We Also Believe He Stockpiled Exploding Clowns on Unicycles

Does the thought of 12-year old degraded mustard gas make you tremble? You must be either Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) or Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).

Two Republicans lawmakers who insist Iraq may have had weapons of mass destruction are pointing to a newly declassified report.

The document said coalition forces have found 500 munitions in Iraq that contained degraded sarin or mustard nerve agents, produced before the 1991 Gulf War.
...
"I think it says the idea that the president lied -- that there were no weapons of mass destruction -- is false," Santorum told Channel 4 Action News. "The president didn't lie. The fact is there were weapons of mass destruction and that these weapons were dangerous in the hands of Saddam."

It took all of 60 seconds for the bloggers at Think Progress to debunk this, after heading right to the Iraq Survey Group Final Report.

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.

But the debunkers didn't even need to go that far. The stuff "found" by Santorum and Hoekstra is ridiculously small beer, compared to the weapons Saddam was allegedly stockpiling. President Bush in 2003 didn't warn of "500 munitions" of degraded weapons. He rattled the country with talk of "upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents" and "the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." And, of course, the administration stoked fears about Saddam seeking nuclear technology, which like the tons of poisons he could pass on to terrorists. Digging up a few hundred decade-old poisons and hyping them as "Saddam's WMD" is the definition of pathetic, and it's only fooling the usual suspects.

Another signal of how sad this is? Alan Colmes was able to punk Santorum.

COLMES: Senator, the Iraq Survey Group - let me go to the Duelfer Report - says Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there. And Jim Angle, who reported this for Fox News, quotes a Defense official who says these were pre-1991 weapons that could not have been fired as designed because they were already degraded. And the official went on to say that these are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war. So the chest-beating that the Republicans are doing tonight, seeking this as a justification, is not confirmed by the Defense Department.

SANTORUM: Well, I'd like to know who that Defense Department spokesperson is.

He's a guy who'll still have a job after November 2. Unlike some people.

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  • ||

    Santorum: Well, ahh, I'd like to know who that is. The fact of the matter is I'll wait and see what the actual Defense Department formally says or more importantly what the administration formally says.

    Is anyone else troubled that a senator considers what the administration says to be more important than what the DoD says?

  • ||

    We can't show Santorum the door soon enough to suit me.

  • ||

    500 20+ year old artillery shells! Thats all you got!? I work for the government and if I looked around the facility in which I work I bet I could find a stray pallet or two of these things! Congratulations George you've been vindicated and your champion in the senate may be the biggest idiot to serve since Dan Quayle!

  • ||

    Regardless of party, it's always a pleasure to watch a loudmouth wanker get their comeuppance.

    In the case of Santorum, it's particularly gratifying. How this guy so misjudged his cache with voters is both astonishing and (IMHO) doesn't happen enough.

  • ||

    The scary thing is, two years ago, this would have changed the American political landscape.

    The mainstream media would have fallen all over itself to break this amazing story. Every Republican officeholder in America would have stages a press event about it. The RNC would have bought airtime. The networks would have given Bush an hour on primetime to strut around in his flight suit again. Dick Cheney would have said that, if John Kerry had his way, sarin shells would be fired through your living room window, and everyone would have been ok with him saying that. Howard Dean would have pointed out the facts about the old shells and the ISG, and would have been denounced by every talking head on television. Again.

    This country lost its mind for about four years, and I'm glad to see it getting its act together.

  • ||

    I don't know about graft, or illicit affairs, or live boys or dead girls, but if Allen Colmes gets the better of you, you should just step down.

  • ||

    Jason, I was wondering how to word that but you got to me first. Kudos on the "live boy or dead girl" bit.

  • Dave W.||

    This country lost its mind for about four years, and I'm glad to see it getting its act together.

    So true. If you guys aren't careful I might come back. Was so sickened by this exact craziness.

