Friday, August 01, 2008

The Anthrax Letters, 9/11, and the Invasion of Iraq

Read today's Greenwald.

A week after 9/11, letters containing the lethal substance Anthrax, are mailed to the offices of Senator's Daschle and Leahy, as well as to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw. The mailings result in the deaths of five people, while scores of others become ill. The letters contain statements purported to be from Muslim "extremists" who want to bring death to America.

ABC news, in the person of Brian Ross, reports--on the basis of four supposedly high up and separate sources at the lab--that tests on the anthrax at a U.S. military lab at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, reveal the presence of bentonite in the anthrax. Bentonite is said to be uniquely associated with Saddam Hussein's anthrax production program in Iraq.

On the basis of the letters and the reports by ABC news, leading columnists, such as Richard Cohen, come out in support of an invasion of Iraq. The neo-conservative journal, The Weekly Standard, also trumpets the ABC news reports of bentonite-laced anthrax letters as a basis for launching an invasion of Iraq. In 2002, the president identifies an "Axis of Evil", consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, with Iraq being included, in part, on the basis of their known production and dissemination of the lethal substance anthrax.

In March 2003, the U.S. invades Iraq, and in the course of the war and occupation, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's are tortured, killed or maimed. The price of oil has skyrocketed, and more than five years after the invasion, more than 150,000 U.S. troops continue to occupy Iraq.

In 2008, a leading suspect in the anthrax letter attacks, a top researcher and 35-year veteran at Ft. Detrick from whence came the ABC news reports of a bentonite-Iraq connection, commits suicide.

Nearly seven years since the anthrax attacks and the highly inflammatory and false ABC news reports, the network and its reporter, Brian Ross, still haven't come clean as to their supposed "sources" at Ft. Detrick.

To sum, anthrax laced letters purported to be from Muslim extremists in Iraq or close to Saddam Hussein, are mailed to U.S. Senators and media anchormen, traumatizing the country immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Highly placed sources in a U.S. military lab reveal to ABC news that tests indicate the presence of a substance uniquely associated with Iraqi anthrax programs. Scores among the political elite draq a connection between the anthrax and Iraq, helping to make the 2003 Iraq invasion publicly and politically palatable. Seven years later, as the investigation purports to center on a U.S. researcher as the source of the attacks, the leading suspect commits suicide. ABC news continues to with-hold the identification of its supposed sources.

How weird and outrageous is all of this?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is this all they have?

I guess Obama's celebrity status, (a byproduct of the GOP candidate's snarl and lack of charisma I'd say) as opposed to his policy proposals, is to be the dividing factor in this election. This is pretty weak tea, whose only probable impact is to lose the Britney vote. Maybe it will sit well with Middle America. Who knows? But it sounds pretty vapid to me. I thought McCain would be better than this.

Trashin the Place

I can't imagine the McCain campaign or the folks at GOP headquarters were thrilled to wake up this morning and see the Washington Post with an above-the-fold story calling McCain a liar, or the Ruth Marcus op-ed charging the Administration with having "trashed the place"--and Marcus wasn't even referring to the yeoman work of her Post colleague detailing the Administration's hack hiring and staffing of the Iraqi occupation or the Katrina catastrophe and the hack hiring at FEMA--for the hack hiring practices of the Justice Department's Monica Goodling, spawning a new political shorthand for ideology and incompetence in government run-amok--"Goodlings", as in "Goodlings Gone Wild".

(And a pretty good smack-down to boot by Marcus of her other Post colleague, David Broder, for complaining of the Clintons' "trashing the place" a decade ago. Ahhh, the nineties. Them were the days).

Neither can I imagine that seeing headlines and pictures about the Senate's longest reigning Republican, the Hulk Tubester, Ted Stevens, being indicted on corruption charges, doing much to cheer the ranks of more would be hack hirers and government bathtub drowning specialists at RNC headquarters or in the new Minority offices in Congress.

Just another stellar day in the GOP neighborhood.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama Should Townhall McCain

I know this is probably against the grain, with McCain liking specially-tailored townhall meeting-style debates and all. But I believe Obama should agree to some townhall style debates and not be overly cautious in restricting the crowd that attends.

If the "Obama is a prima donna candidate more comfortable parading before foreign audiences who can't or won't come down to earth to hobnob with the Regular Americans" meme isn't a constant GOP trope yet, I can guarantee it will be as the campaign goes on.

On top of it, Obama needs to be seen getting his hands dirty, as it were, taking risks, campaigning in relatively unfamiliar terrains and before potentially hostile audiences. I fear he's being too careful, in danger of immitating the overly-assured 1948 Dewey campaign whose candidate once wouldn't come out from inside the train to greet voters while Truman spoke out from "whistlestops" all around the country, helping to pull off the come from behind win.