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."
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.