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May 17, 2004

Sarin? In Iraq? Mustard, in Iraq? Did I miss the memo?

Device found in Iraq with sarin gas Car bomb kills Iraqi Governing Council leader Izzedine Salim Monday, May 17, 2004 Posted: 11:59 AM EDT (1559 GMT) BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S.-led coalition convoy in Iraq found sarin gas in an artillery round rigged as an improvised explosive device, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Monday.

Sarin is a nerve agent used for chemical weapons. A doomsday cult in Japan used the gas in terrorist attacks in 1994 and 1995.

The detonation of the device in Iraq resulted in a small dispersal of the nerve agent, Kimmitt said. Two members of an explosives ordnance team were treated for minor exposure, he added.

These guys either didn't know what it was, or didin't understand how it works. Artillery binary agents need the shock of firing and spin to work properly. Which means, possibly until we just told them - that they didn't know they were sitting on a stash.

Or they do know, and now they have to figure out how to make 'em work. Bit more of a challenge that. The real concern is where did it come from? Overlooked in Hussein's alleged disposal of same? Or did Saddam dispose of by burying.. meaning there's a stash of it somewhere we haven't found? Life get's more interesting in Iraq with each passing day.

"The area that was affected was very minor," Kimmitt said. "There's no need for any further decontamination. The [ordnance team] people who went up there showed some minor traces of exposure, but it was so minor the doctors already have these people released."

It's fine as a terror weapon, where the intent is to intimidate and frighten as much as to kill. But single rounds are not going to be causing huge mass casualty events - though properly used they can certainly cause a lot of damage.

Kimmitt said the artillery round was of an old style that Saddam Hussein's regime had declared it no longer possessed after the Persian Gulf War.


The general said the Iraqi Survey Group, headed by Charles Duelfer, would determine if the shell's discovery indicated Saddam possessed chemical weapons before the U.S. invasion last year. Officials in Washington said another shell -- this one containing mustard gas -- was found 10 days ago in Iraq.

Of course, we all know it was a CIA plant, right? Just to distract attention away from Bush's political troubles. I'm sure it says that on DU by now, anyway.

The whole piece is here.

John | Permalink | Comments (4) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
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