By Jim Emerson, staff writer
The New York Times reports that for more than a decade, American forces discovered and in several cases were injured by Chemical Weapons that were hidden or abandoned in Iraq years earlier. These Unmarked chemical weapons had been intermixed with conventional weapons in order to hide them from weapon inspectors. Not knowing the true nature of the unmarked ordnance made them an additional hazard, both as improvised explosive devices (IED) and for the explosive ordinance devices (EOD), to the personal sent to neutralize them.
Since the beginning of Iraqi Freedom, allied encounters with chemical weapons were kept secret and not shared with congress, the American people or allied military forces within Iraq. Withholding information concerning chemical weapon discoveries meant troops and EOD professionals could not receive proper information or medical care. After all, if weapons did not officially exist, the military could hardly be expected to recognize or treat injuries from exposure. A New York Times article includes a link to a heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Given the publication of the Times article, the Department of Defense will have to acknowledge chemical weapons found in Iraq and provide medical care for victims.
In an effort to minimize the hazard posed by these weapons, the Times pointed out that they were actually left over from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Complacent rear echelon, deskbound heroes would insist that old abandoned weapons no longer posed a threat. And they might have gotten by with such lies but for the fact that victims of the chemical munitions proved that after years in storage or buried in the ground they still remained dangerous. Even munitions which are corroded and unsafe for deployment can be dangerous and become an IED when the shell is damaged from decay.
Project 922 was Saddam Hussein’s codename for his blister and nerve agent programs to use against Iran. German construction firms built a sprawling manufacturing complex near Samarra, Falluja for research, manufacture, testing and storage of chemical weapons.
Currently, the Islamic State controls the region where the chemical weapons were manufactured and hidden. Former members of Iraq’s Republican Guards are now aligned with the terrorists and revealing the locations of the weapons.
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