DO YOU THINK SADDAM WOULDN'T DO THIS TO US?: This article from the New Yorker is very difficult to read. It describes the horrors of Saddam's use of mustard gas against the Kurds in Halabja in 1988, and I found it via Lagniappe, an excellent medical/chemistry blog. Here's an excerpt:

"On the road to Anab, many of the women and children began to die," Nouri told me. "The chemical clouds were on the ground. They were heavy. We could see them." People were dying all around, he said. When a child could not go on, the parents, becoming hysterical with fear, abandoned him. "Many children were left on the ground, by the side of the road. Old people as well. They were running, then they would stop breathing and die."

And another:

Nasreen would live, the doctors said, but she kept a secret from Bakhtiar [her husband]: "When I was in the hospital, I started menstruating. It wouldn't stop. I kept bleeding. We don't talk about this in our society, but eventually a lot of women in the hospital confessed they were also menstruating and couldn't stop." Doctors gave her drugs that stopped the bleeding, but they told her that she would be unable to bear children.

Nasreen stayed in Iran for several months, but eventually she and Bakhtiar returned to Kurdistan. She didn't believe the doctors who told her that she would be infertile, and in 1991 she gave birth to a boy. "We named him Arazoo," she said. Arazoo means hope in Kurdish. "He was healthy at first, but he had a hole in his heart. He died at the age of three months."

How about this:

Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, who led the campaigns against the Kurds in the late eighties, was heard on a tape captured by rebels, and later obtained by Human Rights Watch, addressing members of Iraq's ruling Baath Party on the subject of the Kurds. "I will kill them all with chemical weapons!" he said. "Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them! The international community and those who listen to them."

Saddam Hussein and his cronies are evil, and even if it were plausable that our own security isn't at stake, I would be willing to take him out.
(Update: Here is the first article in a five-part series that Derek Lowe has written about chemical weapons in general.)



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