Friday, February 07, 2003

Good cop

I’ve finished reading Powell’s speech, and the impression of intellectual dishonesty grows. Here’s my favorite: “in the history of chemical warfare, no country has had more battlefield experience with chemical weapons since World War I than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.” What he means by battlefield experience is that Iraq was subject to chemical warfare by Britain in 1920 (1921?). Also, I didn’t know Hussein had been in power for 85 years.

He also used the “dual-use” argument, that the chemical weapons “infrastructure” was embedded within civilian industry, so deeply that no one, including experts (UN inspectors, say) could tell. He offered no proof of this, of course.

Does anyone remember Reagan showing grainy satellite footage of that runway being constructed in Grenada, implying that it was a huge secret, when anyone could, and did, just walk in and take all the photos they wanted, as some smartass reporters could, and did? Well, Powell says that, while Iraq will argue that various equipment is being used for legitimate purposes, “But if that is true, why did we have to learn about them by intercepting communications and risking the lives of human agents?” Because you and your little friends like playing spies?

Incidentally, if Powell is good cop to Rumsfeld’s bad cop, has anyone considered that the police tactic of good-cop-bad-cop is actually a piece of play-acting? Is it possible that all that posing as a “dove” was just a prelude for this week’s little morality play, wherein honest and not-at-all-warlike General Powell finds himself persuaded all against his will of the necessity for war?

Bad cop Rummy Rumsfeld (played by Dennis Franz) says that Germany won’t help us--just like Libya and Cuba.

The picture of an Iraqi plane spraying chemical agents wasn’t actual footage, by the way, although news channels didn’t necessarily label it as a Pentagon art project.

And what do you suppose was actually in that vial of anthrax?

It turns out that the British “dossier” on how bad Saddam is, which Powell praised in his speech, was plagiarized to a large extent, right down to the typographical errors, from published articles, some of them years old. So much for MI6, whose sources turn out to be a subscription to Jane’s Intelligence Review.

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