Tuesday, April 8
Hunt for smoking gun still goes on
Alison Hardie & James Doherty, News. Scotsman.com, April 8, 2003
UNEARTHING and disarming Saddam Hussein of hidden stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons is a central plank in the moral case for war.
Yesterday, the allies were all but certain that they had stumbled across the evidence they have been looking for with the discovery of what, on initial examination, appeared to be a horde of nerve agents. [...]
Initial tests had reportedly detected traces of sarin - a powerful toxin that quickly affects the nervous system - after US soldiers guarding a facility near Hindiyah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, became ill.
But the coalition was quickly forced on the back heel as it emerged that the weapons of mass destruction they had uncovered were something much more innocent.
The chemicals found at the facility near Baghdad turned out to contain nothing more lethal than pesticide, not nerve agents, as has previously been claimed.
Captain Adam Mastrianni, a military intelligence officer for the US 101st Airborne Division’s aviation brigade, said that after comprehensive tests, all that had been discovered was pesticide. [...]