Gulf War veteran Jack Morgan served with the 82nd Airborne during the War
Written by Anthony Hardie
(91outcomes.com) – Nearly 20 years after the war, former Army military policeman Jack Morgan, of the Tampa Bay, Fla. area, has released previously unpublished photos of the Khamisiyah, Iraq demolition of conventional and chemical munitions just after the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
Morgan says these pictures are from the 10th and 11th of March 1991.
“We were to the east of the main body of the 37th engineers closing off this approach to the demo area. The last picture is on the 11th and speaks for itself,” he said.
Morgan, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division as a member of the 810th Military Police Company in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was at Khamisiyah, Iraq providing security for the 37th Engineers when they “blew the dump.”
For the first several years following the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon adamantly denied that Iraqi chemical munitions had even been deployed by the Iraqi military during the military buildup leading to the war.
However, through the work of Gulf War veterans, including through use of the Freedom of Information Act, the public later learned that the exploded munitions at Khamisiyah had included sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents and probably also included mustard gas, a vesicant known to cause cause lifelong lung, eye, and skin problems, sometimes severe.
Sarin and cyclosarin have been shown in more recent years to cause long-term, subtle brain damage, even at levels lower than those known to cause recognizable immediate effects.
Gulf War veterans also learned, again primarily through the Freedom of Information Act, that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had known for years that chemical munitions were stored at the Khamisiyah depot and had informed the Pentagon of this intelligence. However, the information never reached the Gulf War ground troops at or near Khamisiyah, leaving a scramble of finger pointing and buck shifting inside the federal government with at least tens of thousands of troops exposed.
Finally caving to overwhelming public pressure, the U.S. Department of Defense in sent letters in July 1997 to veterans who the Pentagon estimated may have been exposed to the three-day plume and resultant fallout of low levels of Iraqi chemical warfare agents. Predictably, the DoD letters denied any known health effects and downplayed any risks associated with the exposures.
At the same time, the Pentagon consistently asserted that the growing health issues among Gulf War veterans was attributable solely to “stress.”
Through elaborate DoD modeling, the number of potentially exposed veterans later grew to 100,000, nearly one-fifth of Gulf War troops serving on the ground.
At the urging of Gulf War veterans, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the Pentagon’s methodology for modeling the plume and found it to be entirely unreliable, leaving the actual number and location of Gulf War troops exposed to the Khamisiyah plume unknown.
Demolitions of other Iraqi chemical warfare agent production and storage facilities were key targets during the Gulf War’s nearly six-week air campaign, with innumerable toxins blasted up into the prevailing winds that led directly over the Coalition troops massed along the northern Saudi Arabian border with Iraq and Kuwait.
Today, of the 696,842 veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, the Institute of Medicine estimates that 250,000 – more than one third – continue to suffer from chronic multi-symptom illness. Chemical warfare agents, nerve agent protective pills (NAPPs), military strength pesticides, and other hazards are believed to be linked to these veterans’ enduring disabilities from the short, intense war.
JACK MORGAN’S KHAMISIYAH PHOTOS
PHOTO 1: Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 10, 1991. -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan.
PHOTO 2: Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 1991. -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan.
PHOTO : 3 Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 11, 1991. -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan. Used with permission.
OFFICIAL U.S. SATELLITE IMAGES OF KHAMISIYAH DEPOT
PHOTO: Pre-demolition photo of Khamisiyah ammunition storage area showing Bunker 73 and pit area. Courtesy U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
PHOTO: An Air Force Photo Of Khamisiyah Weapons Storage Complex
Note: Each Bunker Is The Size Of A Football Field.