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Another WW-I Chemical Site In Washington, DC

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the fourth-time's-the-charm dept.

Earth 249

WrongSizeGlass writes "The AP is reporting that the US Army Corps of Engineers has uncovered what appears to be the fourth major disposal area for World War I-era munitions and chemical weapons in the nation's capital. Digging was suspended at a construction site after 'workers pulled smoking glassware from the pit — preliminary tests show the glassware was contaminated with the toxic chemical arsenic trichloride. ... Workers also discovered a jar about three-quarters full of a dark liquid that turned out to be the chemical agent mustard.' Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY."

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mustard is a chemical agent? (1, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883252)

There is quite a difference between http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_(condiment) [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_mustard [wikipedia.org] (or mustard gas).

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883422)

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (2, Interesting)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883834)

I once accidentally breathed in a very small amount of chlorine gas.

I was coughing my lungs up for weeks.

This gave some very intimate appreciation of the horrors of the gas attacks in the trenches.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883428)

Maybe not that big of a difference...remember, it's related to WW1, there were Germans involved.

PS. They were the evil ones.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (2, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883616)

Maybe not that big of a difference...remember, it's related to WW1, there were Germans involved.

PS. They were the evil ones.

They were simply misunderstood.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883672)

Maybe not that big of a difference...remember, it's related to WW1, there were Germans involved.

PS. They were the evil ones.

They were simply misunderstood.

No. No they weren't.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (5, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883880)

WWI wasn't really a "Good vs. Bad" war. Austrian Duke Ferdinand gets assassinated by the Black Hand, Austria waits a few months before retaliating, resulting in defensive 'hidden treaties' between nearly most of Europe. Prussia and the Austrian empire team up, the rest of Europe says "we pretty much have to protect the Balkans because the retaliation took too long (and now the lay people see it as aggression instead of justice.)" Somehow the Ottomans see it as an opportunity to get back what they lost before, the US supplies arms to all sides of the war until the Zimmerman Telegram. Austria & Prussia go "Oh shit, we don't have enough people," keep fighting until they run out of resources, then get screwed over during the final negotiations (which then leads to an atmosphere where an insane Jew declares a war on Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Gays, and pretty much anyone else he doesn't like)

So unlike WWII, WWI wasn't really a "Good vs. Bad", unless you consider the Black Hand the bad guys. Of course, my experiences may be a little biased since my heritage consists of growing up in what was considered the Little Germany of the US (and where the local papers were printed in German until the US began fighting in the war.) Also, having songs about "going after those Huns" couldn't possibly have been a form of racist propaganda.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884264)

If you read very much about German preparations for the war (which they seem to have been working towards, though not in quite the same brutal way as the Nazis did a couple decades later) and the way that they (certainly Wilhelm and probably Moltke with Krupp stage managing more than a bit) managed the first few months of it, you may think differently.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884298)

Everybody was preparing for the war back then. Everybody.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884312)

You paint it in a bit simplistic "official" fashion though...war was on the brink for a few years already (with the complex balancing dance between empires happening on the Balkans). Killing of Ferdinand was mostly just a trigger (he wasn't even especially liked in Austria ffs!...)

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884076)

Plus, they were only obeying orders...

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

phantasmagoric (1626559) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884304)

wrong war. that was WWII, not WWI

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883632)

> Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

Yeah, all this crap was supposed to be buried in New Jersey.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884150)

No it wasn't, New Jersey has more backyards for the stuff to not be in.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (0, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884328)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

Look, if you want affordable power, we're going to have to make sacrifices. The waste has to go somewhere, and we've decided that the only fair option is for it to go everywhere. So we're gonna divide it equally among the population. We don't care what you do with it, as long as it's buried in your backyard. What's a few rads between neighbors? Hey, stop yer complaining... you won the argument and now you get what you asked for.... hey, don't blame me, I wanted to use the more expensive and cleaner energy sources, develop that technology now so it would become more affordable for our children, so they wouldn't have to deal with what we're sweeping under the rug (er, burying in your back yard). Enjoy the cheap, "clean" nuke energy!

Yours Sincerely,
The Government

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (5, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883824)

Maybe not that big of a difference...remember, it's related to WW1, there were Germans involved. PS. They were the evil ones.

