Tuesday, June 10, 2003
The New York Times imitates Indymedia: For those of you unfamiliar with it, (you're lucky) Indymedia is a collection of Web sites from the lunatic left which are rabidly anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-intelligence. How is the Old Gray Lady imitating Indymedia? Well, it's publishing this claptrap by columnist Paul Krugman.
Krugman, curiously, chooses to take the most solid evidence that has yet been produced to demonstrate Saddam Hussein had a WMD program -- the "germ warfare" trailers -- and hangs his hat on reports by "experts" that they could be used to inflate balloons.
Or look at the affair of the infamous "germ warfare" trailers. I don't know whether those trailers were intended to produce bioweapons or merely to inflate balloons, as the Iraqis claim — a claim supported by a number of outside experts. (According to the newspaper The Observer, Britain sold Iraq a similar system back in 1987.) What is clear is that an initial report concluding that they were weapons labs was, as one analyst told The Times, "a rushed job and looks political." President Bush had no business declaring "we have found the weapons of mass destruction."
To people like Krugman, it's always going to "look political." Nothing can be done about that. Krugman's an intelligent man, though blinded by his ideological obsessions, but you'd think he would have addressed Secretary of State Colin Powell's argument, made on Fox News Sunday. Powell's argument is one even an economics professor could understand: If those trailers were used to inflate balloons, then immediately after Powell's presentation to the U.N. Security Council detailing their use as mobile biological labs the Iraqis would have rolled one of them up to the parking lot of the Palestine Hotel and given the world press a tour. The balloon theory doesn't pass the laugh test.
Krugman also claims, based on an Associated Press report, that the search for WMDs is over, because the military has run out of places to look.
It's now two months since Baghdad fell — and according to The A.P., military units searching for W.M.D.'s have run out of places to look.
Well, according to a Daily Mirror (not a pro-U.S. tabloid) report that's not the case.
The stark failures at the top of the list have led to the Exploitation Group's work being scaled back, with fewer than 300 of the 900 targets inspected.
You can discount the Mirror's take on this, just note that only a third of the sites have been searched. Run out of places to look? Flashback to May 17 and you can find this report:
(Douglas) Feith (undersecretary of Defense) said U.S. forces have searched about 20% of roughly 600 suspected weapons sites.
Pentagon officials say that 110 of 616 suspected sites had been searched, and that the number of people conducting the searches will more than double in coming weeks, to 1,300.
Even the article Krugman references notes that the search is far from over.
"We've interviewed a fraction of the people who were involved. We've gone to a fraction of the sites. We've gone through a fraction of thousands and thousands and thousands of documents about this program," National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.
Intelligence agents and weapons hunters have been speaking with scientists and experts for the past month, but those interviews have not led the teams to any illegal weapons and none of the tips provided by Iraqis have panned out.
But if you look behind all of Krugman's bluster, you'll note that the "lies" he's accusing Bush of are the exact same "lies" President Clinton alleged throughout the '90s. The only difference is Bush did something about it.
For those of you interested in a thoughtful rebuttal to many of Krugman's tired arguments, check out The Washington Post's Robert Kagan in Sunday's paper. Kagan lists a number of prominent politicians over the past decade who have "lied" about Iraq's possession of WMDs, including: George W. Bush, Tony Blair, former CIA director John Deutch, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Jacques Chirac, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and the German intelligence service. Kagan concludes:
So if you like a good conspiracy, this one's a doozy. And the best thing about it is that if all these people are lying, there's only one person who ever told the truth: Saddam Hussein. And now we can't find him either.
Though they would object to the charge, Krugman and his fellow conspiracy theorists believe that Saddam Hussein is more trustworthy than President Bush. That's their argument at its heart. It tells you something about them, and it's not pretty.