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Archive: 18 May 2004

WMDs In The Wild

Thinking conservative Keith Burgin points out that the presence of a sarin-containing shell means far more than a single incident on an Iraqi road side.  What it would mean is that there is very likely more such material out there, and the media is effectively teaching future attackers how to better use that material.  I agree.  I thought that was understood, but upon reflection I was negligent to leave it implicit.

We could always hope that this is an isolated incident, a freak use of a single forgotten shell left over from the first Gulf War period, but that doesn’t seem very likely, I’m afraid.  And I mean that literally.

WMDs on the QT?

“WMDs Found in Iraq” ran the headline across the top of FoxNews.com last night.  I flipped over to CNN.com, where the headline was “Busy hurricane season ahead”.  What?  A coverup by the vast left-wing media conspiracy?  Um, no.

Even this morning, where the top Fox News headline is “Bremer: June 30 deadline stands” there’s a sidelink to “Sarin, Mustard Gas Discovered Separately in Iraq“.  When you go to that article, it starts off with:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent (search) recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday.

Bush administration officials told Fox News that mustard gas (search) was also recently discovered.

Then, just a few paragraphs later, the very same article says:

…Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the [sarin] results were from a field test, which can be imperfect, and said more analysis was needed. If confirmed, it would be the first finding of a banned weapon upon which the United States based its case for war.

So at best, there is strong suspicion that a sarin round has been discovered, which kind of belies the top-of-article claim.  I’m not saying there is no sarin, mind you; there may well be.  I’m saying that the article (and headline) are at best misleading.

As of this writing, you do have to dig a bit into the CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and MSNBC sites to find information about the possible sarin incident, and none of them mention mustard gas at all.  Interesting that Bush adminsitration officials would tell Fox News about a possible mustard gas find but not share that with anyone else, but never mind that now.  By looking at various sites’ information about the possible sarin-laced round, it appears that the current thinking is that even if it was a sarin round, the person who used it to create an improvised explosive device probably had no idea it contained sarin.  I’d tend to agree with that assessment, since if I were fighting an occupation  force and knew I had such a weapon, I wouldn’t use it in an attempt to blow up a convoy; instead, I’d detonate it upwind of the occupying force’s headquarters.  (If you don’t like my word choices in the previous sentence, then if I were a terrorist trying to strike at U.S. forces… same result, different motives.)

These kinds of inconsistency are bothering me more and more as we approach the serious phase of the Presidential campaign, to which I intend to pay attention once the party conventions are over.  It seems like one has to do more work than should be necessary just to try to figure out what’s really going on—a subject to which I’ll be returning in a near-future post, as it happens.  To paraphrase a signature file often seen in a newsgroup where I hang out, I must be getting annoyed because I’m starting to pay attention.

Oh, one other thing.  While I was wandering around through various articles, I found something interesting, if unsurprising.  Most every time I mention Fox News and how I think they tilt right, I get e-mail from folks who say that actually, Fox News is fair and balanced and they just look right-wing compared to the Liberal Media, like CNN.  Bad news, guys: given the advertising links I came across, the free market seems to have reached a different conclusion.

A set of nine advertising links, of which four are clearly to the right of the political spectrum, and another two could be considered to be so.  The four are: 'Republican singles', 'Hannity Book Free', 'USS Reagan Cap Free', and 'Mel Gibson Book Free'.  The two are 'Meet military singles' and 'Retire Overseas!'. A portion of an ad for the 'Conservative Book Club' taken from a Fox News article.
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