We don’t mean cowardly people, we’re talking about real chickens. The Delta Company, now stationed in Kuwait near the border with Iraq, has been buying up local chickens that they hope will warn them if Saddam sends chemical weapons their way. Sgt. Rodney Brown used to raise organic chickens on a farm in upstate New York. He says, “I expected to see camels. I didn’t expect to see chickens here.” But he knows that, “Poultry have very weak respiratory systems. They’re like a canary in a coal mine. They’ll die first. So it’s a good indication of a gas attack.”

When the fighting starts, the chickens will follow the troops, and will be watched carefully to see if they succumb to poisonous gases. In the 1991 Gulf War, some of the expensive, high-tech detectors malfunctioned, so chickens were used in that war as well. One morning, a group of soldiers woke up to find their chickens dead. They panicked, thinking they had been gassed but hadn?t yet felt the effects. But after looking more closely, they discovered the chickens had frozen overnight when the temperature dropped.

We use chickens in war, but Hitler may have used flying saucers.

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