A new report says the Bush administration concealed the discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq that had been developed with U.S. support in the 1980s — and then denied medical care to the wounded American soldiers involved. According to The New York Times, U.S. troops secretly reported finding more than 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or bombs after the 2003 invasion. All of the chemical weaponry predated 1991, just one year after Saddam Hussein stopped being a U.S. ally and recipient of the Western military aid that helped build his arsenal. At least 17 American and six Iraqi troops were wounded in their handling of the munitions in six separate incidents between 2004 and 2011. The weapons’ existence was kept from the troops entering those areas, and officials denied the victims the care they needed. One soldier talked about his health problems as a result of chemical exposure.
Andrew Goldman: “I still have residual blisters every now and then. I still have a lot of trouble breathing. I have a constant headache. I haven’t not had a headache since 2008 … Only thing I can think of is politics. Doesn’t jive with the story they wanted.”
In addition to raising new questions about the neglect of soldiers’ health and the Bush administration’s false pretext for going to war, the disclosure also carries implications for Iraq’s ongoing crisis. The Islamic State now controls most of the territory where the chemical weapons were found.