Sunday, October 06, 2002
War of the Words
[U.S. supplied the kinds of germs Iraq later used for biological weapons, documents show]
This is a very misleading story. For example:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent samples directly to several Iraqi sites that U.N. weapons inspectors determined were part of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program, CDC and congressional records from the early 1990s show. Iraq had ordered the samples, claiming it needed them for legitimate medical research.
That seems to be intentionally worded to be misleading. At the time the samples were sent, no one outside of Iraq knew about their bioweapons programs, and the UN inspectors mentioned had not "determined were part of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program" until almost a decade later.
The exports were legal at the time and approved under a program administered by the Commerce Department
Not only were they legal, but again, no one had any concrete indication that Iraq was pursuing a bioweapons program until after Desert Storm in 1991, and not even hints had leaked out of Iraq until 1989. And until very recently, ANYONE could have gotten a sample of anthrax, etc. from the American Type Culture Company. There were instances where domestic terrorist groups such as anti-abortion activists had been found in possesion of ATCC cultures.
The CDC also sent samples of a strain of West Nile virus to an Iraqi microbiologist at a university in the southern city of Basra in 1985, the records show.
A feeble attempt to connect Iraq to the West Nile outbreaks? While the West Nile outbreaks were initially suspicious, the mention of West Nile in this story is just an attempt to scare the reader. Far more serious is Iraq's work with camel pox, which most Iraqis and Jordanians are immune to, but Israelis and Americans are not (camel pox is related, distantly, to smallpox).
Just another example of why having two parties can suck. This is basically mud slinging by one party against another, and it's not accomplishing anything.
[ 10/06/2002 03:57:00 PM ] [