I don’t think the reports that we have found several hundred old shells of sarin nerve gas in Iraq change the argument on the war very much.
Sarin and almost all other chemical weapons are highly reactive and unstable chemicals with relatively short half-lives. Sarin in particular only has a shelf-life of a few months at most. I think it most likely the shells found in Iraq are probably pre-1991 shells that Saddam lost track of and didn’t destroy when he went on his secret destruction binge after the defection of his sons-in-law in 1995. The contents of the shells would now be almost entirely harmless. On the other hand, if the shells contain almost any remaining Sarin that would be strong evidence that they were manufactured within a couple of years of the liberation.
It has also been confirmed that Saddam had switched to a sort of just-in-time system for the manufacturing of chemical weapons, largely to get around the shelf life problem. Most of his weapons were actually filled in the field with fresh agents synthesized onsite. A real smoking gun would be finding one of his mobile mixing units.
Of more import than finding old weapons is that we know for certain that Saddam had: (1) the trained personnel, (2) the industrial base and (3) the cash needed to restart nerve gas production within a matter of weeks. Producing nerve gas is no more difficult than making pesticides. Since the threat of chemical weapons wasn’t that he would use them on the battlefield but rather that he would hand them off to terrorists, the quantities needed would have been relatively small, on the order of dozens of liters at most. He could have banged that much out in a facility that would fit in the back of a semi trailer.
So we all need to remember this absolute fact: Prior to the liberation, Saddam could have produced enough nerve gas to carry out a mass-casuality terrorist attack at any time of his choosing.
The argument advanced by the anti-war (fascist-enablers) that, since we didn’t find any deployed chemical weapons at the time of the liberation Saddam was as harmless as a box of kittens, arises from either ignorance or dishonesty. The only well informed and honest anti-war position is that although Saddam could create the weapons at any time of his choosing we could trust his judgement and restraint not to use them. That position seems like a poor bet given that Saddam might think that he could carry off an attack that couldn’t be traced back to him and that he has a history of severe miscalculation and overreach.
And leftists wonder why no one trusts them on national security.