  • ||

    Back when I was a Republican, and listened to Glenn Beck religiously, all those talk-show hosts were talking about how not only the United States administration, but other countries believed Saddam to be producing WMD's. I've never seen any evidence of this, but at the time that didn't matter to me. I was a Republican, therefore I was a Republican. Anyway, ever since I've been interested in looking into those claims. Anyone have know were to start?


    Mathias

  • ||

    "This country lost its mind for about four years, and I'm glad to see it getting its act together."

    This is a bit broad from where I'm sitting, but that's to be expected. There was a time, call it the discovery phase, when we needed to figure out what the WMD situation actually was. The discovery of mustard gas artillery during that phase probably would have been newsworthy. Time would march on and when nothing else turned up, a rational nation would get over it.

  • ||

    a rational nation

    Speaking of a bit broad...

  • ||

    Look, it's a well-known fact that when men are sprayed with degraded mustard gas they are overcome with an irresistable compulsion to engage in man-on-dog sex. (That's why it's called "degraded," duh!) We couldn't let Saddam continue to possess such a weapon that posed so great a threat to the American family and way of life.

  • dhex||

    "This country lost its mind for about four years, and I'm glad to see it getting its act together."

    don't worry joe; when a democratic president starts fucking up the brown people for reasons xyz, it'll lose its mind again, but everyone will have switched seats. it's kinda like a really fucking twisted version of musical chairs.

    remember when homegrown terrorism was the great right wing evil and we needed stuff like the effective death penalty act to combat it? those were the days. liberals were tough on terror and conservatives were worried about the constitutional implications.

    with all that bootlicking, it's a miracle anyone can actually taste their food.

  • Jennifer||

    Some friendly advice for the pro-Iraq War people: even if evidence comes to light supporting your cause, don't mention it until somebody other than Rick Batshit Santorum does.

    It's like, I oppose affirmative action, but I sure as hell wouldn't quote David Duke to demonstrate why I'm right. And people who support affirmative action generally know better than to quote Louis Farrakhan.

  • ||

    Is "Santorum" a weapon of mass destruction?

  • ||

    No, you need to delete the "m" from "mass".

  • ||

    dhex,
    Talking about fucking up brown people, I remember when it was said that we were fucking up the white people in Serbia and not the Black people in Rwanda because we were a racist nation. If we really cared about anything other than white people we would have sent the military to Rwanda and not just the Balkans.

  • dhex||

    i'm beginning to think of politics as another one of those sports i don't follow, like world cup soccer or the wnba.

  • ||

    Prediction: Santorum will not only be re-elected, he will be overwhelmingly re-elected.

  • ||

    Number 6, today's poll numbers out of PA show
    Casey now ahead of Sanitarium by 18%. His approval rating is down to 38%, even lower than the number of Pennsylvanians who say they back Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

  • Warren||

    dhex,
    That is very tempting. But in this game, the less you watch, the more it costs.

  • ||

    "Number 6, today's poll numbers out of PA show Casey now ahead of Sanitarium by 18%."

    Polls taken nearly five months before an election don't mean much, however. There will undoubtedly be a massive push by the RNC for Santorum starting in another 6 weeks or so.

  • ||

    SR-

    I think I'll help the RNC out with that massive push. I'll print up some t-shirts, drive to Philly, and sell them on the streets.

    "Dick Santorum--It's For The Children"

    And since PA is home to one of the world's great chocolate companies, maybe this slogan:

    "Fudge Packers For Dick Santorum"

    "Save The Dogs: Vote for Dick Santorum"

  • ||

    the other mark:

    That comment was in specific reponse to the claim that the country as a whole lost its mind for four years.

  • ||

    Anyone else notice the first hit that comes up when you plug Santorum into Google? Priceless.

  • ||

    For those who think that Rick Santorum will win re-election, there is a betting, er futures, website, www.tradesports.com, that allows you receive money for correctly predicting US Senate races. The Republican candidate is running 4-1 against. What a great money making opportunity, or, put more crassly, you can put your money where your mouth is.

  • dhex||

    "That is very tempting. But in this game, the less you watch, the more it costs."

    i'm beginning to think that matters very little since the only two teams on the field have very similar uniforms...

