November 1, 2005
Weapon of Mass Media Deception
The absurdity of Harry Reid's tantrum today, forcing the Senate into a rare closed session as a stunt to draw attention to the Democrats' claims that the entire Iraq war was cooked up by Karl Rove and the neocons and sold to Americans by lies and distortions (see virtually any speech by John F. Kerry in 2004) has been ably covered already today by Power Line and by Captain's Quarters. I have little to add to the main points of Paul and Ed.
I'm more interested in the way that the mainstream news media manipulate the story in order to support the Democrats' side of the dispute. Let's start with the easiest to document, the slam dunk. Here is the Associated Press today:
Democrats contend that the unmasking of Valerie Plame was retribution for her husband, Joseph Wilson, publicly challenging the Bush administration's contention that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Africa. That claim was part of the White House's justification for going to war.
Missing in action from this report is the fact that the Butler Report from Great Britain completely affirmed this very contention (actually, Bush said that the British had such evidence), and also that the final, unanimous report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that Joseph Wilson himself told his CIA debriefer that the Nigerien prime minister (and former minister of mines) had stated that the Iraqis conducted secret negotiations to buy something from Niger -- and that the prime minister believed that "something" was yellowcake uranium (as opposed to animal hides or cowpeas, Niger's other exports).
But lying by omission is not the worst of the reporting. In its zeal to cheer the Democrats on, AP has yet again exaggerated beyond the evidence to blatant falsehood about what we actually found in Iraq:
Reid's move shone a spotlight on the continuing controversy over prewar intelligence. Despite administration claims, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and some Democrats have accused the White House of manipulating the information.
While it is true that under the crabbed definition of WMDs used by the U.N. inspectors no "large stockpiles" of chemical or biological weapons have been found, it is completely false to assert, as AP does, that none were. Washington Post, July 3rd, 2004, in a story written by Walter Pincus:
Yesterday's coalition release also said that two other 122-milimeter rounds, found by the Poles on June 16 with help from an Iraqi informer, tested positive for small quantities of sarin but were "so deteriorated" that they would have had "limited to no impact if used by insurgents against coalition forces."
Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, told Fox News on June 24 that "some" old sarin and mustard rounds have been discovered in scattered places, demonstrating "that the Iraqi declarations were wrong at least in . . . amount." But Duelfer cautioned he was not ready to make any judgment whether there were any "still concealed" military-capable stockpiles.
Even by the overly strict definition of the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG), these all qualify as "weapons of mass destruction." But more to the point is the definition itself: for Walter Pincus, the Associated Press, the entire mainstream media, the official line of the Democratic Party, and evidently the CIA and State Department themselves, the rockets found (or purchased) by the Poles in 2004 do not count as chemical munitions because the warheads, while manufactured to accept chemicals, were not filled.
Bear in mind that the ISG was led first by David Kay, then by Charles Duelfer. Kay was pushed by the State Department and by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed ElBaradei; and Duelfer was appointed by then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet: all three of these groups have waged relentless political warfare against George W. Bush, against Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in particular, against the conclusion of the "neocons" that Iraq posed a grave and gathering threat to the United States.
Each has persisted in this war-against-the-war long after the major-combat phase of the war itself was won, and the peace began to be waged with such intensity. The primary tactic they have used during this latter period has been to dispute every single WMD find as being something benign -- or at least potentially civilian -- instead of military.
Many times, we found huge drums of cyclosarin-based "pesticides" hidden in camouflaged ammunition bunkers... and many times we found empty chemical rockets and artillery shells, often at the same ammo dumps. But evidently, that doesn't constitute chemical weapons according to the ISG. But if Hussein's regime had actually poured the first into the second, then and only then would they be defined as chemical weapons.
Does this mean that a gun is not a gun if it's not loaded?
In virtually every case - chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles - the United States has found the weapons and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years from U.N. weapons inspectors....
But what are "stockpiles" of CW agents supposed to look like? Was anyone seriously expecting Saddam to have left behind freshly painted warehouses packed with chemical munitions, all neatly laid out in serried rows, with labels written in English? Or did they think that a captured Saddam would guide U.S. troops to smoking vats full of nerve gas in an abandoned factory? In fact, as recent evidence made public by a former operations officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority's (CPA's) intelligence unit in Iraq shows, some of those stockpiles have been found - not all at once, and not all in nice working order - but found all the same....
