Iraq: January 16, 2003

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UN arms inspectors found a dozen chemical warheads for 122mm artillery rockets. The Iraqi's protested that the 122mm warheads weren't loaded, never were loaded, and were not intended for use in delivering chemical weapons, so Iraq didn't have to declare them. But this ignores the fact that you don't load chemical warheads until you need them. Otherwise you have the long term risk of unused warheads leaking, and eventually having to destroy them. This is a dangerous and expensive process. It's cheaper and safer to keep the chemical (nerve gas or mustard gas) safely stored separately from the warheads. An empty warhead has no other purpose, for conventional warheads are filled with high explosive at the factory. The warheads were found in newly built ammo bunkers in southern Iraq. The 122mm artillery rocket is a standard Russian weapon, meant to be fired in large numbers (dozens or hundreds) simultaneously, to cover a large target area with explosions, or chemical weapons. In a second incident, an Iraqi scientist was found with undeclared weapons development documents at an undeclared site (his home.) The scientist was later questioned by UN inspectors, with Iraqi officials listening in. 

 

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