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US Soldiers At Risk from Chem Attacks
February 20, 2003 11:19 AM   Subscribe

If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical/biological weapons in an Iraq conflict, how safe would soldiers in the field be? The Department of the Defense says "no problem", but some of the men on the ground seem to believe otherwise. The gear the soldiers will use to protect themselves and their water supply appears to be old, prone to failure while the training received in the usage of these tools looks inadequate. It could be the return of "Gulf War Syndrome" (PDF).
posted by owillis (19 comments total)

 
It's good to see that the military is making sure that it's well provisioned with protective gear of last resort.
posted by alms at 11:54 AM on February 20, 2003


yay! i for one am cheered by the return of iraq posting... as for the sodjers, maybe they should get plastic wrap and duck tape?
posted by dorcas at 12:00 PM on February 20, 2003


Chemical weapons nothing, what about all the depleted uranium that's going to be shot around? Our troops should be afraid of the weapons they themselves are shooting.
posted by manero at 12:02 PM on February 20, 2003


There's a contingency plan if the suits fail.

"The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in Iraq or future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon."
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on February 20, 2003


Wow, burning the bodies of dead troops, that's brilliant! Thus, no depressing news footage of body bags and flag-draped coffins to stem the war fever.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:55 PM on February 20, 2003


Actually I believe the DoD has decided not to incinerate the bodies due to the bad response they got.
posted by owillis at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2003


Maybe the soldiers should protest this war too!
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:01 PM on February 20, 2003


Thanks for the update, owillis.
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on February 20, 2003


Chemical weapons nothing, what about all the depleted uranium that's going to be shot around? Our troops should be afraid of the weapons they themselves are shooting.

Or maybe not.
posted by Plunge at 1:42 PM on February 20, 2003


The front page of the Wall Street Journal features a story which explains that certain Marines are chosen as "canaries," that is, the first to take off their masks on the battlefield to make sure the air is safe for the others. It's because they don't have much faith in the detecting equipment. I wonder if the chickens are better? Of course, this is all relevant if they don't die of heat stroke first.

The WSJ story requires paid access.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:07 PM on February 20, 2003


Speaking of chemical weapons: "The North Korean ship that last year delivered Scud missiles to Yemen transferred a large shipment of chemical weapons material from Germany to North Korea recently, U.S. intelligence officials said."
posted by homunculus at 2:10 PM on February 20, 2003


What if reports of ill-equiped troops are disinformation?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:30 PM on February 20, 2003


What if reports of ill-equiped troops are disinformation?

Then obviously, WAR IS THE ANSWER!!!
posted by goethean at 3:01 PM on February 20, 2003


Day by day, The Wild Shore becomes more and more plausible. I'd so prefer Pacific Edge.
posted by y2karl at 3:34 PM on February 20, 2003


What if reports of ill-equiped troops are disinformation?

What if the CIA is posting on weblogs to subvert public opinion? WAR!
posted by owillis at 7:25 PM on February 20, 2003


It's a little irresponsible to downplay the effects of "Gulf War Syndrome". Hussein has some nasty nerve and bio-gasses and has used them against Kurds, Kuwaitis, and fellow Iraqis. Even during the Gulf War, by bombing his underground bunkers, the airborne gasses poisoned American troops who were downwind of them, thus: Gulf War poisoning, nerve damage and birth defects to U.S. troops and their families.

Depleted uranium is very hard, and is no more dangerous than bullets, which are made of lead.
posted by hama7 at 12:40 AM on February 21, 2003


I'm gonna side with the skeptical soldiers on this one. I've seen the compassionate bent of our current leadership and am not prone to trust anyone's life in their hands. After all, they can always bulldoze the dead and contaminated soldiers into a pit and burn them, right? Good call Rummy! NOT
posted by nofundy at 8:49 AM on February 21, 2003


wait... I thought we shouldn't go to war because Saddam doesn't have any chemical/bio weapons? Now I'm confused...
posted by gyc at 6:01 PM on February 21, 2003


What if the CIA is posting on weblogs to subvert public opinion? WAR!

First Clinton is a CIA informant while at Oxford, now owillis mentions the CIA blogging to throw suspicion away from him... hmmm...
posted by Plunge at 9:48 PM on February 21, 2003


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