micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Sunday, June 08, 2003
Maybe President George W. Bush was on to something this past Thursday when he decided to stop talking about suspected biological weapons labs as proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In today's Guardian, Peter Beaumont and Antony Barnett write:
Tony Blair faces a fresh crisis over Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, as evidence emerges that two vehicles that he has repeatedly claimed to be Iraqi mobile biological warfare production units are nothing of the sort.Damn Brits! I mean how could they? Didn't they know that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was soon going to become evil? I don't know how Margaret can live with herself!
To be honest, I'm not certain what an "artillery balloon" is and, for once, google isn't much help.
A story by Judith Miller and William J. Broad in yesterday's New York Times provided a different but similar take to the Guardian story:
American and British intelligence analysts with direct access to the evidence are disputing claims that the mysterious trailers found in Iraq were for making deadly germs. In interviews over the last week, they said the mobile units were more likely intended for other purposes and charged that the evaluation process had been damaged by a rush to judgment.I stress that the Times piece does include responses to the doubts raised by those deemed to be "skeptics."
Former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon John Dean argues in a June 6 FindLaw piece that Bush lying about Iraq's WMD, or at least U.S. knowledge of WMD, wound constitute an impeachable offense. As pleasant as that sounds, and as Dean notes dishonesty on this matter from Bush has not yet been proven, impeaching him for the act would constitute a dramatic shift in how presidential dishonesty is handled as plenty of presidents before Bush have lied about foreign policy and received no such censure.
In my mind the following questions are of primary importance:
-It is beyond dispute that Saddam has chemical and biological weapons programs. What happened to the weapons, equipment materials used to produce such weapons and information on how to produce such weapons?
-What sort of nuclear weapons programs, if any, did Saddam have? If he had one, what happened to any weapons, equipment and materials used to produce such weapons and research on such weapons that existed?
-What sort of intelligence on Saddam's WMD programs was available to Bush? His predecessors? The leaders of other countries, most notably Great Britain?
-Assuming they thought Iraq had WMD or programs on such weapons at the time, how important was it to the Bush Administration to find any WMD and materials from the programs used to produce WMD once Operation Iraqi Freedom began? Why did it appear they weren't particularly interested in the matter?
If Saddam had WMD at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, why weren't they used?
There are at least a few plausible answers to all of these questions, even though an factual answer to each of them might not be found. Still, any answers would do a lot to clear up what happened.
"Iraqis carrying hammers and axes yesterday began to demolish a police station in the troubled city of Falluja in a public act of defiance against the US military," writes Rory McCarthy in yesterday's Guardian"In what appeared to be a well-organised operation a crowd of labourers, mostly young men and boys, sawed off railings and tore out the metal window frames from the three-storey building. Others, using mallets and metal poles, knocked down the outer wall brick by brick, and were slowly trying to break apart the building itself."
UPDATE: " An artillery balloon," Court Schuett has informed me, "is used to measure wind direction and speed along with a few other things to help in aiming artillery rounds." 4:33 p.m. 06/09/03