I think you are confusing the First World War with the Second World War. There were no Nazis involved in the first war (I really shouldn't have to explain this). Allied propaganda aside, the Germans were no better or worse than the allied powers.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (0, Offtopic)

laederkeps (976361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883898)

I think you are confusing the First World War with the Second World War. There were no Nazis involved in the first war (I really shouldn't have to explain this).

I think you are confusing Germans with Nazis. The First World War was fought between Allied (Russian, French, British, American, Italian, and several others) forces and the European central powers (Among which Germany played a key role).
While the GP referred to "Germans" (as in "people living in the German Empire at the time"), you are referring to "Nazis" as in "National Socialists" (I really shouldn't have to explain this.)

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884314)

While the GP referred to "Germans" (as in "people living in the German Empire at the time"), you are referring to "Nazis" as in "National Socialists" (I really shouldn't have to explain this.)

GP also said "PS They were the evil ones". So, either he believes WWI Allied propaganda, or he is confusing the two wars.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884272)

Yes, you really shouldn't have. The time it took to write your post would be better spent by exploring the concept of humor and culinary habits.

(btw, I'm a total mix of nationalities & ethnicities involved in both world wars on eastern front, so if you need somebody who's allowed to make fun of those events... ;) )

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884288)

Maybe not that big of a difference...remember, it's related to WW1, there were Germans involved.

PS. They were the evil ones.

Because they lost?

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (2, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883434)

There is quite a difference between http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_(condiment) [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_mustard [wikipedia.org] (or mustard gas).

Well, technically, mustard the condiment is a chemical agent, in that it has chemicals and it isn't completely inert. But it's only been used as a weapon in food fights, as far as I'm aware.

Re:mustard is a chemical agent? (4, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884346)

There is quite a difference between http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_(condiment) [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_mustard [wikipedia.org] (or mustard gas).

Well, technically, mustard the condiment is a chemical agent, in that it has chemicals and it isn't completely inert. But it's only been used as a weapon in food fights, as far as I'm aware.

The condiment - especially the spicy brown type - causes my uncle Milt to generate some mighty potent mustard gas...

Somethings come back - always (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883256)

LOL not sure if I am sad about this or happy! This is the stuff we used to destroy god knows whom... and like Agent Orange - it is now coming back to haunt us! Almost like the taliban we created...!

Re:Somethings come back - always (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883540)

Can fire melt steel?

No Jahid Needed (3, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883274)

We seem intent enough upon killing ourselves. Outside help need not apply!

I'm not surprised (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883288)

None of their 'disposal' methods were remotely safe and by the time the facilities get shut down, there's no documentation.
Pretty much anything that used to be a military testing facility or base should be treated as a superfund site.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883802)

Worse, most of the disposal was handled by unsupervised contractors (sound familiar?) Back in the '70s a contractor who was supposed to dispose of chemical weapons by dumping them at least 150 miles off the Atlantic coast billed for as many as five trips per day. Interestingly, the barge they used was only capable of 10 knots. Now it looks like the game is even older than I thought.

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884082)

They could have owned more than one barge.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883878)

there's no documentation.

I'm sure the whole thing is very well documented, it's just that all that documentation on military activity is wherever the government keeps the rest of the classified information in order to protect themselves^Wus.

Explanation (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883300)

Toxic chemicals leaching into the groundwater would go a long way towards explaining some of the things that go on in DC.

Re:Explanation (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883360)

Toxic chemicals leaching into the groundwater would go a long way towards explaining some of the things that go on in DC.

Does mustard gas corrupt people that fast?

Re:Explanation (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883426)

Sadly, it's not toxic enough.

Re:Explanation (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883468)

Then again, it could be that the cause and effect are just the opposite of what you're suggesting. They import lots of loonies.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884248)

Hey, leave the Canadian one-dollar coins out of this!

Occam to the rescue! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883596)

Naw, "contamination by abnormally high concentrations of money and power" is a simpler explanation.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883704)

Toxic chemicals leaching into the groundwater

Any contamination will have only an indirect effect on the blood-suckers in D.C.

