From 2004 to 2011, U.S. and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule, The New York Times reports. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells, or aviation bombs, according to dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. went to war declaring it had to destroy weapons of mass destruction, but instead, American troops gradually found, and suffered from, remnants of long-abandoned programs. The Times found 17 U.S. service members and seven Iraqi police were exposed to nerve or mustard agents after 2003. In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the U.S. and manufactured in Europe, according to the report.
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