"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

WMD Were a Lie?

leave a comment »

It’s been a popular refrain of those who brand George W and Tony Blair war criminals (as I heard journalist, Robert Fisk of The Independent say in a public address a few years back). At least part of the reason for that claim is based in the claim that there were no chemical weapons found in Iraq.

This story from The New York Times, documents a number of finds of chemical agents, including nerve agents.

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons, By C. J. CHIVERS

The soldiers at the blast crater sensed something was wrong.

From 2004 to 2011, American and Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and at times were wounded by, chemical weapons that were hidden or abandoned years earlier.

It was August 2008 near Taji, Iraq. They had just exploded a stack of old Iraqi artillery shells buried beside a murky lake. The blast, part of an effort to destroy munitions that could be used in makeshift bombs, uncovered more shells.

Two technicians assigned to dispose of munitions stepped into the hole. Lake water seeped in. One of them, Specialist Andrew T. Goldman, noticed a pungent odor, something, he said, he had never smelled before.

He lifted a shell. Oily paste oozed from a crack. “That doesn’t look like pond water,” said his team leader, Staff Sgt. Eric J. Duling.

The specialist swabbed the shell with chemical detection paper. It turned red — indicating sulfur mustard, the chemical warfare agent designed to burn a victim’s airway, skin and eyes.

All three men recall an awkward pause. Then Sergeant Duling gave an order: “Get the hell out.”

It gets better, that it appears that US soldiers injured by exposure to chemical agents are having difficulty obtaining proper treatment – after all, everyone knows that the WMD were a lie.

In late 2005 and early 2006, soldiers collected more than 440 Borak 122-millimeter chemical rockets near Amara, in southeastern Iraq. And in the first nine months of 2006, the American military recovered roughly 700 chemical warheads and shells, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

British forces also destroyed 21 Borak rockets in early 2006, including some that contained nerve agent, according to a public statement to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2010.

The Pentagon did not provide this information to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as it worked in the summer of 2006 examining intelligence claims about Iraq’s weapons programs.

Even as the Senate committee worked, the American Army made its largest chemical weapons find of the war: more than 2,400 Borak rockets.

The rockets were discovered at Camp Taji, a former Republican Guard compound, when Americans “running a refueling point for helicopters saw some shady activity on the other side of a fence,” said Mr. Lampier, who lived at the camp at the time.

An Iraqi digging with a front-end loader ran away when an American patrol approached, leaving behind partly unearthed rockets.

Mr. Lampier, then a captain commanding the 756th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was with the first to arrive. “At first we saw three,” he said. “Then it wasn’t three. It was 30. Then it wasn’t 30. It was 300. It went up from there.”

The American military had found more than 3,000 chemical munitions and knew that many were still dangerous. The Pentagon did not tell the Senate.

The rockets appeared to have been buried before American airstrikes in 1991, he said. Many were empty. Others still contained sarin. “Full-up sloshers,” he said.

It appears the real issue behind this was the lack of a current WMD program, which it turns out, was a lie. What remained on the ground were 1,000s of chemical agent projectiles from the pre-1991 era (back when the US was helping Iraq design and build chemical weapons). Because the reality narrative did not fit the talking points of the administration, all the reports were classified.

The medical staff remained unmoved. On Aug. 18, two days after the exposure, an optometrist prescribed drops for Specialist Goldman’s eyes.

Their company commander, Capt. Patrick Chavez, who retired as a major in 2013, said that rather than help the patients, the clinic seemed intent on proving them wrong. “They were trying to come up with other causes for the symptoms — heat exhaustion, things like that,” he said.

“They were trying to come up with other causes for the symptoms — heat exhaustion, things like that.”

He gave the team a week off.

As the techs went untreated, burns and blisters broke out on two soldiers from Bushmaster Company, who lived at another outpost.

All of the political posturing aside, what really troubles me is the soldiers that ended up wearing the results in the end. As we approach another Armistice Day, it’s important to recall all of those who suffer because of our inability to be truthful and to resolve conflict without recourse to armed force.

Advertisements

Written by sameo416

October 17, 2014 at 8:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Urbane Adventurer: Amiskwacî

thoughts of an urban Métis scholar (and sometimes a Mouthy Michif, PhD)

Joshua 1:9

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Engineering Ethics Blog

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

asimplefellow

Today, the Future and the Past all kinda rolled up in one.

istormnews

For Those Courageous in Standing for Truth

âpihtawikosisân

Law, language, life: A Plains Cree speaking Métis woman in Montreal

Malcolm Guite

Blog for poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite

"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

%d bloggers like this: