Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Greatest Hits

On anthrax there are a lot of them. Post or email your favorites. A few are below, and they run the gamut from amusingly amateurish to dangerously deceptive. This isn't an exercise in "archive gotcha." To varying degrees these words helped build the pre and post-invasion case for war, and during the past week there's been a distinct lack of retractions, revisitations, and mea culpas. Also, as Glenn Greenwald notes, the issue of where some in the media got their false Saddam-implicating info is an important one.

The leading supplier suspect has to be Iraq...the government has to do everything possible to destroy the anthrax threat at its state-sponsored source.

-Wall Street Journal 10/15/01

The discovery in a Florida office building of anthrax--the Iraq-favored biological agent--may be all the explanation we need for why the administration is beginning to warn that actions could be required against "other states."

-William Kristol 10/9/01

And Iraq is the only nation in the world, other than the United States and Russia, to have developed the kind of sophisticated anthrax that appeared in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. What will it take for the FBI and the CIA to start connecting the dots here? A signed confession from Saddam?

-Robert Kagan and William Kristol 11/19/01

"Nobody has the expertise and has any motive to attack the U.S. except Saddam to do this. This is Iraq. This is Saddam...Probably this is the first wave."

-Khidhir Hamza aka Saddam's bombmaker 10/22/01

Let me share with you my theory as to why American Media, parent company of The National Enquirer, The Star, and other tabloid magazines, may have been targeted by Osama bin Laden's anthrax-wielding henchmen.

-Jonah Goldberg, National Review, 10/15/01

Americans are now evenly divided on whether we should have toppled Saddam. Continued U.S. casualties will only increase those doubts. Yet no doubt would exist, if the public understood that Iraqi intelligence was intimately involved in the 9/11 attacks and that the military grade anthrax sent to Senators Leahy and Daschle almost certainly came from an Iraqi lab.

-Laurie Mylroie, National Review, 11/24/03

Letters accompanying the attacks stated, "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is Great." Nevertheless, investigations have focused on domestic sources since the anthrax was in some cases highly sophisticated and weaponized. The fact that the Kay report mentioned Iraqi anthrax-production capabilities could point in another direction, if the "domestic perp" premise can be overcome. (It is comparable to the premise that the D.C. sniper had to be a disgruntled, white, right-wing Christian—a bad working assumption that ignored the obvious.)

-James Robbins, National Review, 5/3/04

A constellation of circumstantial evidence suggesting that the 9/11 hijackers dabbled in anthrax was apparently put aside while the Bureau mulishly pursued its theory that a lone-wolf scientist perpetrated the attacks — a theory whose premise has been undermined by the forensic determination that the anthrax was not scientifically weaponized.

-The Editors, National Review, 11/27/06


Anonymous John B. said...

the ghost of Billmon returns...

8/06/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

hahaha billmon. I used to read him.

8/06/2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

Wow. Certainly a testament to the power of the Media to shape opinion. Honestly, the demonization of Saddam Hussien is fascinating to me from a sociological standpoint.

This was a man who never did anything to the US. At least not that I can think of, correct me if I'm wrong. As many here are aware, he was our man in Baghdad all through the '80s when he was fighting Iran. It was then that we provided intelligence (at least) to enable him to better use those chemical and biological weapons we have heard so much about. Of course, it turns out we were arming Iran too. Funny how that is.

Then Hussein accused Kuwait of slant drilling his oil, and invaded. I don't know if Kuwait was really doing this, or if it was just Hussein's convenient excuse to take over more oil fields (or both). At any rate, we slapped him down and he has been the most evil man in the world, bent on US destruction, ever since.

It always seemed to me that Hussein's only interest in the US was for us to help him maintain power (as in the 80's) or for us to get off his back (ever since the 80's). Sure, he said mean stuff about the US. But we had been bombing and sanctioning his country for years. So some heated rhetoric would be understandable, though not desirable.

So why were we so concerned about Saddam, again? Why was he such a threat to us? He never had the ability to attack us. Remember the wooden "drones" that we were told he could launch against us? From across Africa and the Atlantic? That was pretty funny. Sure, he could have sent some operatives over here to mess with us. But so could anybody; that's nothing special. Besides, as far as I know, he never did. Yet he was a "grave threat"!

As I said, the demonization of Saddam Hussein is a testament to the power of the media to shape public opinion. Quite amazing!

8/06/2008 10:19 AM  
Anonymous judyo said...

Billmon turned up @ dKOS last week and it was a breath of fresh air.

8/06/2008 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There really should be consequences when people in the media get shit wrong. Why does anyone listen to Bill Kristol? He should have been laughed out of the business years ago, but no, he scores a plum gig writing op-eds for the NY Times. If there was a god in heaven, Jonah Goldberg would be unemployed, but no, he not only has a gig with the LA Times, but he gets invited onto news talk shows like he knows anything outside of Simpsons scripts. Is it asking too much to at least ask for an occasional mea culpa?

8/06/2008 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...


To quote a great Dead Kennedys song...

"We had Libya all ready to go, and Colonel Khadaffi's 'hit squad' didn't even show up! I tell ya, that man is unreliable."

8/06/2008 12:01 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

"And Iraq is the only nation in the world, other than the United States and Russia, to have developed the kind of sophisticated anthrax that appeared in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle."

This must be a misprint. I recently read the only other country that has developed dry aerosolized anthrax is another middle eastern country that begins with 'I' and I'm not referring to Iran.

"Why was he such a threat to us? He never had the ability to attack us. Remember the wooden "drones" that we were told he could launch against us?"

If by 'us' one includes Haifa and Tel Aviv, well, yes. Saddam was a threat to 'us' much the same as Ahmedinijad is a threat to 'us'.

Thanks CR. This whitewash has neocon fingerprints all over it.

8/06/2008 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Billmon is back indeed. He's posted two diaries(that I know of) and is actively posting comments. While he is not writing his own blog, at least he's back contributing to the public debate.

8/06/2008 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you all forget, he tried to kill my daddy!

8/06/2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Troy said...

So why were we so concerned about Saddam, again?

Saddam was sending checks to the families of palestianian suicide bombers.

Saddam was beginning to break out of the sanctions box and when he did he was going to reopen his country to the French and Russian oil industry players (and shut the UK and US out completely for our role in the 90s sanction regime)

Saddam was the general equivalent of NK, with sons in place to continue this BS for another 50 years.

Going in I wasn't 100% opposed to the action, only 95%+. I thought it was terribly risky since I knew an insurgency is piss-simple to put together and incredibly bloody to put down.

8/08/2008 11:21 PM  
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