Woods: Citizens need transparency


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With all of the hype on the Islamic State group in the Middle East and its efforts to apply its hardline interpretation of Islamic law and terrorize the local population, it would be easy to slip information regarding the finding of 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs in and around Baghdad past the public eye.

Zoe Woods

With all of the hype about the Islamic State group in the Middle East and its efforts to apply its hardline interpretation of Islamic law by terrorizing the local population, it would be easy to slip information past the public eye about the finding of roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells and aviation bombs in and around Baghdad.

That’s what happened, according to an article published in the New York Times alleging that the United States government, along with the Army, kept the discovery a secret. 

The big question here is why? Why hide information about the discovery from the public when even Congress had limited information? What is to gain from keeping this information under a blanket of secrecy?

Information has yet to surface about the reasoning behind keeping this information from the public. The unfortunate consequences of keeping this information hidden have affected the troops involved in finding the weapons.

They have been severely wounded and left with long lasting effects of the nerves. Others are also at risk and could be affected by the Islamic State group if they were to find more chemical warheads in the same area that they now control.

Throughout a decade of occupation, American troops repeatedly found and destroyed thousands of chemical weapons while being exposed to them in the process. Americans and Iraqis were injured in at lease six separate incidents.

There should be a higher level of transparency between the government and its people. The people of the United States deserve to know what is going on, especially where our troops are concerned. Anywhere they go, the public eye follows.

These chemical weapons were kept secret from those most at risk, and the troops involved were denied honors and medical care because of the major effort to keep all of this quiet. It was also requested that they keep their mouths shut about their discovery.

“The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale,” the article said. The more munitions that were found, the more it reaffirmed the lack of intelligence between the Army and its troops heading up the discoveries.

That just doesn’t seem fair, does it? There really is no reason to keep any of this from the public. I mean this all came out anyway right? There is still more information that is being hidden behind locked doors, but how long will it be before it is all out and in the open?

Silence is a deadly force used to avoid telling the public and even Congress what is going on in the Middle East regarding these chemical weapons.

Since June, the Islamic State group has been holding the area where all of these weapons have been found, and this can be a very bad. This violent jihadist group may discover these weapons and try and use them.

It is still unclear how much the United States government can reassure us about the abandoned weapons. Supposedly they no longer pose a threat, but how can we trust that when other information about the weapons is being redacted?

The weapons they are finding may look like they are out of commission and, to be fair, some are. However, there are others that pose a risk to the troops handling them. The sulfur mustard that may still exist in these warheads is not to be trifled with. Especially since it has been discovered that soldiers may not get the proper medical attention if exposed to nerve agents.

Because of these facts, American soldiers shouldn’t be put at an even larger risk because of the lack of communication about all of these weapons. It is the government’s responsibility to serve and protect our country and that includes our troops. Hopefully the secrecy will be brought to light soon and something as simple of an answer as “It’s politics” won’t be the reason for not telling us what the American people should be privy to.