23 February 2007

Chemical warfare and the Insurgents in Iraq

Lost somewhere in the middle of the media's mainstream orgy about this Anna Nichole Smith person and the fight between democratic presidential runners fight was a little story about the insurgents were detonating chemical weapons that would release chlorine gas. From reading the various news blurbs that I skim at News Google and even my own local newspapers mention that this is the third attack this month alone like this. However, none of the US media (TV, radio, newspapers) have noticed this attack beyond a simple 30sec sound bite (nor the previous ones) they also aren't talking about the escalations that this is in the fight for control of Iraq. Even if the insurgents are just attaching explosives to canisters of chlorine gas, there is a possibility that the insurgents could escalate and begin either importing other chemicals such as Mustard, Phosgene, blood poisons, and finally nerve agents.

Though chemical warfare is not new to humans, we have been doing it since the time of tribes. Mainly through the digging of arrows and spears in natural poisons. However it wasn't until the First World War that better killing through science starting to makes its appearance on the battlefield. It was the Germans that used chlorine gas in the the Second Battle of Ypres when they used about 186 tons of Chlorine gas along 4 miles of the front line in an attempt to open battle and push towards Paris. However, the Germans themselves weren't fully capable of exploiting the opening because they were not prepared themselves for the use of this weapon. By the time the First World War ended by 1918, just over 85,000 of the one million dead (or about less then 3%) were killed by some sort of the chemical weapons developed during the war. Post world war 1 chemical weapons were used by the British in Iraq to put down rebellions near Baghdad along with using some gases to protect its troops in Russia in 1919, French used mustard gas in Morocco in the 1920's, the Italians used mustard gas in Libya in 20's and then 1930's during its war on Ethiopia. In World War 2 it was the Germans that discovered nerve agents completely accidentally. They had discovered the nerve agents Tabun and Sarin. Though World War 2 didn't see the widespread use of chemical warfare there were still selected uses. The Japanese were reported to have used an agent called Lewisite in its war against with the Chinese, the Germans used the chemical poison Zyklon B to kill all the people they put in the concentration camps. Though the Allies had strong stockpiles of chemical weapons manufactured during the inter-war period they had taken the oath to not use them first unless the Axis powers used them. Following the end of World War 2, both the US and the Soviets built even larger amounts of chemical weapons. It wasn't until the last 30 years that the US and Soviets have tried to reduce their chemical weapon inventories. Yet, there are plenty of other people that have built up arsenals and used them on their enemies. Such countries as Iraq and Iran during their 8 year war. A couple terrorist organizations have used chemical weapons on their own such as the Aum Shinrikyo attacks on the Tokyo subways in 1995 and then UN forces had found video tapes in Afghanistan in 2002 of what looked like Al Qaeda tests on dogs of a possible nerve agents.

I am not one to go around like chicken little screaming that the sky is falling, but this is something to pay attention too. If the insurgents begin to escalate to using chemical weapons, then how would the US respond? Should the US escalate and begin to use chemical weapons? I don't think we would, yet I don't think that American people would tolerate seeing their soldiers being injured or died because of a chemical weapon. Unfortunately no one in the US media is paying attention. Instead they care about some stupid, vapid, blond, bimbo with huge tits, a Broward County Judge being silly, and who is the father of this bimbo's daughter.

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