Skip to comments.Third Infantry Finds Chemical Weapons
Posted on 03/26/2003 12:45:20 PM PST by Freedomsfriend
"What I just heard from a highly placed source here is that they've discovered, they've captured chemical warheads, they're Russian, they have Russian writing all over them and they are chemical warheads."
CBN.com The Third Infantry Division has captured evidence of chemical weapons as they are fighting Iraqs Republican Guard just 60 miles south of Baghdad. The evidence has yet to be confirmed, but CBN News War Correspondent Paul Strand delivered this exclusive information by satellite phone early Wednesday. PAT ROBERTSON: We are going to our CBN News War Correspondent Paul Strand, embedded with the Army's Third Infantry Division. That's the spearhead of the attack against Baghdad. Paul, we understand you have some shocking news about chemical warheads. Tell us about it.
PAUL STRAND: Yes, Pat, I do. First of all, I hope you can hear me because I am out in that raging sandstorm and its hard to hear you. I hope you hear me okay. What I just heard from a highly placed source here is that they've discovered, they've captured chemical warheads, they're Russian, they have Russian writing all over them and they are chemical warheads. Of course, they can't get into them and find out if theres chemicals because once they open them they'd all die right there on the spot. But they're gonna ship them off for testing.
They also captured a launcher that was able to shoot these very munitions that they've captured. And theyve captured a man who mixes the chemicals, that was his job with the Medina Division which is the division we're facing right now near the city of Karbala. So all these things leading the military here to believe we might have been hit by chemical shells any time now, and we're not sure we've got them all. So those are the developments here near Karbala about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
ROBERTSON: Paul, I can hear you loud and clear, so don't worry about that. Let me ask you this, are these the type of weapons of mass destruction that has been talked about so much by President Bush?
STRAND: Im not sure, Pat. Ive told you just everything I heard. It happened just a few minutes ago. I would think this is definitely the smoking gun. Its so strange, because the joke before this war was that Saddam says, "I have no chemical weapons, and if you invade I will use them on you." And now we find out theyre right out there with the frontline troops.
And another disturbing thing I heard a few days ago, was that he has pushed the level of authority for using these weapons down to the commander level. Not up around him, but the very commanders out on the line, they can use these things, they can choose to use them. So that means young officers have the orders now that they can go ahead and use these things if they feel like they are about to be overtaken. So thats another disturbing development. Not only have we found the warheads, but officers out on the frontline can use them.
ROBERTSON: Paul, are you protected against this kind of thing? Will your suits do it and do you have some kind of an injection that can be used to counteract the effects of VX or whatever?
STRAND: Yes, Pat. We already, from the day we entered Iraq, we have had the suits on, the trousers and the pants, and boots, and gloves, and then we put the masks on. The mask fully protects us and the hood wraps around it tightly. And then we have in our backpacks, we have atropine we can shoot into our legs against nerve agents, we have pills to take against things like anthrax. So were pretty well covered. And the soldiers I have talked to seem very comfortable about getting hit with this stuff. The only thing is nobody wants to live in those masks for weeks.
ROBERTSON: Paul, I am told that the sandstorm may be the worst in recent memory, you know, in the last 17 or 18 years. Can you tell us about the sandstorm? Is it growing in intensity?
STRAND: It is about the worst weather I have ever felt in my life. Last night I was sleeping outdoors like usual, and it was so bad I jumped into a Humvee. There, with all of the windows closed and everything, the Humvee just filled with sand, there was so much sand it just came in through the little air holes or whatever. And the wind was so strong, it felt like the Humvee would get picked up and thrown over and you know, Humvees are big, strong, giant vehicles. Stuff was flying through the air, smashing into the side of the vehicle all night long. And the air is completely yellow. You can't see any normal light, you cant see the sky. It got dark like an hour before it was supposed to. Its just truly an amazing sandstorm.
ROBERTSON: The Iraqis are saying its the judgment of Allah upon the attackers. Are we finding any bright spots in it for the American troops?
STRAND: We are. The soldiers have so much gear that can operate in this kind of thing that they say actually some obscuring factors like this can help them. Now the thing is, the battle has been raging in Karbala, back and forth, so both sides seem to be still operating in this environment. But I understand if it does go away here in the next day or two, that we will just really smash ahead as hard as we can. You know, I must admit, the first thing I said when the sandstorm came in, a lieutenant and I were sitting in the Humvee with it roaring all around us, and I said, "Its at a moment like this that a theologian asks, What is God trying to tell us?"
ROBERTSON: [laughter] Paul, I think a lot of people are going to be asking that. This is kind of a trite statement, but as they say, stay safe.
IF this is true, one hell of a shoe just dropped.
The Russians are certainly capable of mixing up much more potent stuff than mustard gas--like VX, or, I hear, the even more deadly Novichok.
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