Saturday, August 02, 2008


Why did John McCain say American anthrax "may have come from Iraq"?

Did McCain stoke the fears that led to the Iraq war?

The New Republic
August 02, 2008

...[Glenn] Greenwald explains how and why the anthrax sent to Americans--five of whom died--is now presumed to have come from a maximum security government laboratory.

And, what's more, how the goverment-grade anthrax was asserted, repeatedly and without laboratory proof, to be a bentonite-laced strain that was a trademark of Saddam Hussein's biological weaponry.

The false connection circulated for weeks afterward, based on the claims of "four well-placed and separate sources" for ABC news--claims, again, since proven to be totally false. Key points:

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein...Pressure on ABC to out their sources should be swift and sustained...

[John McCain on October 11, 2001:]

LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?

MCCAIN: I think we're doing fine . . . I think we'll do fine. The second phase -- if I could just make one, very quickly -- the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may -- and I emphasize may -- have come from Iraq.

LETTERMAN: Oh is that right?

MCCAIN: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

Video here.

...It ties McCain back to the march for war (even before the bentonite claim began to float), establishes his lack of intellectual rigor in asking the right questions before making the "tough decisions," and, as would only seem fair these days, confirms his own status as a vain and irresponsible celebrity.

... Todd Gitlin explains thusly:

"The 2001 anthrax attacks were hugely important in stoking up a War-of-the-Worlds panic. The envelopes of white powder inflamed the sense that They're Everywhere--Lake Worth, FL; Washington; a mailbox in Princeton. Without doubt, the anthrax panic muddled brains, promoted an atmosphere of Bush-knows-best, and was easily convertible to war fever--in Iraq or, goddammit, somewhere.

"That such justified fearfulness could be "easily converted" into war is one fact; that men like McCain, who based the "tough decisions" on prejudices that continue to shame and unravel over time is another..."

--Dayo Olopade

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