Saturday, September 11, 2004

Chemical weapons in Iraq and the US

They destroyed a rocket at UMCADS on Wednesday. An M55 sarin gas filled rocket. It was just one rocket among 100,000 stored in the Oregon desert countryside. You’d never know what was there when driving down the freeway, but it’s there. It’s not hidden, not secret, and not forgotten about, it’s simply lost in the minds of most people who don’t know about it, or can’t be bothered about it. But not everyone is oblivious to it. Several hundred make their living in the quest to destroy all of it. To rid their country of a heinous weapon made necessary by our country’s enemies.

It was only one rocket, and a few more the next day. But each and every one makes a difference. Each and every rocket destroyed is one less piece of chemical weaponry on the face of this planet.

One rocket among thousands. Not a big deal, but it’s a start. This got me to thinking about Iraq where several dozen chemical weapons have been destroyed. Each and every one of them brings the world just that much closer to having all of it gone. Unlike the American stockpiles no one knows how much chemical agent weapons are in Iraq. All we know for sure is that there was once a lot of it. Other than the several dozens that have been destroyed by Coalition forces, only a few know what happened to it all, and they aren’t telling anyone. Whether because it was moved to another terror-enabling country, or whether because they have their own plans for it is known only to them.

What is known is that it existed and there is no sign that it was ever destroyed. These several dozen are the first steps. So far in Iraq more chemical weapons have been destroyed than at UMCADS and UMCADS has been in the works for a decade. The situations are not analogous, however, as at UMCADS it is all accounted for and the decade has been devoted to construction and continuing to progress despite Environmentalists opposition (those who can’t see any way but their experimental way).

It may be decades before Saddam’s stockpiles of chemical weapons are ever accounted for, it took half a century to find the weapon and fighter stockpile under the Berlin airport, and there are likely hundreds of chemical weapons off the coast of the US that haven’t been found. It doesn’t mean none of it existed while we knew nothing about it. A young airman found that out the hard way.

We know it has been over a decade under UN authority and none of it was accounted for. Under Coalition authority we have found more than the UN ever did, and as a pleasant side-effect the Coalition has prevented the future murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whereas under UN authority hundreds of thousands were murdered.

The Coalition is doing something useful in the world, just like the chem. Demil workers at UMCADS, one piece at a time.


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