That Whole Rigamarole

Friday, January 24, 2003

Stopping Short

I saw the link to this Washington Post op-ed on one of the big-time blogs, can't remember which, and it also came to my attention via Yahoo! It states the obvious:
Even a perfunctory acquaintance with the realities of the global oil market would indicate that the "oil war" theory does not stand up to analysis. As an imagined rationale it doesn't square with the facts;....

This is exactly what Britt Hume was trying to explain to Juan Williams last time on Fox News Sunday. Juan, doing his best to represent the Left, was too dim to follow the argument. Juan's "Oil War" logic ran along the lines of:
We are preparing to attack Iraq.

We are not preparing to attack North Korea.

Iraq has oil.

North Korea has no oil.

Therefore, we are preparing to attack Iraq because it has oil.

I am not well-versed in all the logical fallacies, but I believe that "correlation does not prove causation" applies in this case. The linked article goes on to explain in simple terms why, if our main interest was oil, we would not be doing anything like what we are now preparing for in Iraq.

But the author, Thomas Lippman, expresses perplexity about the justification for the war. I would paraphrase him and say:
Even a perfunctory acquaintance with the realities of Iraqi weapons development activity since 1991 would indicate that the time for military intervention has arrived.

My personal bogeyman in this whole mess is the nerve agent VX. The Army instilled in me the belief that were I to get so much as a drop of this stuff on my skin, I would soon be doing what we called the "kickin' chicken." Oh sure, there was a chance that the atropine injectors would work, but I was never really confident of surviving an encounter with this stuff. The point is, VX is very scary and lethal. And Iraq was known to have tons of the stuff. Here's a little story I found via Google. It does not display the year, but my (obviously) limited HTML skills revealed that it is from 1997. Hence the vignette of a scowling Bill Clinton next to Saddam. (Bill is quite imposing there, don't you agree?) Here's the most important bit from the article:
The VX gas Iraq is producing is 10 times more toxic than the sarin gas that killed 12 and injured 5,000 people on a Tokyo subway in 1995. And though U.N inspection teams destroyed 28,000 chemical weapons, 480,000 liters of chemicals used to make them, and 1.8 million liters of other chemicals, the Iraqis now admit they have 3.9 tons of VX gas. (Emphasis mine.)

This stuff is not accounted for. The various UNSC resolutions require them to account for it. They haven't accounted for it. They don't intend to account for it. The inspectors could look for years and never find it. This is but one of many examples. The case for war is obvious for anyone who cares to look, including our erstwhile allies in "Old Europe."


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