by EAW Sends Letter to Rumsfeld on June 6 –
Dear Mr. Rumsfeld
In the June 9, 2003 edition of US News and World Reports, Bruce B. Auster, Mark Mazzette and Edward T. Pound reveal serious internal questions about the quality – even the veracity – of the arguments used to justify the US invasion of Iraq.
This article raises troubling issues that understandably disturb most Americans – particularly the families of soldiers who lost their lives or suffered injuries during this campaign.
But there is one sentence in this investigative article that deeply concerns us as environmentalists. It is as follows:
“War planners used the intelligence when targeting suspected weapons of mass destruction sites.”
EAW had not been aware that the Pentagon’s target list for Operation Iraqi Freedom included targets suspected of containing chemical and biological agents.
As the 1991 incident at ?? demonstrated, blowing up facilities that contain toxic agents does not destroy these dangerous materials — such attacks generally cause the release and spread of these toxins.
The USNWR goes on to report that “bomb-damage assessments found that none of the targets contained chemical or biological weapons.”
EAW would like to request a copy of the Pentagon’s bomb damage assessments for these specific sites and a list of all sites suspected of containing WMDs that were placed on the US/UK target lists.
EAW has already filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the target list for OIF, as well as the target lists for the 1991 and 1998 attacks on Iraq.
Could you also please provide us with the Defense Departments guidelines and protocols for determining when it is appropriate to target such sites and the reasons that would justify taking the risk of releasing these dangerous toxins into the environment? What kinds of chemical, biological and nuclear targets are allowed? What kinds of targets are not considered candidates for attack because of the inherent danger of releasing chemical, biological or readiological contaminants?
We would also like to know what safeguards are taken to minimize the dangers when the military targets such sites. Are downwind civilian populations given warnings? Are there plans to provide exposed populations with subsequent health monitoring and care?