Sunday, August 06, 2006

More Insanity Evidence

The insanity keeps coming fast and furious.

On the same day, we get two articles from the AP.

One laments, with incredulity, that fully half of Americans still believe Saddam had WMD, in spite of what the MSM has been telling them!
Half of U.S. still believes Iraq had WMD
Do you believe in Iraqi "WMD"? Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003?

Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.

People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.
"This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said.
The other article puts a neutral to slightly positive spin on the "9/11 as an inside job" conspiracy theories, revealing the "blackballing" going on against the brave inquirers for Truth!
9/11 conspiracy theorists thriving
Kevin Barrett believes the U.S government might have destroyed the World Trade Center. Steven Jones is researching what he calls evidence that the twin towers were brought down by explosives detonated inside them, not by hijacked airliners.

These men aren't uneducated junk scientists: Barrett will teach a class on Islam at the University of Wisconsin this fall, over the protests of more than 60 state legislators. Jones is a tenured physicist at Brigham Young University whose mainstream academic job has made him a hero to conspiracy theorists.

Five years after the terrorist attacks, a community that believes widely discredited ideas about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, persists and even thrives. Members trade their ideas on the Internet and in self-published papers and in books. About 500 of them attended a recent conference in Chicago.

The movement claims to be drawing fresh energy and credibility from a recently formed group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
"Are you blackballed for delving into this topic? Oh yes," Wood said. "And that is why there are so few who do. Most contracts have something to do with some government research lab. So what would that do to you? The consequences are too great for a career. But I made the choice that truth was more important."
Notice any difference in tone?

The 9/11 conspiracy article presents the "official" version at best as equal with the conspiracy version.

The WMD article, however, comes down firmly that one side is established fact and the other is fantasy -- as if they could prove a counterfactual anyway:
The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.
Never mind the banned long range missiles that Iraq indeed did have in abundance! How is that "no trace of banned arsenals"???
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Russian engineers secretly helped Iraq's long-range missile program in the years leading up to last year's Iraq War, in violation of a UN ban, The New York Times said quoting US officials.

The Iraq Survey Group, the US team looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, also found that Iraq had received assistance from sources in Belarus, Serbia and Ukraine, the US officials said.
Although the United States discovered the Russian engineers' activities after it invaded Iraq a year ago, it chose to keep it secret for fear of harming relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the sources said.
Never mind the 1.7 tons of enriched uranium we removed from the country after the war! In 1999, the Nuclear Control Institute warned,
Washington---The new plan for resuming weapons inspections in Iraq, adopted today by the U.N. Security Council, fails to reform weak nuclear inspections and “leaves loopholes big enough to drive an atom bomb through,” the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI) warned today.

“Under the new regime, nuclear inspections will still be run by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which since 1991 has shown itself far too willing to trust and accommodate what it calls its Iraqi ‘counterparts’," said NCI President Paul Leventhal.
An immediate concern is that Iraq was permitted by the IAEA to retain enough low-enriched uranium for at least two nuclear bombs if Iraq were able to run the uranium through a small, clandestine enrichment plant to bring the uranium up to weapons grade. The re-enrichment could be accomplished within one year in a plant hundreds of times smaller than a commercial enrichment plant and needing only enough electricity to run a small office building. This uranium has not been examined by inspectors in over a year. The existence of a small Iraqi enrichment plant cannot be ruled out and is a matter of continuing concern.
We were only able to remove that uranium after removing Saddam Hussein.

It wasn't technically banned -- but it should have been.

Thus, they take a deliberately obtuse and hyper-literalist interpretation of the arguments.
Other polls also have found an enduring American faith in the WMD story.
"As perception grows of worsening conditions in Iraq, it may be that Americans are just hoping for more of a solid basis for being in Iraq to begin with," said the Harris Poll's David Krane.
The condescension just drips.

Ok, which is the whackier theory, AP?

That the government secretly placed tons of explosives in the WTC and brought them down as an inside job?

Or that an evil dictator, known to have used chemical weapons, and known to possess them in 1991, and believed by everybody in 1998 to still have them (after all, what was Clinton bombing for 3 days?), might possibly have squirreled a few away for a rainy day after having spent billions in procuring them?

Perhaps he didn't, but is it totally insane to think that?

Versus being totally insane to accept the 9/11 conspiracy theory?

I think many who answered the poll saying "yes" were thinking that Hussein must have been up to something, though not being precisely sure what.

Imagine you're the dictator, and your goal is to get sanctions lifted by your buddies whom you've bribed with the Oil-for-Food program, and they assure you they will block any war.

You just have to keep the bumbling inspectors (who missed 500+ chemical shells, apparently) from finding any of your banned weapons.

But you want your rivals to all think you are not weak, and that you might still have these weapons.

What is more rational?

That you actually make yourself weak and destroy every last ounce of chem and bio munition -- but don't tell anyone about it?

Or that, in your paranoia (you've only gotten to where you are by killing hordes of people and have made many enemies), you hide some away for insurance?

I don't know.

But it's not obvious that one of those scenarios is completely implausible.

It's a bold step to claim to know in "reality", as the AP seems to, just what happened, isn't it?

And to then on the same day push the 9/11 conspiracy as something at least to keep an open mind about?

Pernicious, seditious nonsense!

Postscript: it is interesting to read Clinton's speech about the December, 1999 bombing campaign in Iraq, and its justifications:
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM.
Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.
Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere.
Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.
The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort.
If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.
Shrivel up and die, AP.


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