But another reason for the media silence may stem from the seemingly undramatic nature of the "finds" [Douglas] Hanson and others have described. The materials that constitute Saddam's chemical-weapons "stockpiles" look an awful lot like pesticides, which they indeed resemble. "Pesticides are the key elements in the chemical-agent arena," Hanson says. "In fact, the general pesticide chemical formula (organophosphate) is the 'grandfather' of modern-day nerve agents."
(Hanson was an "atomic demolitions munitions security officer and a nuclear, biological and chemical defense officer" who was a civilian analyst in Iraq in summer 2003 working on WMD issues.)
It is well known that the staggering extent of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs was only discovered after he lost the Gulf War. Iraqi chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons by the tens of thousands were unearthed (often literally) and destroyed by the coalition. Afterward (we have known this for some time from defectors), Hussein decided that Iraq would take a new tack in its never-ending quest for WMD: from then on, all of Iraq's programs were designed to be "dual use": each would have an ostensibly civilian purpose (pesticides, medical research, nuclear power generation) but could quickly -- in some cases within minutes -- be converted to military use.
Therefore, when looking for "stockpiles" of WMD, the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) should have been looking, not for a warehouse full of shells pre-filled with sarin or mustard gas or anthrax, but rather for the precursor components of such: shells and rockets built to accept such chemicals or biological agents in close proximity to the agents themselves... even if they're not actually loaded into the warhead yet.
A rocket that can accept toxic chemicals into its warhead near a 55-gallon drum of cyclosarin-based "pesticide" is a chemical weapon, and it should be defined as such.
At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area, Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that was shown to reporters - with unpleasant results. "More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson says. "But later ISG tests resulted in a proclamation of negative, end of story, nothing to see here, etc., and the earlier findings and injuries dissolved into nonexistence. Left unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6 feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also colocated with a military ammunition dump - evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG."
That wasn't the only significant find by coalition troops of probable CW stockpiles, Hanson believes. Near the northern Iraqi town of Bai'ji, where Saddam had built a chemical-weapons plant known to the United States from nearly 12 years of inspections, elements of the 4th Infantry Division found 55-gallon drums containing a substance identified through mass spectrometry analysis as cyclosarin - a nerve agent. Nearby were surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, gas masks and a mobile laboratory that could have been used to mix chemicals at the site. "Of course, later tests by the experts revealed that these were only the ubiquitous pesticides that everybody was turning up," Hanson says. "It seems Iraqi soldiers were obsessed with keeping ammo dumps insect-free, according to the reading of the evidence now enshrined by the conventional wisdom that 'no WMD stockpiles have been discovered.'" [Emphasis added]
Coalition troops have found mortar shells filled with a mystery liquid that tested positive in the field for being a blister agent (mustard gas, used so horrifically in World War I, is a blister agent); subsequent testing (redefinition) by the ISG disputed that finding. But lost in the shuffle was the question that should have leapt out at everyone: what conceivable purpose is served by placing a liquid inside a mortar shell in the first place?
Putting any sloshing substance inside a ballistic object would obviously throw off the accuracy -- so there must be some advantage that offsets that problem. Can we put our heads together and think of some possibility, a reason why a man like Saddam Hussein would order some liquid to be poured into a rocket or a mortar round?
Even by the most tendentious definition of WMD, we have found some; so AP's overreach is just flatly wrong. But more important, the definition of WMD stockpile itself is wrong. When assessing threat, you dare not take the most benign view that all those drums of cyclosarin, "reference strains" of Anthrax and botulinum, and those empty chemical and biological munitions are unrelated and only coincidentally situated right next to each other in camouflaged bunkers and ammo dumps. You must use the most expansive defintion that takes into account the avowed intent of the Iraqi WMD programs to produce "dual use" chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons. And by that definition -- which the ISG would have used in any other context than the CIA's attempt to thwart the Bush Administration's foreign policy -- we have indeed found "large stockpiles" of WMD.
Even if the Democrats -- and their allies in the MSM and the CIA -- don't want to admit it.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 1, 2005, at the time of 4:57 PM
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The following hissed in response by: cdquarles
We need to ask the left wing media this question: "How many 400,000 sq. ft. underground bunkers are there in Iraq?", since they continue to spout the lie that there were no WMD found in Iraq when we know that we have found some and that trucks headed to Syria were probably carrying some kind of cargo that Hussein didn't want to be caught with while it could be attributed to him.
