Monthly Archives: June 2006

Senator Rick Santorum: WMD Found in Iraq

This news broke while I was tied up for a few hours. It’s not easy to make sense out of this at the moment. Here’s a statement from the Senator’s website:

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, joined Congressman Peter Hoekstra, (R-MI-2), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today to make a major announcement regarding the release of newly declassified information that proves the existence of chemical munitions in Iraq since 2003. The information was released by the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, and contained an unclassified summary of analysis conducted by the National Ground Intelligence Center. In March, Senator Santorum began advocating for the release of these documents to the American public.

“The information released today proves that weapons of mass destruction are, in fact, in Iraq,” said Senator Santorum. “It is essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are in Iraq. I will continue to advocate for the complete declassification of this report so we can more fully understand the complete WMD picture inside Iraq.”

Austin Bay blogged it as it unfolded:

I heard a report on Fox News about twenty minutes ago (5 PM Central) that Senator Rick Santorum claims coalition investigators in Iraq found chemical weapons — artillery shells filled with a chemical agent (perhaps sarin nerve agent). The Fox report said Santorum had fought with the Pentagon and White House to get the information declassified. I’d like to see Santorum put his evidence up on the web. Michelle Malkin and her team at Hot Air already had a post up on the story– Hot Air’s post says the artillery shells contained either “degraded mustard” or sarin. I gather the stocks are 1991 (Desert Storm-era) weapons (in other words, left over weapons). I’m not sure that means Saddam had an active chemical weapons program but if this report proves to be true chemical weapons stock would be a violation of UNSCR 687. Stay tuned.

The Corner posted some of the declassified 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.

You can read the declassification letter from John Negroponte for yourselves.

Of course the question that springs to mind is why would the administration sit on this information? Captain Ed works through that question and has some interesting points but it still doesn’t make sense to me.

Glenn Reynolds has a nice roundup and I certainly agree with his take on the WMD issue:

Stay tuned. WMD wasn’t the big issue for me, but it certainly has been turned into a keystone of the war debate, which may turn out to have been a mistake for war opponents.

I supported (and still support) the war in Iraq for many reasons but an immediate WMD threat wasn’t high on my list of concerns either.

Radioblogger.com has audio and a transcript of Hugh Hewitt and Senator Santorum discussiing this revelation:

HH: That’s fine. Again, putting away the classified stuff, focusing on the unclassified and published reports, is it your impression, Senator Santorum, that there have been a number of such discoveries?

RS: It is my impression that there have been a number of such discoveries. It’s my impression that this is a very dangerous situation in Iraq, with the number of chemical weapons still believed to exist out there, and the threat that they might in fact get into the wrong hands. So Saddam, it is clear, from this report, had lots of chemical weapons around, and that people got their hands on them. So this is exactly what we were concerned about, that Saddam in fact had large stockpiles of chemical weapons, and would in fact…those chemical weapons could in fact get into the hands of people who would like to do harm to America.

You can listen to the interview in MP3 format here.

Excellent comments from Dan Riehl:

I realize 500 is a nice round number. But the fact is, we have been finding WMD in Iraq since May of 2004. It’s been reported, just not emphasized. These are all separate finds below. Has everyone started to believe the MSM spin we’ve been hearing on this? I stopped worrying about finding WMD a long time ago.

Check his post for proof.

What impact will this have on the “Bush lied” crowd? If you said “none whatsoever” you get a cookie. Via Stop the ACLU:

The truth is that it wouldn’t matter if we found huge stockpiles in underground facilities including a nuke, they would still try to conjure up some kind of countering talking point.

That said, it’s still nice to have the facts on your side.

Macsmind slaps down the Leftist spin machine before it can get cranked up:

Now some will say, “Yeah these were munitions that predated the first Iraq war, so they don’t count”. Idiots. The fact is that they were still in Iraq and Saddam did not declare them, AND the report says that they were hidden as to evade detection from the ISG. Even though they do not prove an ongoing WMD program in the 90s, they do show that both Saddam was still playing games and the coveted ISG and Hans Blix work left a lot to be desired.

I tried to contact Scott Ritter and get his take on this story but a call to my local Burger King lead nowhere. Give the one in your area a call. Maybe we can track him down.

Someone at the Pentagon doesn’t sound too happy about this:

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.”

WTF? Seriously WTF? Is Barbara Streisand being credited as a “senior DoD official” these days?

Chris Lawrence at Outside the Beltway wants to know where the rest went:

Perhaps more disturbing is that Iraq’s weapons stocks remain largely unaccounted for. As Alex Knapp has noted repeatedly, and the administration documents seem to reinforce, there is strong evidence that terrorist groups in and around Iraq have been seeking chemical and biological weapons; we can only hope the ISG has been more diligent in finding these munitions than al-Qaida or the Sunni insurgents.

There’s still about the importance of this revelation. Chester takes a look at why the government may have decided to sit on this information.

