U.S. military prepares for potential chemical weapons in Syria

82nd-airborne-e1374196047194[US prepares to invade Syria under pretext of securing weapons of mass destruction. We’ve seen this movie before. G. W. Bush used the same excuse in Iraq. If it worked once.. Imperialists aren’t very creative. — NP]

U.S. military prepares for potential chemical weapons in Syria

(CBSNEWS)

About 1,500 paratroopers dropped out of the night sky from an altitude of just 800 feet, bringing with them nearly 190,000 pounds of equipment. They were the first of some 4,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division parachuting into an exercise designed in part to prepare for the worst in Syria.

After seizing an airfield in the woods of North Carolina, they launched a helicopter assault on a compound where, for purposes of this exercise, chemical agents were believed to be stored. Their mission: get to the chemicals before they fall into the hands of terrorists who would use them against Americans.

Maj. Gen. John Nicholson is commander of the 82nd. “As we look at the evolving situation — Syria and other places around the world — we’re preparing to deal with the reality of securing chemical weapons,” he said.

 In one exercise, they found one of the components for the deadly nerve agent VX

So how do chemical weapons change the operation?

“Chemical weapons are not something we’ve encountered in the last ten years of counterinsurgency,” explained Nicholson. “So there’s many dimensions to the issue of securing chemical stockpiles that we’re working through right now.”

Nicholson acknowledges that chemical weapons make it a more dangerous situation. “We want to minimize the risk to our paratroopers … and then how do we deal with the potential hazards to the locals in that area, to the civilians,” he said.

The paratroopers would keep everybody else away until experts arrived to decontaminate the site and arrange for the disposal of the chemicals.

Asked if he has special units trained and equipped to handle chemical weapons, Nicholson replied: “We do in the United States Army and they’re out here training with us right now,” he said.

It’s been a decade since U.S. forces went into Iraq looking for chemical weapons. They didn’t find any, but the threat is back — this time in Syria. If U.S. forces are ever sent on another chemical weapons hunt, it will be the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne.

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