Killing Our Own

A 2001 U.S. Army Audit Agency report revealed that U.S. armed forces are unprepared for encountering chemical and biological weapons. In addition, a 2002 General Accounting Office assessment stated "serious problems still persist" with the Pentagon's efforts to protect soldiers from these weapons. As the U.S. military prepares for a second Gulf war, perhaps they should keep in mind the following statistics.

436,000 U.S. troops in the 1991 Gulf war were exposed to areas contaminated by more than 315 tons of depleted uranium radioactive toxic waste.

250,000 troops received the drug pyridostigmine bromide, which a Pentagon-funded Rand Corporation study "cannot rule out" as linked to Gulf war illnesses.

140,000 U.S. soldiers were exposed to low levels of the nerve agent sarin because they were downwind when U.S. troops blew up Iraqi rockets.

90 percent of the Army's chemical arms monitoring equipment may not be fully operational.

62 percent of the U.S. Army's gas masks may be defective.

Source: U.S. Army Audit Agency, Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2003
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