Saturday, March 17, 2007

John McCain Doesn't Know What He Believes, and Iraqi Insurgents Use Chemical Weapons

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Just what the country needs: a candidate who doesn't know what he believes until his staff tells him.

Looks like Iraqi insurgents now have the chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein did not have anymore when the U.S. invaded four years ago. They're low-tech -- trucks carrying tanks of chlorine are rigged with explosives and detonated -- but very effective:

Three suicide bombers driving chlorine-laden trucks struck in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, killing two policemen and forcing about 350 Iraqi civilians and six U.S. troops to seek treatment for exposure to the gas, the military said Saturday.

The attacks came after back-to-back bombings last month released chlorine gas, prompting the U.S. military to warn that insurgents are adopting new tactics in a campaign to spread panic.

Just after 4 p.m. Friday, a driver detonated explosives in a pickup truck northeast of Ramadi, wounding one U.S. service member and one Iraqi civilian, the military said in a statement.

That was followed by a similar explosion involving a dump truck south of Fallujah in Amiriyah that killed two policemen and left as many as 100 local citizens showing signs of chlorine exposure, with symptoms ranging from minor skin and lung irritations to vomiting, the military said.

Less than 10 miles away, another suicide bomber detonated a dump truck containing a 200-gallon chlorine tank rigged with explosives at 7:13 p.m., also south of Fallujah in the Albu Issa tribal region, the military said. U.S. forces responded to the attack and found about 250 local civilians, including seven children, suffering from symptoms related to chlorine exposure, according to the statement.

Insurgents have detonated three other trucks carrying chlorine canisters since late January.

American military sources are saying Al Qaeda carried out the attacks:

Militant groups have shifted the nature and locales of their attacks as the United States and Iraq deploy additional troops to suppress violence in Baghdad under a month-old security plan.

While no insurgents asserted responsibility for Friday's bombings, an American military spokesman in Baghdad said the chlorine blasts bore the hallmark of the Sunni extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has fought U.S. and Iraqi forces for control of Anbar province.

"We have seen al-Qaeda in Iraq use this type of tactic to scare the population and use it as a terror weapon," said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver .

Shiite militias, once seen by the U.S. military as the biggest threat to Iraq's stability, have stood down as the security plan has been implemented, but Sunni insurgents have asserted themselves. They have taken responsibility in the past two months for devastating car bombings in Baghdad and the downing of six U.S. helicopters.

Ace seems to think the attacks are good news.


The Xsociate said...

My concern, which seems to get little or no attention, is the potential for such low tech attacks to be carried out inside the US. In fact, with the lack of any meaningful security reform of our chemical industry, there are hundreds of places where one well placed bomb or grenade could wreak havoc on the surrounding population.

Kathy said...

This is an excellent point. And I'd like to learn more about the security problems with our chemical industry. Can you suggest any Internet resources?