As a former AU student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883304)

This is really not that newsworthy anymore. I mean, your campus is already on and next to the stuff, so finding more isn't really going to change things. Note to other schools... in times of war, don't let the government take over the campus.

I've got a genius idea (0, Flamebait)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883324)

Let's put them in charge of health care.

I've got a genius idea, too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883348)

Why don't you go fuck yourself?

Re:I've got a genius idea, too (4, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883406)

Maybe with the government in charge of health care, he can finally afford the operation that makes that possible.

Re:I've got a genius idea, too (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883562)

What, Obama is pro-cloning?

Can't pay for a 150 mile fence, now Healthcare? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884338)

Give it a rest, DerublicRats

My healthcare is satisfied by eating clean food, exercise, not doing anything that causes bones to break, and staying away from environmental hazards created by people that want government-run Healthcare. I don't drink tapwater, I don't kiss men, I don't beat women and children, and now someone that can't even keep diseased aliens from walking across their backyard desert thinks to shove Healthcare down everyone's throat rather than nip it in the bud where the problems began.

Has anyone even read the Healthcare Bill? It's all being done through misuse of the tax code, and derives from Social Security Act and all kinds of securities fraud. It's deriving it's same enforcement through the tax code as is all the other fumbling of non-issues like gun control/registration and Right to Public Vehicular Travel.

Can't even pay for a 150 mile fence to be built near Arizona, can't even get the druglords out of the Texas Sheriff departments. It's no different than how US Congress members are the primary importers of Cocaine and Heroine only to distribute and arrest who they can entrap to buy and use their drugs so they can perpetuate that $17 trillion per year industry in seizing private property in BATFE raids.

get a life.

Re:I've got a genius idea, too (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883442)

Ah, so that comment was so threatening to your world view and ideas that you could only attack the messenger anonymously. Are you that threatened and weak?

He does have a point. But, we'll pull it closer than WWI and post era civil servants deciding to bury the stuff in major metro area (back then, it was already big); Government run Medicare is broken, vastly broken. Government run Social Security is broke and broken. There is so much red tape in the military that non-warfighting tasks truly cost 3 to 4 times more, and take 3 times longer than if they were accomplished in the civilian world. Now, you want our medical care and expenses to be run by the U.S. Government?

There, I've probably threatened your fragile little world view again.

Re:I've got a genius idea (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883408)

The ones who haven't died yet are most likely under health care.

Re:I've got a genius idea (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883418)

They're one of the very few things stopping "respectable businesses" (of any kind) from dumping such stuff wherever it's possible.

Re:I've got a genius idea (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883722)

Great! Government doing its job-- doing the job that the free-market can't provide for itself.

Now please work on getting the government back into its box of things the market can't provide for itself-- self defense, roads, and that's pretty much it.

Re:I've got a genius idea (5, Funny)

cbreak (1575875) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884012)

What about bailouts? The free market can't provide that.

leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883438)

they have a sterling track record in dealing with waste disposal, and they always have your well-being as their paramount concern

</sarcasm>

nobody in the healthcare debate believes government will handle healthcare super-efficiently and without bureaucracy or waste. it will simply be BETTER than what we had beforehand. at least the government has a mandate to take care of YOU rather than some shareholders

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (3, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883492)

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens."
  — Adam Smith

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883654)

Of course if we put Adam Smith in charge, he would never allow the horrific corporate entities that we have in charge of our healthcare now to exist at all. He was not at all a fan of publicly traded corporations Since we've ignored all of his sage advice, clinging only to the most dumbed down summary of his general view on economics, we are now obligated to either socialize the most critical needs of the people or completely alter the business landscape (including dis-incorporating most large businesses) .

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884146)

I don't think there is anyone who wants the horrible corporate entities to continue to be in charge of healthcare. That doesn't mean government being in charge will be any better. In fact, based on the mess that was the bill that recently passed (that isn't even honest about how much it will cost), it's looking like it could get worse.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883830)

Oh yeah the one that build a model using total customer knowledge and unlimited resources as foundations, predicting unlimited exponential growth

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883860)

So what's this "Third Position"'s position on parents deciding to not drain their retirement and/or siblings' college funds to save their kid with leukemia?

