US prepares to use toxic gases in Iraq

JS Kelly jskelly@jskelly.com
Mon, 3 Mar 2003 12:34:10 -0800 (PST)



On 3 Mar 2003, James Rogers wrote:

> All those people didn't have to die, but the Russian government was
> apparently more concerned about the dissemination of information that
> would allow people to develop effective counter-measures against the
> chemical weapon.  I would expect the same type of active inaction in the
> US would crucify politicians, but you never know.
> 

i know i'm being pessimistic, but i doubt that in a war situation, the US
government would go around letting the iraqis know which "harmless" agent
we were dropping on them -- for the same reason. i also suspect that
baghdad has fewer respirators and dialysis machines than moscow *in
addition*, the moscow situation was limited by the fact that only 800-odd
people (hostages + rebels) were in the theater: in a gas attack on a city,
we would be talking about many more people. the independent article had
said that at least some of the chemical agents the US is thinking of using
were similar to the one the russians used in the theater siege. so if you
add in those who are only made terribly sick from this harmless, calmative
agent (especially, those made sick enough to die of lung or kidney
failure) you get a higher mortality rate than the 9% quote. furthermore,
the reports from russia describe special forces shooting and killing
passed-out gunmen <http://www.trj.ru/special/pdf/Mon-28-page03.pdf> -- i
doubt that the US military would behave differently in a "war zone." to me
it looks like the use of these agents is a strategy the US armed forces is
thinking of using to "minimize US casualties" and "shorten the war."

and all of this being as immoral as i personally think that it is, it
still doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to NOT use such agents, as
proscribed in the treaty to which we are a party. 

-jsk