that's on the home front. In Israel, the IDF is using reporters
for target practice. Twenty
were shot up or shot at, reports the Los Angeles Times.
We keep hearing about how Israel is the "only democracy"
in the Middle East, but they'll do this to foreign reporters,
then what would they be willing to do to Israeli media people
indeed, what have they done to them, if anything?
I haven't heard this angle on the story. Has anyone?
NERDY WHIZ KID WHO WOULDA THOUGHT?
a new development
on the anthrax front: according to Newsweek, the
anthrax terrorist invented a whole new strain of the dreaded
pathogen, one far more sophisticated and deadly than any seen
before. Pretty interesting stuff, but the way they report
it is, well, retarded. Give the opening paragraph a look:
fall FBI profilers announced that the person who sent deadly
anthrax-laced letters to news organizations and Capitol Hill
was probably a grudge-bearing, sociopathic male laboratory
nerd with knowledge of the geography of Trenton, N.J. But
a new scientific analysis sent to top government officials
suggests the anthrax attacker may be a scientific whiz so
smart that he succeeded in making a "weaponized"
form of the bacterium more sophisticated than any previously
I'm puzzled. You mean you can't be "a grudge-bearing,
sociopathic male laboratory nerd" and "a
scientific whiz so smart" that you've invented a whole
new form of mass death? So what is the "but" doing
at the beginning of the second sentence?
spite of Newsweek's goofy suggestion of a Russian cabal,
which they rate as more probable than an Iraqi plot, the FBI
is now administering
polygraph tests to all scientists at the Ft. Detrick facility.
They're getting closer. Earth to FBI: Hey, guys, he's over
and also here.
Sullivan is soooo dizzy, really, and so stubborn when
he's wrong. Take, for example, that
poem he was convinced blamed the West for the WTC attack.
When he got lots of letters saying wrong, you misinterpreted
the poet's intent, he hemmed and hawed but stuck to his guns.
The would-be Grand Inquisitor of American literature only
relented when he finally got a letter from the author, Frank
Bidart, explaining that, no, it was actually meant as
a curse to be cast upon the souls of the terrorists.
To the objective reader, this was clear from the poem's opening
lines. Of course, only someone looking for what wasn't there
could've missed it:
breath for a dead moment cease as jerking your
upward you hear as if in slow motion floor
evenly upon floor as one hundred and ten
descend upon you.
what you have made descend upon you.
the listening ears of your victims their eyes their
you, and eat like acid
bubble of rectitude that allowed you breath."
like a curse to me, and one directed at the hijackers,
not the US. That's glaringly obvious by the fifth line: Bidart
is clearly addressing Mohammed Atta and his fellow death-dealers
when he says "may what you have made descend upon you."
He also refers to "your victims." Were there any
other victims in the rubble of the World Trade Center
that day and whose victims were they if not the hijackers'?
the same thing with the anthrax story. Some people see only
what they want to see: ideological blinders filter out anything
too challenging. Sullivan, you'll remember, demanded that
we nuke Iraq because he was convinced without any evidence,
naturally that Iraq was responsible:
this point, it seems to me that a refusal to extend the war
to Iraq is not even an option. We have to extend it to Iraq.
It is by far the most likely source of this weapon; it is
clearly willing to use such weapons in the future; and no
war against terrorism of this kind can be won without dealing
decisively with the Iraqi threat. We no longer have any choice
in the matter." ~ Andrew Sullivan, 10/17/01
it turned out that the anthrax could only have been made in
24 labs, all of them in the US, he just shut up about it.
call from Antiwar.com to have him retract his, uh, policy
proposal, went unanswered. Now, here he is admitting that
now and again, I get an email telling me to recant my early
suspicion that the anthrax attacks of last fall were probably
terrorist-insprired. Every time the FBI suggests that a domestic
source was responsible, emails come in telling me to drop
my fear that Saddam or other foreign governments were involved.
The truth, of course, is that we still don't know. But the
evidence unearthed by Michael Hosenball et al at Newsweek
this week suggests that, whoever did it, he or she was a real
pro. My suspicion is that it was a warning from Iraq that
any attempt to disarm Saddam would lead to an immediate chemical
or biological response in the U.S. I'm sorry, but that's still
my suspicion. I'd be happy and relieved to be disproved, but
so far, the signs are nothing but ominous."
the word choice: "That's my suspicion." Iraq
is under "suspicion," just like the Bidart poem.
