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April 24, 2003

WMD: Words of Mass Deception

It seems that everywhere people are asking questions about weapons of mass destruction, the most obvious being: Where are the WMDs? Left Coast Expat wondered about this the other day, and David Corn changes the question a bit to ask "Where are the WMD Hunters?" To paraphrase Corn's excellent points: If we were so worried that Iraq's "WMD" would fall into the hands of terrorists or "rogue" nations, shouldn't we have made finding and securing those WMDs priority number one both during and after the so-called "war"? Why is the U.S. suddenly so complacent about this? (Why is Dumsfeld allowed to speak in public ever?) As the Washington Post kindly reminds us:

The existence of weapons of mass destruction - and goal of disarming Iraq - were the mains [sic] reasons given by the administration for the war, which did not get U.N. approval.

That means Yubbledew, Inc. absolutely must find some WMD in Iraq, and that means it has incredible incentive to lie, or continue lying. As Head Spinner Ari Fliescher* says:

"There are no changes in the American position. We have high confidence that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction ... that indeed will be found in whatever form it is."

Got that? "In whatever form it is." So, um, Ari, does that include the stuff you're going to plant?

Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington summarizes a few of the facts that show that those who opposed the war in Iraq were right all along, the negative of which is: Yubbledew, Inc. was wrong. It lied. Is the world a better place for the fact that the U.S. has overthrown Saddam Hussein? Does the end justify the means? Only time will tell. The lack of any WMD might suggest the world became less safe—if Iraq had those weapons, and we can't find them, perhaps they're making their way to the U.S. right now in suitcases or something. But in a bigger sense, what many fear is that each "little" and "easy" war (Afghanistan, Iraq) makes the next war seem that much smaller and easier. You know, perpetual war for perpetual peace and all that.

Those "little" wars will only get easier to conduct so long as Americans remain uncritical consumers of domestic media accounts of international affairs. As Christopher Lydon argues, unless we're careful, "we all become Serbs in wartime, and most especially the media," meaning we almost can't help but view the war through the severely skewed lens of our own culture. But how did the war look to, oh, I don't know, the Swiss? The question might put some flag-waving into perspective.

Finally, in an update to the "Saddam Conspiracy" thread I've been following a bit, Salon asks, What happened to Iraq's army?:

The whole issue of Iraqi soldiers -- how many died or were wounded, how many deserted or fought to the end, where they are now -- is surrounded by a veil of secrecy. Neither the U.S. forces in Iraq nor the Iraqis themselves seem to be willing to delve into it too deep. As a result, conspiracy theories about Iraq's defeat, involving either treason or the U.S. use of "low-level nuclear devices," abound. Paranoia rules; even ordinary or wounded Iraqi soldiers, fearing that U.S. troops will arrest them, refuse to identify themselves. Members of the elite units have a better-founded fear of becoming the target of popular revenge, even for individual misdeeds. Says one former Republican Guard conscript: "Even today, after two years, if I find my officer in the street I'll beat him to a pulp."


* Horror of horrors, Ari Fliescher has fans with a fanclub? And another? So says Scott at Law, LIfe, Libido. Just when I thought the world could not become a scarier place, I find Ari-lovers who live at the virtual address of "" The end of civilization is nigh.

Posted 11:30 AM | Comments (4) | general politics

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