A US soldier wearing a gas mask
The only chemical weapons US forces found in Iraq between 2004 and 2011 were “designed in the United States” and “manufactured in Europe,” according to a new revealing report.
American and Iraqi troops found, and in multiple cases, were injured by aged and degraded stockpiles of chemical weapons in Iraq, a New York Times investigation, published late Tuesday, has found.
However, the report said, the US withheld information about the discoveries as those weapons were manufactured in the 1980s when the US and its allies were actively supplying chemical agents to Saddam Hussein’s regime during the Iraq-Iran war.
American soldiers discovered more than 4,990 chemical warheads, shells, or aviation bombs in the years following the invasion. Seventeen American soldiers and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve or mustard agents while searching for chemical weapons.
The administration of former US president George W. Bush insisted that Iraq had a clandestine chemical weapons program in defiance of international law, a claim employed to justify the 2003 invasion of the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.
Former US soldiers, who took part in the disposal of the old weapons, told the Times that the Bush administration covered up both their existence and the fact that US service members were exposed because the US was largely responsible for Iraq having chemical weapons in the first place.
“The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale,” the Times reported.
“In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find,” it said.
The investigation also said that some of those US-manufactured chemical weapons were now likely in the hands of ISIL terrorists.