June 23, 2006

MUSTARD GAS

I've heard some people are dismissing the "WMDs" that were found in Iraq because they're old. Actually, when I did some googling, I found that Fox and CNN interpreted an AP article quite differently.

Fox:

A defense official told FOX News that the weapons probably can't be used in their current form because of their age, but the report notes that they are still hazardous and possibly lethal to coalition forces.

CNN:

A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the weapons were not considered likely to be dangerous because of their age.

Those convey considerably different meaning, huh?

Anyway, Kalroy reminded me of an email he sent me two years ago. An old WWII round was found off the coast of Delaware in 2004. When EOD came in to detonate the 11-inch round, the mustard agent was released. And this is what happened to the EOD person who came in contact with the round...

(Be forewarned that this photo is disturbing.)

I don't mean to gross anyone out; I know I haven't been able to get this image out of my mind for the past two years. But this round was obviously not too old to be dangerous. I don't know any specifics on the rounds that have been found in Iraq, but if an 11-inch round that's 60 years old can do this to someone who was opening it in a controlled situation, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to say that these rounds in Iraq are too old to be used as weapons. I know I wouldn't want to take my chances.


(Thanks to Kal for reminding me of this and providing the information. I'm also glad you're not working in this field anymore!)

Posted by: Sarah at 11:02 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 293 words, total size 2 kb.

1 You know, what I wish I could find, but doesn't appear in anything I've read, is whether or not the sarin and other nerve gases were in binary form. If the sarin was already mixed, then it would be badly degraded by now and wouldn't be very effective. Poisonous to be sure, but sarin doesn't last very long unless it's quite pure, and I don't think Iraq had that sort of quality control. Binary mixtures are another matter. Those can last a very long time, and the impurities and degredation that can occur won't interfere if you mix the two together, you just don't get as much sarin, but the sarin that is made is good to go and ready to inhibit cholinesterase.

Posted by: Jason at June 24, 2006 07:45 AM (NFg0d)

2 Oh my God! They found mustard gas in Iraq! Holy Shit!!! This war WAS worth it! Thank God Thank God Thank God we got rid of Saddam and tore Iraq to shit before he could have used that mustard gas! Personally though, I think we should be more worried about Jason's peculiarly in-depth knowledge on the matter.

Posted by: Will at June 24, 2006 04:55 PM (eIQfa)

3 Maybe you should. Given sufficient fissile material, I could even build a nuclear weapon. Perhaps that knowledge will keep you up late at night, as it is certain that others have worked hard to ensure you exist in a content free cocoon.

Posted by: Jason at June 25, 2006 08:07 AM (NFg0d)

4 Well, we know that the liquid sarin produced in the US during the 50's and the 60's is still viable, as are many of the weapon systems containing them (though others are currently leaking). I don't think that it would be beyond the pale to assume that Iraq could produce a similar quality agent in the 90's that the US could produce twenty to thirty years before that. Consider that Iraq also had access to much better equipment during the 80's and 1990 that the US had in the early 50's and even during the 60's. Kalroy

Posted by: Kalroy at June 25, 2006 10:54 AM (9RG5y)

5 It's a proven hoax by nutcase Santorum. Have some more koolaid http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13480264/

Posted by: Question at June 25, 2006 01:17 PM (n17hK)

6 Question -- how is this statement, taken from your link, different from the quotes I provided? "We were able to determine that [the missile] is, in fact, degraded and ... is consistent with what we would expect from finding a munition that was dated back to pre-Gulf War," an intelligence official told NBC. "However, even in the degraded state, our assessment is that they could pose an up-to-lethal hazard if used in attacks against coalition forces." Your link just said the exact same thing my post said...

Posted by: Sarah at June 25, 2006 02:22 PM (YL5y0)

7 My cocoon is anything but content free. Watch the film An Inconvenient Truth and you'll know what I mean. I realize that it's probably only playing in metropolitan areas, but you can probably pirate it from bitTorrent or something. (I have no qualms about the movie industry losing money.) Speaking of being up late and content free environments though, I've heard that it is unwise to eat gassy foods right before going to bed in a closed room. Apparently you could suffocate. It's happened. Anyway, good luck with the nukes Jason.

Posted by: Will at June 26, 2006 11:52 AM (eIQfa)

8 P.S. Does the old WW2 shell they found with mustard gas in it mean that Delaware was also concealing WMDs? I've always thought as much, but I never had the proof to say so. Anyway, I think it's a little beside the point now. Delaware was annexed to spread democracy to the region, not relieve it of shells from past wars.

Posted by: Will at June 26, 2006 11:57 AM (eIQfa)

9 Sarah it's different in that you implied that Santorum's cynical election-time stunt was a general justification of the WMD malarky, for instance when you wrote "And this fact somewhat justifies the president; I have no idea why he wouldn't want to put it out there." Along the way compared Bush to Lincoln. Both are loony tune concepts. It might be better for your eventual sanity that you grasp, and given your political leanings, that you celebrate the fact that the administration lied and manipulated its way into attacking and invading a country because of a pre-existing plan to do just that. The truth is the WMD were a sort of Gulf of Tonkin or Gleiwitz incident, as hard as that is to face up to.

Posted by: question at June 27, 2006 05:38 AM (n17hK)

10 I'd have to say that with my limited experience of 26 years in and around the military that the claims about mustard gas shells being degraded is at best a red herring. As you can see from that photo, it's a nasty, nasty substance that might not get better with age however is starts out pretty durned good when you think about the intent. I don't think that it should be difficult to noodle things through that Saddam was a threat to the region and all will be better off without him. As to Will's assessment...might want to stop by Wal*Mart to pick up some more foil. Seems as if your hat might be slipping a bit. See you on the high ground! MajorDad1984

Posted by: MajorDad1984 at June 28, 2006 01:50 AM (j7S/Q)

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