I'm all fine with having the government stay out of healthcare, but it has to stay the fuck all the way out, not pander to some hypocritical bible thumpers who think people should be kept alive at all costs as long as it's not their costs.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883904)

Third Position, you might be taken more seriously if you didn't advertise for a neo-nazi organization.

Appeal to authority (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884126)

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens."
    -- Adam Smith

You want to appeal to authority? Fine. I'll see your Adam Smith quote and raise you another. Here's what he has to say about the corporations you'd rather see in charge of things:

"[T]he greater part of [general shareholders] seldom pretend to understand any thing of the business of the company; and when the spirit of faction happens not to prevail among them, give themselves no trouble about it, but receive contentedly such halfyearly or yearly dividend as the directors think proper to make to them. This total exemption front trouble and front risk, beyond a limited sum, encourages many people to become adventurers in [corporations], who would, upon no account, hazard their fortunes in any private [partnership]. ... The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, it cannot well be expected that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private [partnership] frequently watch over their own. Like the stewards of a rich man, they are apt to consider attention to small matters as not for their master's honour, and very easily give themselves a dispensation from having it. Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company."

-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, pp. 506 (some archaic terms substituted with modern ones.)

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0, Troll)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883500)

Trial lawyers all but own the Democratic party, and they're the reason healthcare has becomes so expensive the last couple decades. People like Edwards are the cream of that disgusting crop. So if you think the very people causing the problem are going to create an honest solution for it...you're nuts.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883680)

even better, look up VA hospitals (yes, government hospitals) in the news over the last few years. I have government health care, and suffer every day because of it. Yup, they were too cheap to fix my ankle right the first time, and now it's going to cost me a lot of missed time, and possibly my career to fix it.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883842)

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with the VA, and I hope things get better for you. I've been getting my health care from them for decades and my experience is that it's much better now than it was twenty years ago. Almost everybody I interact with there understands that if it weren't for people like me, most of them wouldn't have jobs and that their income depends on how well they take care of us. And, mind you, most of what I use the VA isn't even service connected.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884198)

And, mind you, most of what I use the VA isn't even service connected.

So you're wasting our money on medical care that you don't deserve?

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884348)

No. Part of the contract I signed was that if I fulfilled my part of the contract I'd be eligible for certain benefits later, including health care. For conditions that aren't service connected, I receive care and/or treatment only after any veterans who need the facilities for a service-connected condition. (However, as I do have a minor service-connected condition, I take priority over those with don't.)

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884162)

WAAAAAAHHHHHH

Seriously, I'm all for tort reform as a means to an end. I think if doctors weren't afraid of a lawsuit if they didn't test for something that they know isn't there, healthcare would be cheaper. But to say its all the trial lawyers fault is willfully ignorant.

We spend a ton more on prescriptions here than anywhere else on earth. We allow direct marketing of said drugs. Our doctors are paid per service, not for curing a disease. We give infinite end of life care through medicare. We don't require any sort of general practitioner work before seeing a specialist.

The list goes on and on and all I ever hear from the right side of this country is WAAAAAAHHH trial lawyers WAAAAAAAAAA. I'm sick of it. We are going to have to make sacrifices and every time someone blames the entire system on one group of people that they hate it pisses me off. The real solutions are out there, stop being ignorant.

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884206)

Trial lawyers all but own the Democratic party, and they're the reason healthcare has becomes so expensive the last couple decades.

Ah yes, simple explanations for simple minds...

Re:leave healthcare in the hands of corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884228)

"Trial lawyers all but own the Democratic party, and they're the reason healthcare has becomes so expensive the last couple decades."

So you'd be ok with single-payer and tort reform?

Re:I've got a genius idea (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883538)

The problem is that we didn't just have a vote for the government to take over health care. If we did, there might be some hope.

Instead, what we have now is a government plan that mandates everyone (eventually) buy a government-designed plan from a few government-regulated finance companies. There is no "insurance" here - insurance implies some sort of risk and there is no risk possible in the system that has been set up. It isn't a fund you pay into and eventually get all your money back, either.

We would be far, far better off if everyone just put money into a savings account and used that money to pay medical bills. And hospitals and doctors were required to treat the people that didn't have the savings account and cost-shift it all over to the people that did.

