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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

But Cheney's Lips Barely Move!

I spent a lot of time Tuesday reading recent speeches by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Interesting stuff.

For example, he's going around saying that David Kay's team has found significant evidence of WMD in Iraq. Sometimes, as he did before the Heritage Foundation in October 2003 (a friendly crowd), Cheney quotes directly from Kay's report:
"Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars and were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Dr. Kay further stated, "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld, as well as through physical evidence of equipment and activities that the Iraq survey group has discovered [that] should have been declared to the United Nations."
Sometimes, he doesn't:
Among the items Dr. Kay and his team have already identified are the following: a clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi intelligence service that contained equipment suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research; a prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of biological weapons agents, that Iraqi officials were explicitly ordered not to declare to the United Nations; reference strains of biological organisms, concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons; new research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin, which has not been declared to the United Nations; documents and equipment hidden in scientists' homes that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation; a line of unmanned aerial vehicles, not fully declared, and an admission that they had been tested out to a range of 500 kilometers -- 350 kilometers beyond the legal limit imposed by the U.N. after the Gulf War; plans and advanced design work for new long-range ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges capable of striking targets throughout the Middle East, which were prohibited by the U.N. and which Saddam sought to conceal from the U.N. weapons inspectors; clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer range ballistic missiles, 300-kilometer range anti-ship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment.

Ladies and gentlemen, each and every one of these finding confirms a material breach by the former Iraqi regime of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441. Taken together, they constitute a massive breach of that unanimously-passed resolution and provide a compelling case for the use of force against Saddam Hussein.
I've included this because I think it explains something the President said in the State of the Union address last night:
Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.
As Jon Stewart said on Wednesday's "Daily Show," after quoting back the President's words, "what the [bleeped] is that?"

Kay, by the way, reported that Iraq's nuclear scientists did no significant weapons-related work since 1991. So much for the mushroom cloud imagery that both Bush and Condi Rice invoked on many occasions.

Kay also reported bluntly, as everyone knows, "We have not yet found stocks of weapons."

Kay reported that Iraq had scientists and that those scientists had labs that could be used to research and develop WMD. However, it doesn't take much of a lab to build fairly primitive WMD (chemical weapons, after all, date to WW I and primitive bio weapons were used in the Revolutionary War). The "biological agent" Kay reported finding was botulinum. If you are worried about that bug, which you should be if you leave open cans of Campbell's soup in the sunlight for a few days before consuming them straight out of the can, then I suggest checking out the FDA website.

If you are worred abou the ricin agents Kay found, then you might want to check out this website at Cornell University, which describes out ricin comes fairly simply from castor beans.

By the standards Bush/Cheney are now using, the US could preemptively bomb just about any nation-state with sophisticated chemistry or biology labs.

And of course, they could attack just about any major research university.

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