12 Years Later, a Mystery of Chemical Exposure in Iraq Clears Slightly

"The toxic vapors acted quickly against the Second Platoon of the 811th Ordnance Company, whose soldiers were moving abandoned barrels out of an Iraqi Republican Guard warehouse in 2003. The building, one soldier said, was littered with dead birds.

As the soldiers pushed the barrels over and began rolling them, some of the contents leaked, they said, filling the air with a bitter, penetrating smell. Soon, many were dizzy and suffering from running noses and eyes. A few were vomiting, disoriented, tingling or numb.

After the soldiers staggered outside for air, multiple detection tests indicated the presence of nerve agent. Others suggested blister agent, too. The results seemed to confirm the victims’ fear that they had stumbled upon unused stocks of Iraq’s chemical weapons."

C. J. Chivers reports for the New York Times May 14, 2015.


"The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons" (New York Times: 10/14/2014)

Source: NY Times, 05/14/2015