More to come..

Young People of America…Rise Up and Rebel!

That’s the title of an Wharton County Junior College professor’s essay that appears on a Venezuelan news site and Indymedia:

Just over 50 years ago it was No Gun Ri. Then My Lai. And now Haditha.. and, as (headlines declare), even more mass murders, most recently in the Iraqi villages of Ishaqi, Hamdaniya, Latifiyah, and Yusifiyah; young men fresh out of high school, frustrated by life, with nothing better to do than to sign up as mercenaries ready and willing to kill for their country, yet, as always, afraid to die and angry as hell as a result of buddies (comrades-in-arms) having been killed, everyone of them having been thrown into a world of cultural confusion and death wanting nothing more than an opportunity to return home, body and mind unimpaired. You see, for each of these young men and women, there will be two wars; the first a physical battle to stay alive, the second a psycho-spiritual effort, a struggle to live with what they “had to do” in order to stay alive. In war there are no winners… only those who lose least!

Isn’t it ironic that just this week the commanders in charge of forces in Iraq, after having suffered the painful blowback, the natural consequences, of having so punctiliously trained our children to kill, having trained them to reflexively disregard the rather inconvenient intrusion of an always present voice reminding one of the value of human life, have found it necessary to reverse the harm they have done, that they tighten the slack in their leash on the troops, that it might be better if soldiers did begin to think, did in fact begin to use their minds, before choosing to take the life of another human being.

…So many of our young folks have been brought up to believe that being a good person has something to do with that of having a good reputation, being liked by everyone, being held in high esteem by others, even that of being a patriotic citizen, but such has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that of being a truly decent person. I beg the young people of this nation to consider the ominous proposition that, as it was in the days of Nuremberg when the Nazis were held responsible for crimes against humanity, when the leaders of the German nation dressed their children “in brown shirts” reminding that they had a moral obligation (a national duty) to fight for the Fatherland, it will be the same for the leaders of our nation, as well as for those who blindly allow themselves to be coerced into fighting for our country, a nation having come under the nefarious control of malefactors convinced that our nation has been given the right, the God-ordained responsibility, to oversee the planet, to, in fact, rule the world.

So someday when you reach the end of your days, when you become rather old, and are no doubt ready to die, realize that no one (at least no one of any significance) will ever choose to ask if you were a good citizen, if you were a patriot, if you were loyal to your country. You will never be asked if you wore a uniform with distinction. The only thing for which you will be held accountable, by “those who count,” is that of having chosen to become a decent human being, that of having chosen to live your life according to the laws of humanity (the principles of justice, peace, and love), the Law of God, which demands but one, and only one, thing…. that we love one another.

Written Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D. [send him email], whois a Psychologist based in Wharton, TX. Doug is a featured columnist at PopulistAmerica.com

If you think that’s bad you won’t believe his poetry. There’s more at Iranian.com if you can stand it.

Pendleton 8 Charged with Murder

And they face the dealth penalty:

The military on Wednesday charged seven Marines and a Navy corpsman with premeditated murder and other crimes in the April 26 killing of an Iraqi civilian in a village west of Baghdad, the U.S. Marine Corps said on Wednesday.

All eight men face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. They were charged with premeditated murder, larceny, conspiracy, housebreaking, making false official statements, assault, kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

“The Marine Corps takes allegations of wrongdoing by Marines very seriously and is committed to thoroughly investigating such allegations. The Marine Corps also prides itself on holding its members accountable for their actions,” Col. Stewart Navarre told reporters at Camp Pendleton, California.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the death penalty is highly unlikely even if (that’s a big if) the soldiers are convicted.

Michelle Malkin links some of the soldier’s family members:
Pfc. John Jodka
Marine Corps wife
Navy corpsman’s wife

Stop the ACLU asks:

Now that they have been charged, who thinks the ACLU will be defending them? Maybe if they convert to Islam, and become conscientious objectors the ACLU might get interested. Tell me again why they are called “American” Civil Liberties Union.

The folks at Democratic Underground are piling on as expected:

Does this answer the question about how many marines does it take to murder an Iraqi civilian?

Greg at Rhymes with Right makes an important point about these charges:

I do not begin to claim knowledge of the truth of these charges. I do, however, have faith in the system under which they have been charged and under which they will be tried. It works — I’ve seen it work.

There are those out there who are kicking up a fuss about these charges, claiming that they should not have been brought and that American servicement should not be punished for any action they commit in the theater of war. That goes against every American tradition — and would make us no better than the jihadis we fight. We punish those of our troops who commit inhuman acts against the laws of war and civilized society — it is our jihadi enemy who glorifies and rewards such barbarism.

I think a lot of patriotic Americans will agree with Greg. It’s the rush to judgement and politicization of these events, especially by fellow Americans, that really irks so many of us. I hope that these men are ultimately found to be innocent but most importantly justice must prevail.

I’ll be following this closely.