Congressional Republicans are at odds with Democrats — and the Bush administration — over the significance of 500 munitions found in Iraq since 2003 and recently disclosed by the Pentagon.
The rocket and artillery shells hold deadly sarin and mustard gas, a small part of the vast weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arsenal that Saddam Hussein built in the 1980s.
Republican lawmakers say the 500-plus shells, with more likely to be found in the coming months, are evidence that Saddam was still concealing WMDs in 2003 in violation of United Nations resolutions to disarm after Iraq’s failed invasion of Kuwait.
The resolution “didn’t say pre-’91 chemical weapons,” said Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican. “It didn’t say post-’91 chemical weapons. It said chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein violated this resolution and others like it. … In part because of such violations, we voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.”
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Fourty vials of suspected Sarin gas are seen in a brief case where U.S Marines found them while searching a house last November in Fallujah, Iraq. (Getty Images)