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Decontaminating Halabja
December 4, 2012 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Halabja chemical weapons: A chance to find the men who armed Saddam? "Nearly 25 years ago, Iraqi forces killed thousands of their own civilians using chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Now steps are about to be taken to discover which country - and possibly which factory - supplied some of the chemicals." Via BBC
posted by marienbad (24 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
SORRY - mods can you please add a warning that it is fairly graphic.
posted by marienbad at 2:04 PM on December 4, 2012


This is an investigation one hopes would have happened oh, 25 YEARS AGO!?! Or at least before the US left Iraq the first time.
posted by Perko at 2:26 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please can Cheney be involved?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2012


As a data point, the US government was sure glad to provide intelligence to Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war.
posted by lineofsight at 2:33 PM on December 4, 2012


"But we know there are still some chemical stockpiles in Iraq that are being dealt with, which is open source information, and we can probably get a sample from there and match it against what we've found here to provide conclusive evidence - so technically it is possible."

There are? Of this, I would like to know more.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:37 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please can Cheney be involved?

I honestly don't know what it would take for a majority of Americans to be alright with prosecuting those in the highest echelons of government. Once that rock gets flipped over there's no telling what would be found. I suspect with the political climate the way that it is, Cheney could claim he flew both planes on 9-11 and we'd still see opinion of his guilt divided along party lines.
posted by dubold at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm a bit confused...I thought everyone already knew where Iraq got the weapons.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the memories
posted by hortense at 2:48 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought it was common knowledge that the US and Iraq had close ties during the Iran-Iraq war and that those ties included the sale of weapons and sharing of intelligence.

I don't think Americans would ever let any of their leaders shoulder any part of the blame, however.
posted by dazed_one at 2:48 PM on December 4, 2012


I thought everyone already knew where Iraq got the weapons.

Well, it's been suggested that it was Iran, not Iraq, that used chemical weapons in Halabja. I don't know if that's right or not - but I do remember a few people on the left choosing to believe it in the run-up to the Iraq war.
posted by Dasein at 2:58 PM on December 4, 2012


Yeah, isn't this old news? I remember in the run-up to the Iraq war it was well known that they were bought from West Germany by way of the US.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2012


Chemical stockpiles are not the same as chemical weapon stockpiles. And provided those chemicals (unfortunately) is not the same as providing chemicals that can only be used to make chemical weapons. (One form of mustard gas is an anticancer agent).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:07 PM on December 4, 2012


If Syria uses chemical weapons (and I am sure we all hope they don't and it's just astro-turfing), maybe we can use this as a cautionary tale about what not to do in the aftermath.
posted by Mezentian at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2012


hmmmm
posted by clavdivs at 3:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is going to end as soon as American involvement starts to become apparent.

Here's a tip: Check the scrapbook of receipts kept by the elder President Bush as a keepsake. It's on the page right after the one with the photo of Rummy shaking Saddam's hand.
posted by Renoroc at 3:39 PM on December 4, 2012


I suspect with the political climate the way that it is, Cheney could claim he flew both planes on 9-11 and we'd still see opinion of his guilt divided along party lines.

And there would be an apology made to him for it, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:07 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


dubold: "I honestly don't know what it would take for a majority of Americans to be alright with prosecuting those in the highest echelons of government."

Oral sex.
posted by schmod at 4:12 PM on December 4, 2012 [16 favorites]


This thread reminds me of my standard response to those who say Bush had foreknowledge of the attacks on 9/11.
Of course, he didn't. Cheney would never have told him.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Back in the punk-zine era, there was a parody of the Charles Atlas 'Hero of the Beach', where a strapping Saddam grasps George H.W. Bush's spindly arm and says: "I would punch your face in, but you're supplying me with weapons."
posted by ovvl at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2012


Oral sex.

Only if the receiver is a Democrat.
posted by Malice at 6:24 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please can Cheney be involved?

We must look towards the future, not play the blame game. Do we really want Obama to use up all his political capital going after members of past administrations? It definitely isn't happening again under Obama, isn't that enough?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2012


Only if the receiver is a Democrat.

And it's hetero. Probably among consenting adults.
posted by Mezentian at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Senator Donald Riegle prepared a report on US sales of disease-producing organisms to Iraq in the period before the Gulf War. His focus was on the health of US troops, particularly those thought to be suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. But really, why was the US sending samples of anthrax and cholera to Iraq in the first place?

Here's his address, read into the Congressional Record, together with letters to various US government departments.

Here's the actual Riegle Report: U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War
A Report of Chairman Donald W. Riegle, Jr. and Ranking Member Alfonse M. D'Amato of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration

United States Senate, 103d Congress, 2d Session
May 25, 1994
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:40 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bloody instructions that return to plague their inventors...
posted by Pudhoho at 1:02 AM on December 5, 2012


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