Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, March 28, 2003

Abandoned Iraqi base turns up some interesting stuff.

The chilling archives at this deserted Iraqi military base were stuffed inside burlap sacks marked "rice" - doubtless for quick removal, though many of the bags lay abandoned in haste.

There were instructions for using sodium bicarbonate to scrub lethal toxins off the skin. There were inventories of gas masks. And, perhaps most sobering, there were piles of handwritten evaluations of Iraqi soldiers who had recently completed a "Chemical Alert" course.

"To be praised for rapid reactions in putting on protective suit," an Iraqi major named Mohammed Wahabi Nuradeen wrote effusively of one recruit who graduated from training on April 1, 2002. "No negative marks."

Though Saddam Hussein's regime insists it no longer possesses banned chemical or biological weapons - and though it has branded Washington's war to rid Baghdad of such weaponry a political ruse - the documents found Friday at an abandoned army base in northern Iraq reveal that units of Saddam's army underwent systematic chemical warfare training less than a year ago.

No outlawed chemical or biological agents were discovered in the grubby maze of offices and barracks that make up the Iraqi 8th Infantry Division headquarters some 15 miles north of the strategic oil city of Kirkuk.

But the infrastructure devoted to chemical training was impressive. One spacious building labeled "Department of Chemical Warfare" held a large floor model of the surrounding countryside. And nearby warehouses and offices, most already trashed by Kurdish looters, were littered with scraps of chemical warfare suits, gas masks and decontamination kits.

< email | 3/28/2003 11:40:00 PM | link

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