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Monday, April 21, 2003

Iraqi Scientist Magically Fulfills Bush's Wet Dream

Now, I'm not going to start off in standard conspiracy nut fashion by saying outright that the government is lying. I'm just going to lay out the "facts" this piece presents, and let my reader(s)* judge the truth or falsehood of what's being said.

For those of you too lazy to fill out about three fields of an online form to get the New York Times for free, a summation of the article is as follows: An Iraqi scientist, who remains nameless, just happened to tell the US that Iraq has been supplying Al Qaeda and Syria with chemical and biological weapons, which they just happened to destroy immediately before the war. On top of this, the scientist happened to be able to show exactly where these extremely sensitive materials were buried in the Iraqi desert. What the materials were cannot, of course, be released because if the world finds out Saddam was building anything specific, they might want some sort of proof, and that would hurt. Given the US's track record of announcing "This time, we REALLY found weapons... really" I don't blame them. Pesticide, baby formula, mushrooms... all of these things have been touted as CONCLUSIVE PROOF that Saddam was making weapons we don't want him to have.

Let's look at some of the interesting little snippets:

The Americans said the scientist told them that President Saddam Hussein's government had destroyed some stockpiles of deadly agents as early as the mid-1990's, transferred others to Syria, and had recently focused its efforts instead on research and development projects that are virtually impervious to detection by international inspectors, and even American forces on the ground combing through Iraq's giant weapons plants.

First, doesn't this sound a lot like "Suzy told Janie after studyhall that..." to anyone else? But second, realize what is actually being said here. Largescale chemical and biological weapons manufacture that cannot be detected, even by troops looking specifically for biological and chemical weapons. Sounds a little odd to me, but we can let it pass...

They said they feared that such information could jeopardize the scientist's safety by identifying the part of the weapons program where he worked.

Interesting. So there's a scientist, already within the custody of a US special forces division, who is apparently quite a good informant - yet the US can't protect him from a government which no longer exists? Now, either we have to believe that this threat is real, and some organization yet to be named really can assassinate or hurt whoever they want, even if that person is in the US under heavy military guard - which begs the question of why more government officials are still alive - or this threat is manufactured so as to avoid sticky questions like, "is this person even a little credible?"

But on top of that, suppose for a moment you're a government on the brink of war, whose sole tactic at this point is to portray a soon-to-be-invading army as an aggressive, imperialist force. You destroy your weapons caches and bury them in the desert. A limited number of people know where they are, and apparently are more keen than the CIA, MI6, and Hamas combined, and know the details of the dealings of the Iraqi military with reguards to other countries as well as in depth the structure of their top secret operations for the past decade and a half. Supposing you don't want this information to get out (since you've invented invisible structures capable of producing unknown chemical weapons, presumably given your "evil" nature, brimstone and eye of newt figures prominently as ingredients) do you: A) Kill the scientists, B) Take some measures (kidnapping family, etc...) to deter the scientist from talking, or C) Let the scientist go without so much as forcing him to sign a NDA...

But he has given the Americans information about other unconventional weapons activities, they said, as well as information about Iraqi weapons cooperation with Syria, and with terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda. It was not clear how the scientist knew of such a connection.

Maybe the fact that it's unclear as to how he knew should be setting off at least some alert bells. It's entirely possible that a low-level scientist of some sort came to the US for protection after the invasion realizing that, should the US find a lot of the scientists working on chemical weapons or even legal ones, they aren't going to be giving them university posts in the near future. It may very well be someone who just wants some measure of protection, and a better life.

"What they've discovered," he added, "could prove to be of incalculable value. Though much work must still be done to validate the information MET Alpha has uncovered, if it proves out it will clearly be one of the major discoveries of this operation, and it may be the major discovery."

What's funny about how they close this article is how telling it is. Basically, we went to war under the pretense of disarming someone becuase we could prove, even if the UN and those commie liberal French didn't believe us, that Iraq was in material breach of UN resolutions and needed to be disarmed. Now, as it turns out, we didn't actually know any of this, and now we've gone in after the war using any method possible to justify the capricious actions we took. "Guilty until proven so" is not a very good standard when conducting international affairs, especially in such a traditionally unstable region as the Middle east.

* = for rhetorical purpose only. I assure you, I am not so hubristic as to believe anyone is actually reading this.

cranked out at 1:13 PM | |

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