Jeffrey Goldberg on Iraq

New Yorker: The Great Terror – In northern Iraq, there is new evidence of Saddam Hussein’s genocidal war on the KurdsÛand of his possible ties to Al Qaeda.
Gosden believes it is quite possible that the countries of the West will soon experience chemical- and biological-weapons attacks far more serious and of greater lasting effect than the anthrax incidents of last autumn and the nerve-agent attack on the Tokyo subway system several years agoÛthat what happened in Kurdistan was only the beginning. “For Saddam’s scientists, the Kurds were a test population,” she said. “They were the human guinea pigs. It was a way of identifying the most effective chemical agents for use on civilian populations, and the most effective means of delivery.”
The charge is supported by others. An Iraqi defector, Khidhir Hamza, who is the former director of Saddam’s nuclear-weapons program, told me earlier this year that before the attack on Halabja military doctors had mapped the city, and that afterward they entered it wearing protective clothing, in order to study the dispersal of the dead. “These were field tests, an experiment on a town,” Hamza told me. He said that he had direct knowledge of the Army’s procedures that day in Halabja. “The doctors were given sheets with grids on them, and they had to answer questions such as ‘How far are the dead from the cannisters?’ ”
Gosden said that she cannot understand why the West has not been more eager to investigate the chemical attacks in Kurdistan. “It seems a matter of enlightened self-interest that the West would want to study the long-term effects of chemical weapons on civilians, on the DNA,” she told me. “I’ve seen Europe’s worst cancers, but, believe me, I have never seen cancers like the ones I saw in Kurdistan.”
According to an ongoing survey conducted by a team of Kurdish physicians and organized by Gosden and a small advocacy group called the Washington Kurdish Institute, more than two hundred towns and villages across Kurdistan were attacked by poison gasÛfar more than was previously thoughtÛin the course of seventeen months. The number of victims is unknown, but doctors I met in Kurdistan believe that up to ten per cent of the population of northern IraqÛnearly four million peopleÛhas been exposed to chemical weapons. “Saddam Hussein poisoned northern Iraq,” Gosden said when I left for Halabja. “The questions, then, are what to do? And what comes next?”

Terrifying and riveting article by Jeffrey Goldberg. Very long but really, really amazing reporting.
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