Friday, April 04, 2003

Explosives not Chemicals

More lies apparently.

American officials have admitted that the thousands of boxes of white powder they seized north of Baghdad are explosives.

The US military and various media outlets had suggested that they may have made the first discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq.

The claim that the Latifiyah complex was "a suspicious site" was made by a US colonel.

He also claimed to have discovered nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents relating to chemicals.

Colonel John Peabody, an engineer brigade commander with the 3rd Infantry Division, had stated troops found thousands of boxes, each of which contained three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic about chemical warfare.

He said they discovered atropine, used to counter the effects of nerve agents.

The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site.

UN inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as February 18

For the record, I've never doubted that Saddam probably has some sort of chemical weapons. Heck, I can brew up some nasty stuff with common household cleaning agents. The issue is whether or not he had "weapons of mass destruction" in the genuine sense - that is, weapons which could kill an immense number of people, quickly, from a distance. At this point, the US could find an ammonia bottle sitting next a bleach bottle and the media will praise Jeebus that Bush had the sense to protect us from that extraordinary danger. But, serious people (just kidding, Matthew) know that most chemical weapons aren't very good at killing a lot of people, quickly, from a distance. Our cruise missiles more fit the definition than do most of the nasty substances they might find (such as Ricin).