Man Without Qualities

Monday, April 07, 2003

Some Potpourri For Hans Blix

U.S. forces near Baghdad found a weapons cache of around 20 medium-range missiles equipped with potent chemical weapons, the U.S. news station National Public Radio reported on Monday. NPR, which attributed the report to a top official with the 1st Marine Division, said the rockets, BM-21 missiles, were equipped with sarin and mustard gas and were "ready to fire." It quoted the source as saying new U.S. intelligence data showed the chemicals were "not just trace elements."

Sarin and mustard gas - scents better than French perfume in the international political arena!

MORE: Separate discoveries: Military sources said experts were looking at three 50-gallon barrels and 11 25-gallon barrels found at the site. As well as sarin, they may also have found phosgene, a choking agent that causes fluid buildup in the lungs...

Over the weekend, U.S. Marines in the central Iraqi town of Aziziyah began digging up a suspected chemical weapons hiding place at a girl's school.

AND MORE: Report from what may be one of the sites already described above: U.S. soldiers evacuated an Iraqi military compound on Sunday after tests by a mobile laboratory confirmed evidence of sarin nerve gas. More than a dozen soldiers of the Army's 101st Airborne Division had been sent earlier for chemical weapon decontamination after they exhibited symptoms of exposure to nerve agents.

AND STILL MORE: A New York Times report from what may be another location and of more toxins:

The soldiers, looking for weapons, soon found several oil drums on the site. They called in help from their chemical unit. What happened next is a little unclear but several soldiers became ill, and the company quickly put on their chemical protection gear. Last night, the chemical company identified the problem as CN, a riot control gas that causes vomiting and blisters. Colonel Madere said he did not believe that soldiers were seriously ill. The colonel said that the chemical team stayed overnight to check several other large oil drums. This morning, the team tested a 20-gallon drum, and came to the conclusion that it tested positive for sarin, a nerve gas and tabun, another nerve gas. A 55-gallon oil drum came up positive for mustard gas.

BUT SOME DOES NOT TEST OUT: Chemicals found at Hindya (as reported by the New York Times, above, for example) are not weapons.


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