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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Iraq WMD update

It has been a busy 24-hour period for news concerning weapons of mass destruction. Here's the latest about Iraq, not to be confused with the "wmd to Syria" claim from a couple of weeks ago:

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has boldly declared:
"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons."
He bases this on several hundred old chemical warheads found scattered throughout the country. Referencing declassified portions of a National Ground Intelligence Center report, Santorum said:
"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."
Note that wmd skeptics presumed Iraq had these old munitions in 2002. They still opposed the war.

The Department of Defense is a little more measured in its assessment:
Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "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."
Santorum has his own electoral reasons for pushing this story.

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