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    The American behemoth awakens..., 2003-07-11 17:48:02 | Main | That's American justice for you..., 2003-07-14 14:52:11


    I reckon the CIA must have lost the game of paper rock scissors, since Tenet took a stumble over yellowcakegate: maybe Vincent Cannistraro was right, maybe they are trying to get him fired. The issue will be pushed further - and it easily could be because the CIA wasn't the only organization that gave the go ahead on the speech - but the reality is that it doesn't matter, because the administration lied: they told the public it was about disarmament, but if disarmament mattered they wouldn't have rejected out of hand Iraq's September 2002 offer to allow inspectors back in unconditionally when the administration declared, apparently without irony, that "Iraq's regime continues to defy us" while the regime was prostrating itself. That's what we call "defiance": sure, and war was the "last option".

    Allow me to make like my cynical, world-weary eight year old niece: whatever.

    But since the media is focusing on what was said during the State of the Union address I'll join in too. You could always go back to the IAEA report that Iraq was "six months away" from developing a nuke that didn't exist, but hey, why harp on the blatant lies. I never took the WMD claims seriously and now that the press is finally taking them seriously enough to point out how unserious they were they're still missing the boat for the oars. But let's join the snipe hunt for the undeniable slip up by Bush: since the only report I can turn up affirming Bush's claims about a certain 1999 UN report is UNMOVIC's assessment [pdf] from March 2003 I'll use that to compare what the UN said and what Bush said about what the UN said:

    1. Bush said, "The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax". This is taking the high end of the UNSCOM estimate of what could have been produced and then saying "over" that amount, as was done repeatedly by the administration: UNMOVIC said, "UNSCOM estimated that based on unaccounted for growth media, Iraq’s potential production of anthrax could have been in the range of about 15,000 to 25,000 litres." The liquid form of anthrax weapon can be stored at 0°C for approximately one year, and "UNMOVIC has no evidence that drying of anthrax or any other agent in bulk was conducted."
    2. Bush said, "The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin". UNMOVIC said, "Any botulinum toxin that was produced and stored according to the methods described by Iraq and in the time period declared is unlikely to retain much, if any, of its potency. Therefore, any such stockpiles of botulinum toxin, whether in bulk storage or in weapons that remained in 1991, would not be active today."
    3. Bush said "Our intelligence sources tell [Saddam] has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Well the administration was telling dissenting intelligence analysts who disagreed with that assessment to cram it, and we knew he was telling them to cram it 3 months before the SoU.
    4. Bush said, "Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities". No recent activities are described that haven't been credibly explained by one authority or another, considering that two weeks ago Bush couldn't have told you who was in charge of unilateral US weapons inspections I'm not surprised that Saddam couldn't provide accounting for unilateral Iraqi weapons destruction.
    5. Bush said, "Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations." Iraq was not blocking the flights, but requesting that the daily bombings be stopped so that it could ensure the safety of the surveillance planes. The 'no-fly' zones and bombings were not part of the UN mandate, and enforced by the US/UK unilaterally. U2 flights were granted shortly thereafter anyway, as though they needed Iraqi permission.

    The issues relating to biological and chemical agents Saddam could have produced relates back to the period previous to the Gulf War, but Bush never tells you that. The issues relating to biological or chemical agents Saddam could have produced prior to the Gulf War are over agents that since then would have degraded to impotency, but Bush never tells you that. The issues relating to impotent biological and chemical agents Saddam could have produced prior to the Gulf War are merely accounting issues, but Bush never tells you that. The accounting issues relating to impotent biological and chemical agents Saddam could have produced prior to the Gulf War were cleared up by their star witness, but Bush nor UNSCOM nor UNMOVIC ever told you that.

    There's your purported case for war, except that it was already perfectly clear back in September that disarmament wasn't the issue for Bush, and couldn't have been: even if Saddam had chemical or biological weapons the idea that it poised a security risk to the US was absurd, as Tenet testified to congress in February of 2002.

    So go ahead, use your imagination: in the end the final resolution of accounting issues relating to impotent biological and chemical agents Saddam could have produced prior to the Gulf War that were resolved by the prosecution's star witness was being undermined by an official US policy of regime change since 1991 - Bush was just following the same flawed, malovent policy as his two predecessors - and nobody but nobodies are going to tell you about that.

:: posted by buermann @ 2003-07-13 01:36:45 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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