I’m not getting too excited about the recent discovery of some mortar rounds that seem to contain blister agent. The things are damn old, and a couple of cases of 120mm mortar shells, though they would have made the news big-time if similar weapons had been used against our forces, are not really all that much of a threat to the world.
Saddam was NOT supposed to have them. Technically, they are a material breach of UN resolutions. But this is not the smoking gun.
The location and apparent age of the rounds indicates that they are probably left-overs from the Iran-Iraq war. This type of mortar round was used extensively against the Iranian human-wave attacks in the Basra region. They were probably lost or abandoned during the fighting back then.
The Danish troops that discovered them deserve credit, however, and this discovery demonstrates the difficulty in finding these sorts of things without good intelligence.
The anti-Bush crowd is poking fun at these corroded old warheads, laughing about the “immediate threat” to the US. But the administration and the military certainly aren’t trying to pass this off as any sort of vindication, and, to their credit, the media seems to be covering this event in a responsible manner.
Find a warehouse full of these things, in prime condition and ready to be used, and you’ve got something. This, while not irrelevant, is not a significant find at all. If members of the administration or military, or their supporters, try to play it as such, they will hurt their cause more than help it.