Instead, we have a massive cost-shifting scheme whereby Medicaid and Medicare pays a fraction of what care costs and the "insured" pay cost-plus to make up for it. And the bills have to be whirlled around in a blender three or four times to try to hide the cost shifting that is going on. So they are going to take more money out of Medicare. Do you think the hospitals and doctors will just take less money? Do you think the MRI manufacturers will cut their prices? No? Really, you obviously have no faith in the system.

Evidently, Congress seems to think that if the government is paying less the hospitals will just get less. They seem to have had this idea since the 1960s with the very beginning of Medicare. Instead, the hospitals simply charge everyone else more. Part of it is the way Medicare reimbursement works - they pay some percentage of the real bill. Therefore, raising the bill means getting more realistic reimbursement. Yes, if you raise the price to 130% of what it was you get right about 100% of what you would have gotten if the government is only paying 70% of the bill. The government figured that out and cut the rate some more. The hospitals then raised the prices to counter this.

This has been going on since 1966 or so. And this "new plan" does nothing to change this at all.

All we have is a massive welfare program for finance companies that are underwriting medical care. The government isn't doing much other than making sure these finance companies have lots of customers. SO STOP CALLING IT GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE!

Re:I've got a genius idea (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884212)

We would be far, far better off if everyone just put money into a savings account and used that money to pay medical bills. And hospitals and doctors were required to treat the people that didn't have the savings account and cost-shift it all over to the people that did.

Was this paragraph sarcasm? Cause that is basically what is going on with insurance and the rest of your post supports that the people with insurance pay for the people that don't. How would a savings account be any different?

Re:I've got a genius idea (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883572)

You'll have to figure out how to reanimate them first. Most of the boneheads responsible for this screwup have died from old age by now.

Turned out to be the chemical agent mustard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883374)

Do you have any Grey Poupon?

Saddam's WMDs Found! (4, Funny)

AaronW (33736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883402)

Maybe they're really Saddam's WMDs that Bush and Cheney were searching for all those years! Those sneaky Iraqis!

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883644)

Except there were 500 tons of nuclear material moved out of Iraq in 2008.

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883838)

Except there were 500 tons of nuclear material moved out of Iraq in 2008.

Who allowed internet access from the Crawford Ranch again? You know how G gets when he's drinking.

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (5, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883868)

Yes, material that they were attempting to process into fuel for the power plant that Israel bombed. After the power plant was destroyed it was mostly deposited in a facility guarded by armed troops, which is where the inspectors found it, with its documentation, after the first Gulf "War". The inspectors tagged it and left it guarded, until the US forced them out of Iraq before inspections were finished. It was still tagged, guarded and sealed when they returned and attempted to finish the job, but when they were one month from being finished (their estimate) the US threw them out of the country again and invaded.

The US troops found the facility, right where the inspectors told them it was, the dumb as dirt grunts opened the buildings up, didn't find anything worth stealing, and left the doors (literally) wide open. Then they burned down the administrative offices, with all the material's documentation, hopped back in their hummers and drove off.

The real tragedy is that local villagers, not knowing what the stuff was, dumped the yellow cake on the ground and stole the barrels for domestic use. Months later visiting reporters found the containers being used for food and water storage, and the entire area horribly contaminated. Here at home it would be declared a disaster area, but in Iraq the occupiers have just left them there to die.

IIRC, KBR and Bechtel carried out the cleanup of the materials, hiring locals to shovel up yellow cake by hand with no protective equipment.

Aren't you proud?

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884106)

Citation Needed.

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31884236)

Even if true (which I am not qualified to comment on), this represents about 1/100th of the story. If you haven't read The Threatening Storm, by Kenneth Pollack, you simply don't know what you're talking about.

The Threatening Storm is a comprehensive look at all the machinations Saddam's regime took to confound, mislead and stymie inspectors. Pollack has as good or better a grasp of the events of this period than anyone in the world, as he was Director for Persian Gulf Affairs on President Clinton's National Security Council while all this as going on. And needless to say, he was not part of and has no love for the Bush Administration.

