I'd much rather post about yesterday's Summer Solstice ritual (Happy Solstice!), or senryu's and my twentieth anniversary last Tuesday (W00T!)...or even pitch a pre-emptive bitch about what the current Disney folks are doing to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland (i.e., changing it to reflect the films, in ways I find unfortunate); and of all the things I'm tired of posting about (and you're tired of reading about), Iraq has to top the list.
Still, the current congressional debate -- a mere four years too late, wtg, folks -- is so heartbreaking (on all sides), and, IMO, perpetuates so many obvious errors (on all sides), that I feel moved to make a few additional comments. Those comments will be in Part II, however; first, let's get the goofy stuff* out of the way.
I hoped to start with examples of sheer horsehockey from Republicans and Democrats alike, but Sen. Rick Santorum ((R) Pa.) has so clearly won the Pathetic Derby that I literally can't find a Democratic allegation which begins to compete. In a move so embarrassing that even FOX "News" is rebutting it, Santorum "announced" yesterday that Saddam's elusive weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) have been located. What he means, it developed, is that in the course of three and a half years of looking we have managed to find -- scattered all over the entire country of Iraq -- something in the neighborhood of 500 unspent artillery rounds, some of which have degraded poison gas in them.
Okay. Where to begin.
These are not, in fact, the promised hidden stockpiles; they're stray rounds, all from before the first Gulf War fifteen years ago. As the administration's own Iraq Survey Group (ISG) noted in its final report, some time ago:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad's desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.
President Bush's own conclusion at the time of the ISG report:
The chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has now issued a comprehensive report that confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there.
And, from FOX (!), the administration's current comment on Santorum's "announcement":
Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable [sic] conditions.
"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."**
Good for them for saying so. Shame on Santorum for this inept propaganda ploy.
Like I said, I'd hoped to have goofy stuff from both sides; please feel free to make your own nominations for Democratic goofy stuff in comments.
Next: the serious issues, and why both sides are so strapped for an answer.
93 93/93 -- AJ
* By "goofy," I mean stuff so ludicrous that either the speaker himself cannot possibly believe it, or which, if he does believe it, calls his basic competence into question. This is different from policy flaws, which, as we'll be seeing in our next post, are (IMO) nearly universal at present on all sides.
** Further details, including the FOX link, are conveniently located at: