May 17, 2004

Alright, Who's Making Sarin

We all know that there were no WMD in Iraq, right? I mean all the papers have told us that so it must be true. So this means that somebody's making chemical shells and importing them into Iraq. But not Saddam. No, he destroyed all those shells before the Gulf War. We have reams of UN paperwork to prove it.

Nope, no chem weapons here.

OK, sarcasm mode turned off.

From what I understand, we've got our first minor military casualties (2 bomb disposal techs) from chemical warfare since WW I. That ticks me off. The normal caveats apply to the story. It could be a false alarm. There have been a few false positives already. But the drugs they use to treat exposure to chemical weapons are a witches brew of nasty stuff that you do not want to have running around your system unless you absolutely have to. This story bears close watching because if Saddam did bury/export the stuff and we're starting to see it emerge it is both incredibly worrying and incredibly heartening.

The reason to worry is the health and safety of the troops both Coalition and Iraqi (and whatever unlucky civilians get caught downwind of the stuff). This is nasty stuff and rightly outlawed decades ago. But the encouraging thing is that the burial/export scenario was always predicated on the idea that getting caught with the stuff was politically more dangerous than it was worth against protected troops. If this scenario is right and they're digging it up now, it's a desperation tactic and the other side has made the judgment that if the US doesn't funk out and very soon but instead stays the course, they cannot win and any political viability issues for them become moot.

Pulling the WMD out and using them has always been the nightmare scenario of a dying regime. This is why nobody seriously models invading a nuclear power. The end game is depressingly familiar. When the loser is pushed into the corner sufficiently he'll unload all his weapons, nukes, chem, bio, the works because he's got nothing to lose. If that's where we are at, we are likely to have a spike in WMD casualties and soon after, a final victory.

Posted by TMLutas at May 17, 2004 12:11 PM