View Full Version : Anyone with Chemistry major?
07-12-2003, 04:47 PM
I just got into a debate about Iraq's WMD in other forum. For some people, it seems to become article of faith that WMD were *destroyed* before American went in, obviously to justify the assertion that Iraq had large quantity of chemical weapon.
I think they are confusing chemical with something like paper which burn easily or paper "evidence" which can be shredded. Personally, it think idea is bit off. If you can get rid of chemcal by just buring it, or mixing it with other chemical, why do we have to worry about toxic waste of our industry in the first place?
Having said it, i'm not chemical engineer so if someone know more about it, i appreciate more technical insight.
Is it possible to *destroy* chemical weapon. If it can, how long the process takes. Is it possible to do this without being detected from satelite suveilance. And most importantly, can this be done without leaving large quantity of chemical residue?
I am interested in this also. It is my understanding that the process to destroy WOMD is quite involved,(just as involved as creating them),and that they could not have been destroyed "just before" the coallition forces invaded.
Is that true?
07-12-2003, 06:18 PM
Well, given a big enough and hot enough incinerator you can destroy just about anything. Haven't seen any of those sitting around recently in Iraq have we?
On the other hand, once you put your stuff in suitable containers you can bury it just about anyplace you want for an extremely long time. If I had 500 gallons of nerve gas I could put it in 50 drums and bury them in two or three places and you could spend the next few decades trying to find them. Doesn't mean they don't exist, you just can't find them.
07-12-2003, 06:40 PM
Or it doesn't exist. A possibility some people refuse to see. :D
07-12-2003, 07:39 PM
Well, sure, that is a possibility, but what are the odds.?
Considering that it is an accepted fact that previously not only did Iraq possess chemical weapons but actually used them extensively, the default position is that they still maintained a stockpile of them. Proof would then be necessary to show that they had been disposed of - such proof has never been given. As compliance with that and other UN resolutions would have enabled Iraq to begin selling vast quantities of oil on the open market and jump start their economy, there was substantial motive to comply. They never did and instead played games and tried to show that there was none left to be found, not that it had been destroyed.
Logic says that chemical and nerve agents exist in substantial quantities in Iraq, they are merely well hidden. Sooner or later they will come to light, or be used by Iraqi Baath Party loyalists against US and UK troops.
07-13-2003, 07:32 AM
I'm not a chemistry major, but I know a little about chemical and biological agents. The quickest way to get rid of most agents in a desert environment would not be by burning, but by simply dumping them over a wide area. The desert is probably the least effective place on earth to use a chemical or biological weapon. The high winds and high temperatures cause rapid dispersal of most chemical agents, and rapidly kill any biological ones. The sand quickly absorbs any liquid dropped on it, and within a day or two will cover most anything - the sandstorms in that part of the world are nothing less than unholy.
If they buried biological agents, unless they buried it in some sort of temperature-controlled container, the agent is dead by now. Due to the heat, the effectivity of most chemical weapons, were they dug up today, is debatable. Most nerve agents just aren't particularly stable and break down easily. I'm not holding my breath that this stuff will be found anytime soon.
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