  • ||

    John Fund in today's Political Diary from the WSJ:

    The Pentagon is downplaying the weapons discovery because, in the words of a spokesman, they were "not the weapons we were looking for" when the 2003 invasion occurred.

    That explains everything. Saddam is a Sith Lord, and the Jedi Mind Trick hasn't worn off yet.

    Kevin

  • ||

    Please specify the amount of mustard gas we'd have to find to impress the staff of Reason magazine.

    Also, does mustard gas go bad?

  • ||


    Also, does mustard gas go bad?


    Of course. Have you ever eaten stale mustard ?

    The funny thing is that Duelfer wrote in his final report (the one in which he predicted we'd find such old shells) that Iraqi scammers sometimes put pesticides in shells and tried to pass them off was WMDs. I guess he should have warned us of US scammers as well, specially Senators facing re-election down 18%.

    Anyone wonder why Santorum couldn't get anyone from the Senate Intelligence Committee to get this information for him ? Maybe they're heartily embarrased by him ?

  • ||

    dhex,

    I find that while their uniforms are easily distinguished from one another, they often seem to be shooting at the same goal. And every time one of them scores, I feel it in what one might call a very uncomfortable place. No - not the backseat of a volkswagon, I'm afraid.

  • M. Simon||

    Not only did a lot of intel agencies believe Saddam had a fair amount of chemical weapons, that staunch anti-war liberal Kerry believed it too.

    But that was before he became anti-war. On this war. Back when 'Nam was in full swing John "I'm a war criminal" Kerry was for it. Before he was against it.

    At least the man is consistient.

    There is some evidence (circumstantial) that the Ruskies and Syrians spirited out of the country Saddam's Chemical warfare program before the shooting started.

    In any case Saddam was all set to restart his program once the Oil for Palaces scheme ended.

    And then there was Saddam's outsourcing of his nuke program to Libya. Which is a fact. Unlike the chemical WMD stuff which is in part speculation.

  • ||


    And then there was Saddam's outsourcing of his nuke program to Libya. Which is a fact.

    Where did this fact come from ? The same place the aluminum tubes, the Niger Yellowcake etc. came from ?

  • M. Simon||

    The fact came from Libya when after Saddam's fall and descent into a sewer Kdaffy decided he didn't want to be near the top of the list.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2107972/

    Google - Libya Saddam Nuclear - for more.

    Surprising that so many interested in the subject are so ill informed. So I am glad to be of service.

  • M. Simon||

    Also note that Joe Wilson reported that Saddam was probably shopping for yellow cake in Niger.

    How did you miss that one too?

    Good 'ole Joe. Says one thing to the CIA and another to the press.

  • ||


    http://slate.msn.com/id/2107972/


    Looked at it. Where does it say that Libya was helping Saddam with his nuclear program, as you say ?


    Google - Libya Saddam Nuclear - for more.


    Did so. I must confess to not finding any evidence of this "fact". All I see is vague speculation, even Powerline admits it to be such.

    I did go back to look at Duelfer's document. It doesn't contain this fascinating piece of information and mentions lIbya only in passing.


    Surprising that so many interested in the subject are so ill informed. So I am glad to be of service.

    To what ? To keep people ill-informed ?

  • ||

    Also note that Joe Wilson reported that Saddam was probably shopping for yellow cake in Niger.


    Maybe, but given that this information comes from you, allow me to be skeptical.

    Note what the Duelfer report says about this:

    "ISG has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991 or renewed indigenous production of such material�activities that we believe would have constituted an Iraqi effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program. "

    "So far, ISG has found only one offer of uranium to Baghdad since 1991�an approach Iraq appears to have turned down. In mid-May 2003, an ISG team found an Iraqi Embassy document in the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) headquarters related to an offer to sell yellowcake to Iraq. The document reveals that a Ugandan businessman approached the Iraqis with an offer to sell uranium, reportedly from the Congo. The Iraqi Embassy in Nairobi�in reporting this matter back to Baghdad on 20 May 2001�indicated it told the Ugandan that Iraq does not deal with these materials, explained the circumstances of sanctions, and said that Baghdad was not concerned about these matters right now."

