling that Hussein had no WMD when we arrived. Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Pete Hoekstra held a press conference today where the Senator referenced the declassified portion of a National Ground Intelligence Center report. The report has some astonishing information:
- 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.
(Emphasis mine.) This is a completely different story than that put forth in the press, that US and Iraqi forces have found chemical shells but in only “onesie, twosie” fashion. The impression has been that we’ve found a dozen or so such shells, not 500 of them. That’s a helluva lot more than can be simply dismissed as bad bookkeeping. The agreement Hussein made with the Coalition at the end of the Gulf War – and to the multitude of UN officials since – was that he was responsible for not only destroying and verifying the WMDs he possessed but also that he was to prove it.
Safe to say now that he… er… failed to keep up his end of the deal.
So, we can now put to rest the fiction that Saddam had no WMDs available to him when his defiance triggered the invasion in 2003. The more important point from my perspective is this: why did the White House keep this a secret for so long? It does nothing but bolster the case for the invasion to begin with and would be seen as a supportable factor by a fair chunk of the American public. Why let the opposition continue to snipe away when the proof that they were all full of crap was right there at hand?
This story bears close watching and if I get more, I’ll pass it along. Be sure to check out Michelle Malkin as well. She’s got good links.