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Dear list I have a daily column in the Bristol Evening Post which I use to write antiwar, antisanctions pieces. I came up with a useful minor polemical device in response tp the al=Majid 'Chemical Ali' stuff. Full article below. Eric Bristol Evening Post 1 April 2003 'Does Iraq have biological or chemical weapons, will it use them, and with what effects? Iraqi chemical and biological protection suits, gas masks and nerve gas antidotes have been found. British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon called this "categorical proof" that Iraq has chemical weapons. It is not quite so simple. US and British forces have this gear too (indeed, the United States and Britain also have chemical and biological weapons). The equipment may also have been kept to protect against attack by Iran, which used chemical weapons in the 1980s against Iraq. The United States has a few days ago authorised the use of 'non-lethal' gasses in Iraq with the aim of avoiding the civilian casualties that result from conventional weapons. In practice, non-lethal gasses can accidentally kill, as happened with hundreds of Russian civilians taken hostage by Chechen rebels recently. The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention bans the use of these agents in warfare. At the end of the period when Iraq was being disarmed by the UN, some of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons had not been accounted for. These are very old and are likely to have deteriorated into useless goo. Still, perhaps some have survived and perhaps Iraq has secretly produced more. Many sites suspected by the US and British of chemical or biological weapons manufacture have been captured but nothing has been found so far. The media are rightly demonising General Ali Hassan al-Majid as "Chemical Ali" for his role in carrying out gas attacks on the Iraqi Kurds in 1988. There has been no demonising of the Thatcher government which was Majid's "Chemical Ally". The British government knowingly helped Iraq, with taxpayers' subsidy, to build up facilities it expected would be used to produce chemical weapons. When Majid gassed the Kurds the Government was extremely reluctant to condemn the attacks. Although there are fears of another chemical weapon attack on the Kurds, they have not been supplied with protective clothing, gas masks, antidotes and decontamination units. If Iraq does use chemical or biological weapons, how many casualties can they inflict? Fortunately, it is difficult to kill large numbers of people with these weapons. This is because you have to spread them over a wide area which requires you to use either spraying planes or many hundreds of artillery shells. Missiles aren't much use as they contaminate only a small area. So, Iraq almost certainly is incapable of inflicting "mass destruction" with these weapons.' ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 email@example.com http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics/ http://www.ericherring.com/ Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naspir/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk