Friday, June 13, 2003

Typical right-wing red herring...

How cute. GOP propaganda tools, desperate to change the subject from the lack of Iraqi WMD, are trying to distract the public through classic right-wing tactics.

One of the latest goes something like: "well, we haven't found Saddam Hussein, either! I bet he never existed!".

Although it should be noted that some actually have posited that Saddam has been dead for awhile (and he may be dead now), the above is a (deliberate) straw man, and is a prime example of right-wing propaganda tactics. Folks, no one has claimed Saddam never had WMD. That's a talk radio invention. The claim is that the WMD threat in the runup to the war was based on shakey intelligence and was nontheless hyped to whip Americans up for war. The claim is that over 3500 Iraqi civilians, over 200 coalition troops and countless Iraqi soldiers died for a threat that wasn't a threat, and that the administration may have known it.

Let me say that again: no one is saying Saddam never had WMD. Hell, we sold him some of the materials necessary for making them.

Apart from right wingers (who drink this stuff up, and for whom insulted intelligence really isn't in the cards), Americans everwhere should take offense to such blatant, desperate attempts at changing the subject. A high crime may have been committed, and the administration's apologists in the right wing media are knowingly complicit in the crime.
Wanted: substitute hosts for Limbaugh's show. No brain required.

Rodger Hedgecock, sitting in for Rush Limbaugh yesterday, quoted a poll indicating more people "trust Bush" on Iraq than trust the Democrats, and concluded with the flash of brilliance, "where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction? Who cares?"

Of course, he failed to mention that nearly half of people polled also think we've already found WMD in Iraq. I wonder why...

Regardless, I would bet that he wasn't talking about polls today.

That's no to say that the Dems don't have a credibility problem, especially when it comes to national security. Of course, it would help if they opened their mouths and gave the public something to actually compare with the Republicans' stands on the issues, wouldn't it?
Bush is in the 50's again...

Looks like not even wars can keep Bush popular now...

Thursday, June 12, 2003

GOP tries cover-up on WMD issue!

Looks like the Congressional GOP, desperate to make the WMD issue go away, is putting party politics ahead of their responsibility to the nation and is refusing to hold the open, wide-ranging hearings that would be appropriate:

Congressional Republicans yesterday spurned Democrats' demands for a full-blown probe into whether the Bush administration manipulated prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs, saying Congress's current oversight operations will suffice.

. . .

At a news conference that appeared aimed at quelling mounting Democratic criticism, Senate intelligence committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the committee continues to review intelligence documents on weapons and plans to focus on them in closed-door hearings starting next week.

. . .

Roberts said some of the criticism of intelligence operations is politically inspired. "I will not allow the committee to be politicized or to be used as an unwitting tool for any political strategist," he said.

Given the possible grave nature of the offense this Republican administration has committed and the wholly unprecedented manner in which Congressional Republicans are trying to bury the story, the above statement is laughably ironic.

The thing is, I think this could end up backfiring significantly. This is a very big deal, and a coverup may only draw attention to it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Warnings of upcoming al Qaeda attacks

A U.S. report submitted to the U.N. warns that there is a "high probability" al Qaeda will attempt a WMD attack in the next couple of years:

A "high probability" exists that al Qaeda will attempt an attack using a biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapon within the next two years, according to a U.S. report presented to a U.N. committee.

Let's hope they don't do so with materials easily available thanks to the "liberation" of Iraq...

The liberation of Iraq

Today, from the AP:

When the explosion came, Mohammed Abed fought his way against a hot wind into a marketplace in ruins. Storefronts were twisted, bodies were strewn across the street and the injured wailed for help.

Abed ignored them. He was looking for a single black chador, and he spotted it quickly, lying on the sidewalk only five doors down from the tailor's shop where he lives and works. Abed lifted the crumpled gown.

Underneath was his young wife, covered in blood, nearly decapitated. Cradled in her dead arms was Fatima, his 6-month-old daughter. She was crying softly.

The United States said it went to extraordinary pains to avoid hurting civilians, but said no war can kill soldiers without killing innocents as well. That reality was brutally clear in the al-Shoala district of Baghdad on March 28.

Today, Fatima is sick because her mother is dead. She has no breast to nurse from, so she is given bottles of powdered milk her family can't afford. Her aunts mix the powder with tap water, which because of the war isn't properly purified.

A doctor told the family that Fatima has weak bones. He prescribed medicine, but nobody bought it. Since there is no electricity, the tailor's shop is closed. Since the shop is closed, there is no money for medicine.

Read the whole thing -- it's heartrending. Then recall that there were thousands of civilian casualties in the war to "liberate" Iraq, and remember that the country is still a shambles in very basic ways, despite administration promises that post-war Iraq would be better for the Iraqi people.

Germ Warfare Trailers?

As Milt points out on our headline site today, the London Observer is reporting that the "germ warfare trailers" being touted as evidence for an "Iraqi germ weapons program" (our newly-discovered rationale for invading; the imminent threat of actual weapons seems to have gone by the wayside) were likely nothing of the sort:

The intelligence agency MI6, British defence officers and technical experts from the Porton Down microbiological research establishment have been ordered to conduct an urgent review of the mobile facilities, following US analysis which casts serious doubt on whether they really are germ labs.

The British review comes amid widespread doubts expressed by scientists on both sides of the Atlantic that the trucks could have been used to make biological weapons.

Instead The Observer has established that it is increasingly likely that the units were designed to be used for hydrogen production to fill artillery balloons, part of a system originally sold to Saddam by Britain in 1987.

The British review follows access by UK officials to the vehicles which were discovered by US troops in April and May.

The Bushies just can't cut a break, can they? Not only are they backtracking on the Iraqi WMD threat, they just can't set the expectations low enough. Next thing you know, the argument will be that we know Saddam thought about WMD.

Oops -- I guess I'm too late. Don't these guys ever get tired of their "Clintonian" efforts at deceiving the public?

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