Of course, this has all been rehashed a thousand times. Not that the facts make any difference. People simply chose to believe whatever version of events support their own pre-existing notions.

Re:Saddam's WMDs Found! (0)

rbrander (73222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884220)

You joke, and so of course was Bush when he pretended to look under tables at a DC supper.

Since the stash was found in DC, though, it turns out Bush was a lot closer to some WMDs than anybody in Baghdad was at the time!

Meaning of NIMBY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883410)

Seems more appropriate to store it in their own back yard rather than someone else's..... makes it easier to re-use for the next war. It's a government project, though, so they simply misplaced the paperwork on where they put it.

I know (2, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883416)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

I know, that's what I've always said. I've always said we should have buried that stuff in Germany. Or at least England.

Re:I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883486)

Germany And England are still pulling unexploded bombs out of the ground from WW 2.

Three was another "site" years ago where they built houses on an old Army range. Pulled a lot of unexploded shell out from that one.

Re:I know (4, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884108)

Thank you, but we have quite enough of your toxic crap already:

www.mcdonalds.co.uk
www.kfc.co.uk
etc.

Re:I know (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884118)

Heh right, I've tried British cuisine, so you can't trick me into believing that McDonald's is any worse than what you've already got. Black pudding? In a country where Fish'n Chips is the 'must try' dish, the bar for good food is not set very high.

NIMBY (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883446)

"Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY."

HUH! I can think of no more appropriate place than in our government's backyard. Where else should they be dumping this? City folk like them want to dump it out in my back yard. I don't want it. Let them keep it.

Going then now, Sir... (4, Insightful)

bartwol (117819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883470)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

Aye-aye, Captain! The time travel vessel is being readied in the launch bay, and your message will be delivered to those 1914 morons in just a few minutes!

Brilliant advice, Sir!

Remind? (2, Insightful)

jadavis (473492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883476)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY."

To what end? So they don't travel a century back in time to bury their weapons ever again?

Maybe they should also have some military official today apologize for someone else burying weapons in the distant past.

I believe this is a case of personifying the government as a 200-year-old, which leads to ridiculous statements, and worse, ridiculous policy.

Re:Remind? (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883530)

> I believe this is a case of personifying the government as a 200-year-old,
> which leads to ridiculous statements, and worse, ridiculous policy.

Yes. As ridiculous as, say, personifying corporations.

Re:Remind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883634)

I believe this is a case of personifying the government as a 200-year-old ...

So... Uncle Sam is not real?

WAAAHH!

Re:Remind? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884044)

200 years old? No wonder he's forgotten where he's buried stuff!

asinine (4, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883510)

The summary gives the impression like the U.S. Government has has been willfully ignoring the problem. The fact is there were so many munitions created for WWI and they were used in such a concentrated area that it's no surprise that there are stockpiles of the stuff still around. For example, 16 million acres [wikipedia.org] of northern France had to be cordoned off at the end of the war. They are still pulling chemical weapons out of the ground in some places too, like a site off of a beach resort [greatwar.nl] or this stockpile [greatwar.nl] where farmers to this day plow up unexploded rounds in Belgium. The fact is, there are massive amount of chemical weapons scattered around still from that era and there isn't a hell of a lot that anyone can do about it so quit trying to pin this on the current government. In fact, if you read those links, you'll find the army corps of engineers is responding in a pretty responsible way compared with what they're going through in Houthulst (the last link).

Re:asinine (3, Insightful)

Erinnys Tisiphone (1627695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883946)

I'd like to know, from a historical perspective, how this was just "misplaced" so close to the capital, even during war time. Unlike Europe, this is not an area where a war occurred - and the article states it was one of only a few "major" dumping sites. Classified or not, I would imagine this is something that the US Government took rather meticulous records of, even back in WWI - and something that a reasonable number of scientists, military officers, and technicians knew about. Was there some significant loss of records over the decades relating to these programs?

Re:asinine (4, Informative)

CyberK (1191465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884354)

Back then it wasn't close to the capital. It was rural farmland and houses weren't built there until the nineties, according to the article.

Nuclear fuel missing too (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883526)

There are number of cases of spent nuclear fuel going missing as well. It may end up surprising us the way these munitions have.

