Monday, May 17, 2004

this morning i was doing my first routine scan of the IMN boards & found a new thread in the off-topic forum (sorry, only registered users can view off-topic; that way potential sponsors like the mayor's office are less likely to see all the filth & garbage on the board)... the subject line was WMD's HAVE been found in Iraq & the entirety of the first post was "...take that, you liberal commie-crat freaks" (with a "mad" emoticon).

of course, no citation of any sources, just random enraged name-calling. i'm pretty used to seeing that on IMN (& other messageboards); this type of irrational rush-style rage is well documented. but i thought i would check the news sites to see if there might be some basis to the claim or if the poster was just deluded.

it didn't take long to find the news story in question, although naturally the facts still don't come even close to proving that saddam had WMD.

the synopsis: a military convoy found one (count 'em: ONE, singular sensation... clearly not WMDs plural but one alleged WMD singular) 155mm shell that the military claims contained the ingredients for sarin gas, in a binary fashion (meaning two separate ingredients that must be mixed for the compound to become active), retooled into a crude bomb. the bomb exploded & released "a very small dispersal of agent".

one solitary round is a far cry from the hundreds of tons of sarin that bush claimed saddam had. but after more than a year of ransacking the country and finding zero WMDs, now some hawks are claiming that this discovery of one alleged WMD is proof that saddam had massive stockpiles all along. that's a pretty big conclusion to jump to, but with all the terrible news in iraq, i suppose they have to focus on anything that even conceivably support their propaganda.

assuming the story is even true (we heard lots of stories like this "during the war" & they all turned out to be bullshit), this discovery hardly proves any of bushco's claims.

1. plenty of countries own or have made sarin over the years; the sarin could've come from anywhere.
2. even if the sarin did originally come from saddam's arsenal, it doesn't mean more is out there. expert weapon inspector hans blix told the AP that he isn't convinced either (& he knows better than i would):

[blix] said it was likely the sarin gas used could have been from a leftover shell found in a chemical dump.

"It doesn't sound absurd at all. There can be debris from the past and that's a very different thing from have stocks and supplies," he said. "I think we need to know more about it."

Blix, whose inspection team didn't make any significant weapons finds during months of searching Iraq before the war, has sharply criticized the United States and Britain for their invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

Like most people, Blix said he was convinced as late as December 2002 that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction "because we'd seen cat and mouse play" for years by the Iraqis.

But U.N. inspectors had returned to Baghdad the previous month, and as their visits to the best sites provided by foreign intelligence agencies continued to turn up nothing, Blix said he became "more skeptical."

The inspectors were ordered out just before the war began last March, but Blix has said he knew by May "that there were no weapons to be found" because the Americans had interrogated many Iraqis and offered reward money for information with no results.

No comments: