HIGHTOWER: The Army's Chemical Waste Plan

There's a new $1 billion factory going on-line next April in Anniston, Alabama, but not even the local chamber of commerce is celebrating.

The factory is at the Anniston Army Depot, and its job is to incinerate some 660,000 lethal chemical weapons. The New York Times reports that, for decades, the military brass has assured the locals that underground storage of these weapons was perfectly safe. But the Army recently changed its tune, conceding that the underground bunkers have leaked deadly nerve gas, asserting that the only recource is to burn the chemicals. Trust us, the Army is again telling the people of Anniston, incineration is perfectly safe...and this time we really mean it.

But what if there's a mess-up, asked the skeptical locals? Ha-ha, laughs the Army, we're prepared for that! A very loud siren will give a shrill whoop-whoop if a deadly plume of gas gets loose, and we're issuing special protective equipment for each home, business, and school.

Guess what the protective equipment is? Sheets of plastic and a big ol' roll of duct tape. Thats it! When citizens hear that shrill whoop-whoop, they're supposed to leap up, grab the duct tape and plastic, and seal off their windows and doors. They'd better be quick about it, because a gas plume would cover the area within eight minutes.

Needless to say, the Army's duct-tape plan has not inspired much confidence among locals, and the whole project already has been an economic disaster for the people of Anniston. No new industry wants to move next door to a chemical weapons incinerator, and home values have plummeted. Score of homes are for sale, but no one is buying, and many residents have simply fled, leaving their homes sitting empty.

This is Jim Hightower saying...I think the fairest way to dispose of these horrendous weapons of destruction would be to have a mobile incinerator burn a couple of hundred pounds of the chemicals in the back yards of each of the congress critters, generals, and corporate executives who created them in the first place.

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