News

 

DATE=        MARCH 10, 1998
TYPE=        EDITORIAL
NUMBER=      0-07683
TITLE=       EDITORIAL:  IRAQ'S USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

CONTENT=THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 
MARCH 10, 1998.

ANNCR:
THE VOICE OF AMERICA PRESENTS DIFFERING POINTS OF VIEW ON A WIDE 
VARIETY OF ISSUES.  NEXT, AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

VOICE:

    CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE FIRST USED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR.  THE
EFFECTS WERE SO GHASTLY THAT IN 1925 MOST NATIONS AGREED NEVER TO
USE THEM AGAIN.  WITH LIMITED EXCEPTIONS, THIS BAN HELD UNTIL THE
1980S. IT WAS THEN THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN'S IRAQ BEGAN USING 
CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN ITS WAR AGAINST IRAN.

    IN 1984, IRAQ BECAME THE FIRST NATION TO USE A NERVE AGENT ON
THE BATTLEFIELD WHEN IT DEPLOYED TABUN-FILLED BOMBS.  TABUN KILLS
WITHIN MINUTES.  MORE THAN FIVE-THOUSAND IRANIANS WERE KILLED 
WITH THIS CHEMICAL WEAPON.  IN ADDITION, SOME SIXTEEN-THOUSAND 
IRANIANS WERE REPORTED KILLED BY IRAQI MUSTARD GAS BETWEEN AUGUST
1983 AND FEBRUARY 1986.  THE VICTIMS OF SADDAM'S CHEMICAL WEAPONS
ATTACKS ALSO INCLUDED HUNDREDS OF IRAQI KURDS -- MEN, WOMEN AND 
CHILDREN -- GRUESOMELY KILLED IN THE TOWN OF HALABJA IN MARCH 
1988.

    THE WORLD WAS SLOW TO RECOGNIZE THE MENACE OF IRAQI CHEMICAL 
WEAPONS.  BUT AFTER THE INVASION OF KUWAIT WAS REVERSED IN 1991, 
THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL INSISTED THAT IRAQ ELIMINATE 
ALL ITS PROGRAMS TO PRODUCE CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, OR NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS AND THE BALLISTIC MISSILES TO DELIVER THEM.  SINCE THEN, 
U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS HAVE UNCOVERED AND DESTROYED MASSIVE 
AMOUNTS OF CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONRY -- DESPITE IRAQI 
EFFORTS TO OBSTRUCT THEIR WORK.  BUT THE INSPECTORS ESTIMATE THAT
IRAQ STILL HAS ENOUGH MATERIAL TO FILL SOME THIRTY THOUSAND 
ARTILLERY SHELLS AND ROCKETS WITH NERVE GAS AND MUSTARD GAS.  
IRAQ COULD ALSO PRODUCE LARGE QUANTITIES OF ANTHRAX AND OTHER 
DEADLY BIOLOGICAL AGENTS.

    AN IRAQ ARMED WITH SUCH WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION POSES AN 
UNACCEPTABLE RISK TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.  THAT IS WHY, AS 
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON SAID, "IRAQ MUST FULFILL -- WITHOUT 
OBSTRUCTION OR DELAY -- ITS COMMITMENT TO OPEN ALL OF THE NATION 
TO THE INTERNATIONAL WEAPONS INSPECTORS -- ANY PLACE, ANYTIME, 
WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONS, DEADLINES, EXCUSES."  AS THE U-N SECURITY
COUNCIL MADE CLEAR IN ITS LATEST RESOLUTION, "ANY VIOLATION WOULD
HAVE SEVEREST CONSEQUENCES FOR IRAQ."

ANNCR:

    THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED 
STATES GOVERNMENT.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE, 
PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, VOICE OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D-C, 
20547, U-S-A.  YOU MAY ALSO SEND YOUR COMMENTS THROUGH OUR 
INTERNET SITE AT WWW-DOT-VOA-DOT-GOV-SLASH-EDITORIALS, OR SEND US
A FAX AT (202) 619-1043.  YOUR COMMENTS MAY BE USED ON THE AIR.

09-Mar-98 1:55 PM EST (1855 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.