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WMD Found in Iraq


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BAGHDAD, Iraq — A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday.

Bush administration officials told Fox News that mustard gas (search) was also recently discovered.

Two people were treated for "minor exposure" after the sarin incident but no serious injuries were reported. Soldiers transporting the shell for inspection suffered symptoms consistent with low-level chemical exposure, which is what led to the discovery, a U.S. official told Fox News.

"The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt (search), the chief military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad. "The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device) which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy."

The round detonated before it would be rendered inoperable, Kimmitt said, which caused a "very small dispersal of agent."

A senior Bush administration official told Fox News that the sarin gas shell is the second chemical weapon discovered recently.

Two weeks ago, U.S. military units discovered mustard gas that was used as part of an IED. Tests conducted by the Iraqi Survey Group (search) — a U.S. organization searching for weapons of mass destruction — and others concluded the mustard gas was "stored improperly," which made the gas "ineffective."

They believe the mustard gas shell may have been one of 550 projectiles for which former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein failed to account when he made his weapons declaration shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom began last year. Iraq also failed to then account for 450 aerial bombs with mustard gas. That, combined with the shells, totaled about 80 tons of unaccounted for mustard gas.

It also appears some top Pentagon officials were surprised by the sarin news; they thought the matter was classified, administration officials told Fox News.

An official at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) headquarters in New York said the commission is surprised to hear news of the mustard gas.

"If that's the case, why didn't they announce it earlier?" the official asked.

The UNMOVIC official said the group needs to know more from the Bush administration before it's possible to determine if this is "old or new stuff. It is known that Iraq used sarin during the Iraq-Iran war, however.

Kimmitt said the shell belonged to a class of ordnance that Saddam's government said was destroyed before the 1991 Gulf war (search). Experts believe both the sarin and mustard gas weapons date back to that time.

"It was a weapon that we believe was stocked from the ex-regime time and it had been thought to be an ordinary artillery shell set up to explode like an ordinary IED and basically from the detection of that and when it exploded, it indicated that it actually had some sarin in it," Kimmitt said.

The incident occurred "a couple of days ago," he added. The discovery reportedly occurred near Baghdad International Airport.

Washington officials say the significance of the find is that some chemical shells do still exist in Iraq, and it's thought that fighters there may be upping their attacks on U.S. forces by using such weapons.

The round was an old "binary-type" shell in which two chemicals held in separate sections are mixed after firing to produce sarin, Kimmitt said.

He said he believed that insurgents who rigged the artillery shell as a bomb didn't know it contained the nerve agent, and that the dispersal of the nerve agent from such a rigged device was very limited.

The shell had no markings. It appears the binary sarin agents didn't mix, which is why there weren't serious injuries from the initial explosion, a U.S. official told Fox News.

"Everybody knew Saddam had chemical weapons, the question was, where did they go. Unfortunately, everybody jumped on the offramp and said 'well, because we didn't find them, he didn't have them,'" said Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney.

"I doubt if it's the tip of the iceberg but it does confirm what we've known ... that he [saddam] had weapons of mass destruction that he used on his own people," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Fox News. "This does show that the fear we had is very real. Now whether there is much more of this we don't know, Iraq is the size of the state of California."

But there were more reasons than weapons to get rid of Saddam, he added. "We considered Saddam Hussein a threat not just because of weapons of mass destruction," Grassley said.

Iraqi Scientist: You Will Find More

Gazi George, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist under Saddam's regime, told Fox News he believes many similar weapons stockpiled by the former regime were either buried underground or transported to Syria. He noted that the airport where the device was detonated is on the way to Baghdad from the Syrian border.

George said the finding likely will be the first in a series of discoveries of such weapons.

"Saddam is the type who will not store those materials in a military warehouse. He's gonna store them either underground, or, as I said, lots of them have gone west to Syria and are being brought back with the insurgencies," George told Fox News. "It is difficult to look in areas that are not obvious to the military's eyes.

"I'm sure they're going to find more once time passes," he continued, saying one year is not enough for the survey group or the military to find the weapons.

Saddam, when he was in power, had declared that he did in fact possess mustard-gas filled artilleries but none that included sarin.

"I think what we found today, the sarin in some ways, although it's a nerve gas, it's a lucky situation sarin detonated in the way it did ... it's not as dangerous as the cocktails Saddam used to make, mixing blister" agents with other gases and substances, George said.

Officials: Discovery Is 'Significant'

U.S. officials told Fox News that the shell discovery is a "significant" event.

Artillery shells of the 155-mm size are as big as it gets when it comes to the ordnance lobbed by infantry-based artillery units. The 155 howitzer can launch high capacity shells over several miles; current models used by the United States can fire shells as far as 14 miles. One official told Fox News that a conventional 155-mm shell could hold as much as "two to five" liters of sarin, which is capable of killing thousands of people under the right conditions in highly populated areas.

