Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was thought to have generated over 19,000 gallons of botulinum toxin during the first Gulf War when the American troops were quite vulnerable and at risk in Desert Storm and Operations Desert Shield.
The USAMRIID was ready to defend coalition forces in the event that Saddam used his weapon against coalition troops. Iraq was believed to have 100 R-400 bombs filled with the toxin.
The bacteria can be found naturally in the bottom sediments of streams and lakes, forest soils, and the digestive tracts of some animals and fish. However, botulism is usually rare, but it can be highly lethal in a botulism weapon, inflicting long-term medical treatment and paralysis — for those who survive — and even death. When inhaled, one gram of botulinum toxin can kill a million people.