Re:Nuclear fuel missing too (2, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883912)

Back in the '50s the military lost count of how many 'dial-a-yield' nuclear howitzer rounds they manufactured. IIRC, the best they could do was "8,000-10,000". Removing the powder casing, the warhead is the famous 'backpack nuke' that Victor Bout was supposedly trying to sell before the Brewster Jennings operation was blown by the last Madministration.

other way around maybe? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883542)

"They've created a hazardous waste site in the neighborhood," Wells said.

Actually, the neighborhood was created in the hazardous waste site.

further from TFA: the leftover munitions and chemicals were buried behind the school in what was then rural farmland

The article makes it sound like the chems found their way there after the housing development. How much of this is the army's fault... and how much of it is the housing developers fault? Surely they did a little research on the history of the land before they tried to start a housing development there? Probably not, or maybe that's why they got the land so cheap? I know someone personally that had a very close call with some land he almost bought, (got stuck with) that he found out just in time used to be where line transformers were rebuilt. (can you say "ground and buildings saturated with PCBs [wikipedia.org] ?) When you buy something like that, it doesn't become exclusively your problem, but you now share a portion of the responsibility for its cleanup once it's deemed necessary.

Basically, if there's a toxic problem and you own it and you don't clean it up or get it cleaned up, you're on the hook for it even years down the road after it's changed hands several times. Of course, the more hands its passed through before someone forces the cleanup, the more diluted your share of the blame becomes. Unfortunately, for this reason, it's on their best interest to NOT clean it up, and to do everything they can to hide the problem, for as long as possible.

Someone's probably doing some research right now trying to figure out how well this chemical disposal was documented, who if anyone was negligent for not factoring it in or disclosing it, and who all is now on the list of people that will be footing the cleanup bill.

Re:other way around maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31883778)

Ha, it reminds me of when a local congressman promised the local city that they could have part of our federal site as a park. Well it wasn’t all unused. It had been used as a dump for the site during and after WWII. Well they started digging and stuff started catching on fire. The short story, its not a park yet. :)

Remind them... (0, Redundant)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883606)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

Sure, I'll go remind them. Lemme just set my time machine to 1918 and I'll be off!

NIMBY? (4, Informative)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883640)

The area was the Government's back-yard at the time, and the actual home where the munitions were found is Federal property today, so I think the NIMBY tag is misapplied.

There was a chemical weapons lab at American University during the first world war, and they apparently also were testing the weapons delivery systems, and fired all kinds of nasty stuff into what was then vacant land.

Which is not to say that it's OK, of course, only that it's a documentation and clean-up FAIL, and not really a NIMBY FAIL.

Also, I was surprised to see the article actually did refer to "smoking glassware", I had assumed that was an alarmist mis-interpretation of "smoked glass", but apparently they did find "smoking and fuming glassware".

This fills me with confidence... (2, Interesting)

punterjoe (743063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883708)

...that the nuclear waste dumps we're planning will remain secure - not just for a few generations but for the millenia promised. What could ever happen in the future that we can't anticipate today?

The meaning of NIMBY (4, Informative)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883760)

I thought the meaning of NIMBY was, "Yes, I agree that our town needs a new trash dump/electrical plant/sewage plant/prison, but Not In My Back Yard.

Put it on the Black/Poor side of town.

That is, historically, the meaning of NIMBY.

During WWI, Washington was very different (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31883856)

Cows grazed near Georgetown until the WW TWO era.

I bet the munitions were dumped far from the monumental core, in an area the locals thought of as "the sticks". That doesn't excuse it of course, it just explains it.

NIMBY? (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884002)

Someone needs to remind our government of the meaning of NIMBY.

This was 95 years ago. The chemical sites were there first; the backyards came later.

Reminds me of Medicine Man... (1)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884234)

"What's the matter, haven't you ever lost something, your purse, your car keys? Well it's rather like that..." . ~Dr. Robert Campbell (Medicine Man) (When you read thish, remembar, it's a Shaawn Caawnary, quote, sho you have to shay it jusht... like... thish.)

In other news ... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31884260)

Just think of the news story in a few hundred years when they halt the Yucca Mountain shopping center project.
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