The Iraqi Chemical Threat

(Wall Street Journal/Newsbook) Stephen D. Bryen - The Iraqi army's chemical weapons corps is experienced, having launched many attacks in the war with Iran. Such weapons, also used against Kurdish civilians, are mixtures of chemicals and agents. One such "cocktail" is called "Blue Acid," consisting of mustard gas, cyanide, and nerve gases, predominantly sarin. A declassified 1992 intelligence report says that Iran disassembled unexploded Iraqi chemical weapons and found mixtures of three nerve agents - tabun, sarin, and soman, plus yellow rain, micotoxins, mustard gas, cyanide, and a number of other chemicals. For many years the U.S. said there was no Iraqi nerve gas or other chemical weapons in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations and U.S. forces were never exposed to any of these agents. However, recent medical studies demonstrate that the brain damage suffered by some Gulf War veterans is nearly identical to the brain damage suffered by victims of the Tokyo subway sarin attack launched by the Aum Shinrikyo cult. These revelations forced the official admission that chemical weapons were in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations in bunkers at a place called Khamisiyah. Evidence shows there were some 6,240 mustard gas-filled 155mm artillery shells and 2,160 sarin-filled SAKR-18 rockets in the bunker. Khamisiyah had been bombed and it is possible residues of the nerve gas got into the air, exposing our troops to small doses of the agents.

2002-12-13 00:00:00

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