Even though detection alarms went off repeatedly during the Persian Gulf War, there was no evidence U.S. troops were exposed to chemical weapons, retired Gen. Colin Powell said Monday.
Still, Powell said he supports a wide-ranging investigation to find the cause of the mysterious illness reported by thousands of gulf war veterans.
“I think it’s important for the American people to know that I, as former chairman, and the current leaders of the Pentagon are not trying to hide anything,” Powell was quoted in today’s New York Times.
He said American commanders believed the sounding of chemical-detection alarms was false because they were unable to confirm the presence of chemicals.
“They saw nothing that substantiated the alarm evidence,” said Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the war was being waged in 1991. “The alarms went off, and it wasn’t clear that the alarms’ going off was necessarily” evidence of “the presence of chemical weapons.”