A report released Tuesday states that The United States found chemical weapons in Iraq after the 2003 invasion but kept the discovery secret as they were not the “weapons of mass destruction” that they were looking for.
The New York Times reported that several U.S. forces stumbled upon hidden caches of warheads, shells and artillery across Iraq between 2004 and 2011.
This information was not made public because the abandoned weapons in question were long dormant since the 1980’s and embarrassingly, not the level of chemical weapons that the U.S. invaded Iraq for. The weapons still posed a risk to our troops and the people of Iraq. The chemicals discovered consisted of nerve agent sarin, burning agent mustard gas, and Borak rockets.
At least 17 American troops severely injured after being exposed to the chemicals when attempting to detonate or transport the chemical munition.
Jarrod Taylor, a former Army sergeant on hand for the destruction of mustard shells that burned two soldiers in his infantry company, joked of “wounds that never happened” from “that stuff that didn’t exist.” “I love it when I hear ‘’Oh there weren’t any chemical weapons in Iraq…There were plenty.”
CBS News reports the soldiers had orders to keep the discovery secret. Injured soldiers were to say they were exposed to “industry chemicals” and as a result, denied of proper medical treatment in hospitals.
The government said that the chemicals, as they have already expired, are nothing of significance. Some weapons were destroyed to prevent militants from using them, but others were left behind. Many of the caches are still in the areas located near or in the territories now held by the Islamic State.
This now poses high risks, The Times reported, as the Islamic State gained control of the Muthanna State Establishment, the center of the Iraqi chemical agent production in the 1980’s.