The Iraqis were very capable of producing such shells in the 1980s but it's not as clear that they continued after the first Gulf War.

In 1995, Japan's Aum Shinrikyo (search) cult unleashed sarin gas in Tokyo's subways, killing 12 people and sickening thousands. In February of this year, Japanese courts convicted the cult's former leader, Shoko Asahara, and sentence him to be executed.

Developed in the mid-1930s by Nazi scientists, a single drop of sarin can cause quick, agonizing choking death. There are no known instances of the Nazis actually using the gas.

Nerve gases work by inhibiting key enzymes in the nervous system, blocking their transmission. Small exposures can be treated with antidotes, if administered quickly.

Antidotes to nerve gases similar to sarin are so effective that top poison gas researchers predict they eventually will cease to be a war threat.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120137,00.html

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bottom line is this:

"However, a senior coalition source has told the BBC the round does not signal the discovery of weapons of mass destruction or the escalation of insurgent activity.

He said the round dated back to the Iran-Iraq war and coalition officials were not sure whether the fighters even knew what it contained."

taken from this BBC article

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Theyve been fighting wars in the country for so long that it certainly doesnt surprise me that they find lots of stuff leftovr from the last decade.... WMDs indeed-what hype

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There's quite a cynic who lives in my skin, but I've been anticipating a major WMD to magically appear just in time to give the Bush campaign a push it desperately needs. It's too early now, I'm pegging it at late summer.

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There's quite a cynic who lives in my skin, but I've been anticipating a major WMD to magically appear just in time to give the Bush campaign a push it desperately needs. It's too early now, I'm pegging it at late summer.

I have the same suspicion, Koop.

What is this all about? -->

"Everybody knew Saddam had chemical weapons, the question was, where did they go. Unfortunately, everybody jumped on the offramp and said 'well, because we didn't find them, he didn't have them,'" said Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney.

I thought we didn't have any intelligence supporting this? Who is EVERYBODY? He must mean everybody except the US government.. because we sure didn't have any empirical data supporting it. How can they keep saying that stuff on National TV like it's fact?

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He gassed his ppl and also the Iranians during the 80's. That is a widely accepted fact. I think it would be a bit naive to believe that Hussein destroyed them all.

Yeah we had PROOF of that during the 80's that is a well known fact--> since the gulf war he has been under our very watchful eye... satellite imagining.. etc. I think it's naive to believe that Saddam has the ability to hide his WMD's so well that the US (w/ the best intelligence it the world) can't gather any empirical evidence.

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A "significant" discussion is going on over at ZP.

That would be a first..

Anyways back on topic, what i would be worried is the possiblity of seeing more of these kinds of attacks using nerve gas which could be devestating. While everyone here is doing the i told you so or going on about conspiracy theories who knows how much damage the next attack will cause.

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Joeyz, we have no precise proof he is hiding them or that he had destroyed them. Without the proof that he destroyed them, I don't think it is too much of a stretch to think that a man like that would hide them. If our intelligence is so good, why don't we have satellite imaging that shows him destroying them? There is no proof he ever destroyed anything. I am not willing to take his word for it.

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(Lord_of_the_Dense @ May 17 2004, 01:04 PM)  A "significant" discussion is going on over at ZP.
 
NullsRevenge, May 17 2004, 08:04 PM] That would be a first.. 

:rofl:

   While everyone here is doing the i told you so or going on about conspiracy theories who knows how much damage the next attack will cause. 

Well, according to the above gross 'conservative thinking' generalization, you're damned if you do either, and damned if you don't. As an anti-war person, I am against the very creation of WMDs, and am increasingly concerned to live in a world that is inflamed by nationalism, religious and or idealogical wars. If there is a conspiracy, then it involves those who push their extremist values on the rest of the world. If you are suggesting, that those who disagree with your viewpoint aren't concerned with WMDs, then you are gravely mistaken... I will continue to question authority, which is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy, particularly when the current administration lies and pulls 'bait and switches' on serious issues such as 'terrorism and national security', and then tries to sweep it under the rug and point their fingers at those who disagree with the pov, , as if WE are the unpatriotic ones, when they are proven wrong. Well, frankly it's the other way around, and 'I just told you so'..

***

But a thumbs up on your lead-in :good job: :rotfl:

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I think it would be a bit naive to believe that Hussein destroyed them all.

Exactly, you cant trust him. Saddam used sarin along and mustard gas on the Kurds in Iraq during Anfal and in 1988 in Halabja. I'll bet there are still stock piles of nerve gas and other WMD under ground somewhere. Look at where they found Saddam, in a hole under a house....

Edited by MxRob
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"Everybody knew Saddam had chemical weapons, the question was, where did they go. Unfortunately, everybody jumped on the offramp and said 'well, because we didn't find them, he didn't have them,'" said Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney.

