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Earth The Military

Another WW-I Chemical Site In Washington, DC 249

Posted by kdawson
from the fourth-time's-the-charm dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "The AP is reporting that the US Army Corps of Engineers has uncovered what appears to be the fourth major disposal area for World War I-era munitions and chemical weapons in the nation's capital. Digging was suspended at a construction site after 'workers pulled smoking glassware from the pit — preliminary tests show the glassware was contaminated with the toxic chemical arsenic trichloride. ... Workers also discovered a jar about three-quarters full of a dark liquid that turned out to be the chemical agent mustard.' Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY."
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Another WW-I Chemical Site In Washington, DC

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2010 @04:16PM (#31883422)

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

  • by punterjoe (743063) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:15PM (#31883708)
    ...that the nuclear waste dumps we're planning will remain secure - not just for a few generations but for the millenia promised. What could ever happen in the future that we can't anticipate today?
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:43PM (#31883834)

    I once accidentally breathed in a very small amount of chlorine gas.

    I was coughing my lungs up for weeks.

    This gave some very intimate appreciation of the horrors of the gas attacks in the trenches.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:47PM (#31883856) Journal

    Cows grazed near Georgetown until the WW TWO era.

    I bet the munitions were dumped far from the monumental core, in an area the locals thought of as "the sticks". That doesn't excuse it of course, it just explains it.

  • by cusco (717999) <brian,bixby&gmail,com> on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:51PM (#31883868)
    Yes, material that they were attempting to process into fuel for the power plant that Israel bombed. After the power plant was destroyed it was mostly deposited in a facility guarded by armed troops, which is where the inspectors found it, with its documentation, after the first Gulf "War". The inspectors tagged it and left it guarded, until the US forced them out of Iraq before inspections were finished. It was still tagged, guarded and sealed when they returned and attempted to finish the job, but when they were one month from being finished (their estimate) the US threw them out of the country again and invaded.

    The US troops found the facility, right where the inspectors told them it was, the dumb as dirt grunts opened the buildings up, didn't find anything worth stealing, and left the doors (literally) wide open. Then they burned down the administrative offices, with all the material's documentation, hopped back in their hummers and drove off.

    The real tragedy is that local villagers, not knowing what the stuff was, dumped the yellow cake on the ground and stole the barrels for domestic use. Months later visiting reporters found the containers being used for food and water storage, and the entire area horribly contaminated. Here at home it would be declared a disaster area, but in Iraq the occupiers have just left them there to die.

    IIRC, KBR and Bechtel carried out the cleanup of the materials, hiring locals to shovel up yellow cake by hand with no protective equipment.

    Aren't you proud?
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:53PM (#31883880)

    WWI wasn't really a "Good vs. Bad" war. Austrian Duke Ferdinand gets assassinated by the Black Hand, Austria waits a few months before retaliating, resulting in defensive 'hidden treaties' between nearly most of Europe. Prussia and the Austrian empire team up, the rest of Europe says "we pretty much have to protect the Balkans because the retaliation took too long (and now the lay people see it as aggression instead of justice.)" Somehow the Ottomans see it as an opportunity to get back what they lost before, the US supplies arms to all sides of the war until the Zimmerman Telegram. Austria & Prussia go "Oh shit, we don't have enough people," keep fighting until they run out of resources, then get screwed over during the final negotiations (which then leads to an atmosphere where an insane Jew declares a war on Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Gays, and pretty much anyone else he doesn't like)

    So unlike WWII, WWI wasn't really a "Good vs. Bad", unless you consider the Black Hand the bad guys. Of course, my experiences may be a little biased since my heritage consists of growing up in what was considered the Little Germany of the US (and where the local papers were printed in German until the US began fighting in the war.) Also, having songs about "going after those Huns" couldn't possibly have been a form of racist propaganda.

  • by cusco (717999) <brian,bixby&gmail,com> on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:59PM (#31883912)
    Back in the '50s the military lost count of how many 'dial-a-yield' nuclear howitzer rounds they manufactured. IIRC, the best they could do was "8,000-10,000". Removing the powder casing, the warhead is the famous 'backpack nuke' that Victor Bout was supposedly trying to sell before the Brewster Jennings operation was blown by the last Madministration.
  • by Jeremi (14640) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @08:31PM (#31884552) Homepage

    That doesn't mean government being in charge will be any better.

    Assuming the US government can do as good a job as the governments of other first world countries, it should be [commonwealthfund.org].

    Of course, maybe the US will simply fail where so many others have succeeded. That's always a possibility... but if that happens, at least it should put an end to the "US is always the best at everything" triumphalism memes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2010 @10:45PM (#31884978)

    And what of the chemical weapons factories found in Iraq? I suppose you were under the impression the Kurds were just gassed with Helium for a bit of a laugh.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/13/AR2005081300530.html
    https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraqi_mobile_plants/index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#2009_Declaration

    Or do these not count as WMDs, because they're not the nuclear weapons you falsely assumed they would be?

  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @05:14AM (#31885994)
    You've missed the bit where US healthcare is the most expensive in the world due to various insurance scams etc. Removing a lot of the middlemen between the sick and the health care workers actually saves money.
    I'd bet McCain would have tried something similar if he thought he could convince his party - Nixon certainly tried.
    That sick kid from a family that can't afford private healthcare could infect yours, it's only common sense to do something about that.
  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) * on Sunday April 18, 2010 @01:09PM (#31887974) Journal

    The only link you provided that isn't a shrill and biased advocacy website is the BBC one, so it's the only one I bothered to reference. And I find no reference to reinforce your assertions.

    So please take your big lies elsewhere.

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