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Local professor discusses chemical warfare

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 8/30/2013 8:11 pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA)-- President Barack Obama is ready to strike Syria for chemical weapons attacks on its own people.

One man who developed a device to help the U.S. military detect chemical weapons is Mississippi State University professor Todd Misnr.

He says the deadly attack had all the earmarkings of chemical weapons.

"I think that over 1,400 people died in just a short amount of time. And, when something like that happens when you have that many people coming in with the same symptoms, coming in so quicky, you've got to believe there was some type of attack," Misnr said. 

He says U.N. inspectors are gathering samples and taking them to a lab for study in machines like the one in his laboaratory at Mississippi State.

"Seems like with all the evidence, all the videos and the words from the doctors. It seems pretty clear there was some sort of attack. Probably a nerve agent attack or a mustard agent attack. Some really bad stuff," he continued.

Misnr says there are three types of chemical weapons, those that affect the nerves, muscles, and the blood.

"You get twitchy. You start to drool. Your eyes constrict and eventually you lose the ability to breathe," said Misnr.

Misnr has been a contract research agent for the Department of Defense. He has patented a small device that works as an early warning system for soldiers who might wind up in harms way.

"So, we've developed this little chemical detector here. So, this is our detector. It can fit into a portable device something like this. The way it works is that a soldier could carry it on to the battlefield. When an alarm goes off it indicates there's been a detection. It's been exposed to something," Misnr said.

The dectector gives a soldier time to respond and put on protective gear.

But, Misnr says there's a bigger problem. Hitting chemical sites in Syria could release chemicals that could kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Misnr believes the military's best option might be to target Syria's ability to launch the weapons. 

Tthe professor says the ingredients used to make chemical weapons are more readily available in countries like Syria. 
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