The above hissed in response by: cdquarles at November 1, 2005 5:53 PM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
With a series of flip charts, McLaughlin showed that Saddam--with near certainty--had lethal chemical and biological weapons, mobile biological weapons production facilities and missiles with ranges far in excess of U.N. ceilings. He was, moreover, thought to be aggressively pursuing such WMD programs.
Bush was not overwhelmed. "Nice try," he said, but it's not good enough to convince "Joe Public." Turning to Tenet, Bush posed a critical question: "I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD, and this is the best we've got?" Tenet then weighed in with perhaps the most momentous pronouncement of his career: "It's a slam dunk case!" he enthusiastically informed the President. Wary, Bush pressed the DCI again: "George, how confident are you?" Tenet repeated: "Don't worry, it's a slam dunk."
Tenet had sold the President, but Bush was not entirely happy. He informed Andy Card and Condoleezza Rice, each of whom had attended the briefing, "Needs a lot more work" and he warned Tenet several times: "Make sure no one stretches to make our case."
(from "Plan of Attack" by Bob Woodward)
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
Let me see if I understand the DNC's case.
Rove and crew are so sinister, manipulative, clever and devious that they stole two elections.
So instead of leaking Joe Wilson's Report when he started spouting off before the Election and showing him to be the blatant lyer that he is they, leaked his wife's covert Identity which was going to do what besides taking the focus off Wilson's lies AND
they leaked the information to reliable Conservative Reporters who would of course keep their identities a secret.
Only a Democrat could believe that scenerio.
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at November 1, 2005 9:50 PM
The following hissed in response by: hunter
Having just received the coordinated e-mail from the DNC's Dr. Dean regarding this stunt, I would suggest that the dims are doing nothing less than attemtpting a coup. They want to impose their agenda and conclusions about this war onto the Senate and House. I think they will try an impeachment of the President and very soon.
Their implosion over the SCOTUS means they will very likely try for a filibuster to control that as well.
dims are all for Democracy like in Washington state where they can stuff ballot boxes, or in Florida where they get to chage rules of ballot counting after the fact, but they are absolutely against Democracy in places like Iraq or the US if it means they can't control everything.
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
Re: hunter at November 2, 2005 12:16 AM
If the libs lose the Supreme Court too, they'll have to redeploy their troops, even more than they have already, to their last big strongholds: universities, public schools, public employees unions, mainstream news, and Hollywood. Talk about dangerous insurgency....
The following hissed in response by: streeter
The Duelfer report is full of issues that were totally ignored. One quick example dealt with long range missiles. The report concluded that Saddam indeed did not have long range missiles. The vey next heading then discusses "clustering" of short range missiles and how the Iraqis had Russian plans, engineers and capabilities to create long range missiles from these short range ones. The report is filled with these type of separate isssues that were ignored.
F Reid. In his little speach yesterday he also talked about health care crises and how he feared for his families' well being et al. Seeing as how he's directed millions in pork and bogus jobs to his family and their companies, what's he worried about? Hey Harry, America views all of Washington as a "culture of corruption", not just the Republican party. Why don't we get a special prosecutor to look into the House of Reid.
I'm just so sick of this guy.
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
Rush Limbaugh has made a mistake...the 2nd link lists a date of "October 9, 1999"; however, the correct date is October 9, 1998 (may require subscription).
Dig this list of Dems' statements from the 2nd link of Democrat Quotes on Saddam Hussein's WMD Before the War between 1998 and 2002.
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at November 2, 2005 3:39 PM
The following hissed in response by: Al 42
The author of that piece, Aaron Klein, has 50+ huge pictures of the interior of the labs that the Duelfer mentions in the sole paragraph on the subject as a 'hydrogen weather balloon facility'.
Except... _look_ at the equipment in there. A bank of high pressure gas cylinders with a single common regulator. (Not sensible if you're _filling_ them) A row of places on the side of the truck that might be for filling cylinder-like objects - but there is standard copper tubing running to that site. Copper tubing isn't something you want to use to _fill_ a tank with hydrogen - it ruptures before the tank is 10% of the way to full pressure.
A cryogenic pump, a large reactor vessel, a high-vacuum pump... none of these things read 'hydrogen filling station'.
If you know a chemical engineer, ask them "What would _you_ use to make a hydrogen weather balloon facility?" Then compare equipment. The three easiest and four cheapest methods of generating hydrogen just flat out do NOT match with the equipment presented.
I can't say what it _is_, just what it is _not_, and I don't like the answers I've heard thus far.
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