March 4, 2003 ó If U.S. forces go to war against Iraq, they will try to secure Iraqi chemical and biological weapons depots, rather than bomb them
from the air as they did in the 1991 Gulf War, a senior U.S. military officer said Monday.
The bombings of weapons storage areas inside Iraq sent plumes of chemical agents wafting over U.S. troops during the Gulf War, a hazard that was not
fully recognized until years later when it was investigated as a possible cause of mysterious ailments suffered by veterans of the conflict.
In light of those lessons, the army has studied how to identify and secure chemical or biological weapons storage areas if the United States goes to
war with Iraq again, said Major General John Doesburg, head of the army's chemical and biological defense command.
"We'd like to secure a site first because we want to fully investigate," he said. "Our experience from the Gulf War is that (Iraqi President)
Saddam Hussein mixed things in his depots and weapons storage sites," he said.
"You don't want to make any mistakes, and say it's purely conventional munitions and miss the chemical munitions. You don't want to say it's
chemical munitions and find that it's a majority of conventional munitions," he said at a Pentagon briefing. "You want to understand fully what's
there before you take remediation," he said.
Instead of depots, the military will be targeting Iraq's means of delivering chemical or biological weapons, Doesburg said. Aerial spraying or
bombs, missiles and artillery are Iraq's most common means of delivering deadly agents. Iraqi special operations forces may also be capable of using
chemical or biological agents, although in much smaller quantities, said Doesburg.
"From an operational perspective, there are a lot of things you can track that give you indicators that they are getting ready to employ," he
Battlefield preparations by Iraqi forces, including the use of protective gear, are among the tip-offs that U.S. military intelligence looks for.
Link - dsc.discovery.com...