The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

U.S. Army to get rid of some chemical weapons stored in Maryland for 50 years

Jan 21, 2002

The Army announced in early January that it was going to get rid of a stockpile of mustard gas that it has been storing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground just north of Baltimore. This stockpile has more than three million pounds of this chemical weapon, a known cancer-causing agent.

Mustard gas was one of the first chemical weapons, used extensively in World War I. It was manufactured by the U.S. Army during World War II.

Mustard gas has long been known to burn the skin, cause respiratory problems and cancer. The U.S. Army certainly had no doubts on this matter. It tested it during World War II on at least 4,000 of its own troops. Although, since it wouldn’t admit the testing for decades, the veterans who developed breathing problems or cancers couldn’t get help from the Veterans Administration.

It had other guinea pigs also. When one of its ships carrying mustard gas was sunk, U.S. troops on the ship who were recovered from the water developed blistering skin, stinging eyes, skin lesions and other problems. Within a month 83 U.S. soldiers contaminated in the explosions had died.

Despite knowing the effects of mustard gas, and despite agreeing not to use chemical weapons, the U.S. military still stockpiled tons and tons of mustard gas. Now, of course, it has developed much more deadly weapons and doesn’t need it any more. So, using September 11th as an excuse, it’s decided to dispose of this poisonous stuff they kept around for 50 years.

That certainly shouldn’t make anyone feel any safer!