It's a moral question, for Sullivan, not a factual one. It
doesn't matter what the FBI says. It doesn't matter that they
have a former scientist at Ft. Detrick on video stealing
into the laboratory at night, and that dozens of sample
pathogens have gone missing, including ebola and one slide
marked "X." It doesn't matter that there was an
attempt to frame an Egyptian scientist at Ft. Detrick for
bio-terrorism, and a campaign of harassment directed at
him by a clique of his colleagues. For Sullivan, "the
signs" matter and they just happen to confirm
CONSPIRACY THEORIES, AND THEIRS
isn't it funny how, whenever I bring up the Israeli
"art student" spy story that Fox
Intelligence Digest, and a host of other mainstream
news organizations have
reported, I'm told that I'm peddling a "conspiracy
theory" but it's okay to posit an Iraqi conspiracy
to poison half of North America on the basis of absolutely
McVEIGH IRAQI AGENT?
yes, the War Party has plenty of conspiracy theories, each
one loonier than the other. Okay, now, put on your tin-foil
hats, and getta loada this
one from columnist Jack Kelley:
Davis, an investigative reporter in Oklahoma City, has uncovered
evidence of Iraqi involvement in the bombing of the Oklahoma
City federal building. When Timothy McVeigh, who was executed
for his role in the bombing, was captured, he had on his person
several Iraqi telephone numbers.
obtained affidavits from several witnesses claiming to have
seen McVeigh in the company of a 'Middle Eastern-looking person'
who resembled the sketch of John Doe Number Two.
connection could explain the frequent trips to the Philippines
of McVeigh confederate Terry Nichols
how come nobody brought this up while McVeigh was still alive
and kicking? Back then, you'll remember, the government "lost"
a lot of the evidence, which it then couldn't hand over to
the defense. The defense attorney cried foul, but it was too
was also some question about how a few guys with a truck and
a bunch of fertilizer could've pulled this off on their own,
without anyone getting a hint of it especially as part of
a far-right movement so riddled with police agents and informers.
But the rush to execute McVeigh went into high gear and he's
not around to deny an Iraqi connection. How convenient.
the key witness dead, and the US government apparently sitting
on the evidence for reasons of its own, this is the sort of
conspiracy theory that can never be disproved and that's
enough for conspiracy theorist Kelley. Remember, we don't
need evidence: following the Andrew Sullivan Conspiracy
Cookbook for cooking up wars, the main ingredient is suspicion,
and whatever spices are in the cupboard.
answer to your letters asking how our
fundraising effort is doing: we've raised $12,200, so
far, in about three weeks 60 percent of our $20,000
goal. Pretty good, for a little operation like this: but given
the situation we are in what with the
complete prostration of the Cato group before the War
God, and the lavish budget of the War Party's propaganda machine
pretty good isn't good enough. Look, I know things
are tough, the economy is tightening up but, just imagine
not waking up to a freshly updated Antiwar.com page. Believe
me, you don't want to go there
. So, c'mon, don't assume
others will fill the gap, 'cause maybe they won't, or can't.
As the big banner headline says on the front page: Will Antiwar.com
survive the war hysteria? It's up to you
I looove our hit report, which tells us how many visits,
unique visitors, hits, and most importantly where they're
coming from, what they're reading, and how long they're spending
on each (original) article. But what really fascinates me
is the demographics. In terms of visits, take a look at the
geographical reach of a typical Monday. Out of 27,541 visits,
there were 16,609 unique visitors spread across the globe
Middle Eastern numbers match our Northern European audience,
but it sure didn't start out that way. Visitors from
the supposedly technologically backward nations of the region
are logging on at an increasing rate, with the country-by-country
breakdown pinpointing areas of growth: Israel doesn't
show up in the top 20 (although it has), but Saudi Arabia
and Qatar are 17th and 18th respectively. We're big in
Malaysia, too: they're number 8 with 195 visitors.
the Anglosphere the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia
takes the top four spots, a spiraling proportion of
our audience comes from the farthest frontiers of the Empire.
We worked hard to win a Japanese audience, and I'm proud
of the fact that Japan regularly clocks in at number 6 (241
visits). Go, Nippon, go!
something in our new software package that I've never seen
before: at least it wasn't a category included in previous
versions. Number 9 on the hit parade is something called "EU"
and since they can't possibly mean "eeeeyew!"
(can they?), then it must be European Union, although all
of the European Union members are also listed separately.
Behold the cyber-birth of the Monster. Eerie, to say the least.
INTO THE FUTURE
is powerful engine that is generating waves all over the Internet
and all over the globe, and I'm proud of our achievement.
We would like to expand, to start a summer school for activists,
to sponsor a campus tour, and perhaps a series of debates
and other events to bring the Antiwar.com community and friends
together in some place other than cyberspace.
But, remember, we can't do it without you: we need not only your
financial but also your moral support. The great emails I
get, including the friendly criticism, are a form of payment,
the kind that can't be measured in terms of dollars and
cents. As the world hurtles headlong into catastrophe, it's
nice to know that such thoughtful, decent people exist
and it was nice knowin' ya
seriously, I don't really believe that. The part about
hurtling toward catastrophe and all. Oh, we're hurtling,
alright, but there's a chance a good chance
that we can avoid or ameliorate the catastrophic consequences
of a new world war if we act, now, to prevent it.
knowledge must precede action, especially in this case. That's
where Antiwar.com comes in. We can win the battle for public
opinion, not only in the US but internationally and
Antiwar.com is the key. Take a look at those numbers: they
are growing by the day. Now, we must do everything in our
power to make them grow bigger, faster before it's
In my last column, I gave the
impression that Sheldon Richman was made unwelcome at the
Cato Institute because of his views on war or the Middle East.
Sheldon writes to tell me that is not true. I stand corrected.
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