"I doubt if it's the tip of the iceberg but it does confirm what we've known ... that he [saddam] had weapons of mass destruction that he used on his own people," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Fox News. "This does show that the fear we had is very real. Now whether there is much more of this we don't know, Iraq is the size of the state of California."

As method pointed out, the shells dated from the Iraq-Iran war. Not recent creations. Hell if they were from then, they probably were manufactured in the U.S.

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As method pointed out, the shells dated from the Iraq-Iran war. Not recent creations. Hell if they were from then, they probably were manufactured in the U.S.

Unlikely - the US stopped manufacturing and stockpiling them many decades ago.

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Well, according to the above gross 'conservative thinking' generalization, you're damned if you do either, and damned if you don't. As an anti-war person, I am against the very creation of WMDs, and am increasingly concerned to live in a world that is inflamed by nationalism, religious and or idealogical wars. If there is a conspiracy, then it involves those who push their extremist values on the rest of the world. If you are suggesting, that those who disagree with your viewpoint aren't concerned with WMDs, then you are gravely mistaken... I will continue to question authority, which is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy, particularly when the current administration lies and pulls 'bait and switches' on serious issues such as 'terrorism and national security', and then tries to sweep it under the rug and point their fingers at those who disagree with the pov, , as if WE are the unpatriotic ones, when they are proven wrong. Well, frankly it's the other way around, and 'I just told you so'..

My point is while people are caught up in the politics who knows how much more of this stuff is out there, and how it will be used which could cause alot of deaths. Pretty much by focusing all the attention all the time internally and on politics, diverts attention to the ones carrying out the attacks and who will still cause harm to our soldiers and to innoicent civilians over there.

So i think you assumed much more than what i meant in my previous post.

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Joeyz, we have no precise proof he is hiding them or that he had destroyed them. Without the proof that he destroyed them, I don't think it is too much of a stretch to think that a man like that would hide them. If our intelligence is so good, why don't we have satellite imaging that shows him destroying them? There is no proof he ever destroyed anything. I am not willing to take his word for it.

It is illogical to send our young people off to fight and die in a war in which our involvement is based on a HUNCH that Saddam has WMDs and would use them to attack us. You can't expect people to die just because you BELIEVE Saddam is a direct threat to the US... that's all it was - a belief or a hunch.. nothing more. You don't have to take Saddam's word for it... it's healthy to be skeptical.. but it's not healthy to wage war when a threat has not been revealed. If we have no proof that he is hiding weapons why risk- the soldier's lives, lives of innocent Iraqi civilians, or our good standing in the international community- not to mention the billions of dollars down the drain. why? because there is a possibility that we will be attacked? Possibilities may or may not happen.. but when you wage war... you know that people are going to die.

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I understand your argument... but it seems that there was no reason to believe Saddam was planning an attack. If there was a reason to believe he was going to go on the offensive, then it would be somewhat more justified if we decided to "attack to defend".

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He attacked everyone in the area almost. He used wmd, i.e. gas, and would have probably used nuclear if he had it. I am so thankful that he is out of there before he could acquire nukes or long range missles capable of delivering gas. Once he has gotten nuclear capability and then threatens you.......it is a little late to do anything. If you attack him....he nukes you. If you don't attack him.......he may still nuke you. I repeat.....I have no problem with the decision that was made in Iraq. Hindsight is 20-20. I am for a little pre-emptive activity.

Redneck for sure!

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So i think you assumed much more than what i meant in my previous post.

A fair assessment and my criticism wasnt directly to you, but a generalized one.

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I understand your argument... but it seems that there was no reason to believe Saddam was planning an attack. If there was a reason to believe he was going to go on the offensive, then it would be somewhat more justified if we decided to "attack to defend".

He did try to invade other countries before, and its not like he didnt want to attack the US because the Saddam regime was shooting at our planes patrolling the no fly zone. Which sites in Iraq were bombed under Clinton because of it too, i know at least more than once since the end of the Gulf War.

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Well there is no question he was a madman. But he was quite weakened at the time we attacked. How many days did it take for us to reach Bagdhad??!! - not many. What is clear is that the Bush administration exaggerated the threat. Had they waited and built an international coalition, like George, Sr., I don't think we would be in the mess we are today.

I find it even more interesting that dangerous nuclear threats like N. Korea are relatively ignored in favor of this preoccupation with Iraq...it's really quite illogical when you come down to it. Here we are billions of dollars later, having suffered a growing number of tragic troop losses, loss of prestiege around the world, and having witnesses a build up of Al Queda that didnt exist in Iraq before, and people are still harping about missing WMDs!!! All this to topple one man??? Gentlemen, with all due respect, none of this makes any sense...

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