  • ||


    Also note that Joe Wilson reported that Saddam was probably shopping for yellow cake in Niger.


    Maybe, but given that this information comes from you, allow me to be skeptical.

    Note what the Duelfer report says about this:

    "ISG has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991 or renewed indigenous production of such material�activities that we believe would have constituted an Iraqi effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program. "

    "So far, ISG has found only one offer of uranium to Baghdad since 1991�an approach Iraq appears to have turned down. In mid-May 2003, an ISG team found an Iraqi Embassy document in the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) headquarters related to an offer to sell yellowcake to Iraq. The document reveals that a Ugandan businessman approached the Iraqis with an offer to sell uranium, reportedly from the Congo. The Iraqi Embassy in Nairobi�in reporting this matter back to Baghdad on 20 May 2001�indicated it told the Ugandan that Iraq does not deal with these materials, explained the circumstances of sanctions, and said that Baghdad was not concerned about these matters right now."

  • ||

    Also, Santorum forgot to say "Simon says" before he said "we found WMDs".

    Just thought I'd add an additional flimsy rationalization for why these don't could as real WMDs. :)

  • ||

    "Just thought I'd add an additional flimsy rationalization for why these don't could as real WMDs. :)"

    CLaps hand to head. I see it now. These 500 or so degraded weapons, many already reported or predicted by the ISG represent the 30K munitions, 7 mobile bio labs, vast nuclear enrichment plant and program, smallpox, anthrax ongoing programs that we were promised.

    We will spend 500-740 Billion for 500 shells. Thats around 1 billion per shell, 10 billion per active shell.

  • ||

    10 year old gas bombs barely count as a W, and probably couldn't cause and D, never mind MD, DB.

    Some people are looking a little desperate.

  • ||

    Most of the time there is reasonable discourse on this site but on this particular issue it's serious echo chamber time. Two republican senators are pushing this issue and you guys immediately start saying that the administration is trying to justify the war based on the findings. B.S. The administration knew about this for years and DID NOT advertise it. If they wanted to, they could have made it sound like a big deal way back. So fine, if you think Santorum and the like are idiots more power to you but come on give the admin some credit for recognizing that this stuff is not what they were expecting to find and not pushing it. P.S. Mathias there are a myriad of recorded speeches from the UN and EU including Hans Blix's report that shows that other countries (wrongly) thought Saddam had WMD; saying "I've never seeen the evidence" of that is either willfull ignorance or an example of subtle use of the memory hole.

  • ||


    Two republican senators are pushing this issue and you guys immediately start saying that the administration is trying to justify the war based on the findings.


    Who's saying the administration is doing this ? Its largely Santorum.

    I think the administration just wants the WMD mess to go away since it was not one of their finest hours, and John Negroponte (not exactly a moonbat) seems to be embarassed enough by Santorum to promptly arrange a news conference with intelligence analysts from 3-5 agencies largely debunking this find.


    So fine, if you think Santorum and the like are idiots more power to you but come on give the admin some credit for recognizing that this stuff is not what they were expecting to find and not pushing it.


    I do. No saracsm there. I think the sensible people in the administration and the intel community realize that the WMD fiasco was a great intelligence failure, and some of their earlier comments such as having found WMDs (the mobile trailers) had them end up with egg on their face.

    So they had some thorough, largely solid evaluations by Kay and Duelfer. Again, I give them credit for not trying to spin it. [ Although given that the press, especially the Washington Post was highlighting every inaccurate claim made before the war back then, it would be hard for them to do that]

  • ||

    CLaps hand to head. I see it now. These 500 or so degraded weapons, many already reported or predicted by the ISG represent the blah blah blah

    Number of chemical weapons Iraq was allowed to have: 0

    Number they've been proven to have had: > 0

    Any questions?

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