CHEMICAL DEFENSES COULD AWAIT U.S. TROOPS

Saddam may try to use his unconventional weapons in uncoventional ways. Armies have traditionally unleashed chemical attacks on an enemy, firing toxic bombs or artillery shells at opposing troops. But Saddam may these poisons as defenses, turning Baghdad neighborhoods so toxic that "few would want to venture, even in protective suits," reports the New York Times.Mustard gas and the nerve agent VX "might linger on the battlefield like pools of motor oil on the ground," the paper speculates. The chemicals would maintain their potency for weeks."Iraq used a variation of that tactic in its final offensives in its war with Iran in 1988," the Times notes. "The Iraqis laid down mustard gas behind the Iranian forces, then bombarded the front lines with the short-lived but highly toxic sarin. The goal was to drive the retreating sarin-exposed troops into the mustard trap."THERE'S MORE: "U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad," according to the Associated Press. "But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives."

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