Iraq’s WMDs went to . . . Midtown Manhattan?!?

Kansas City Star/AP story:
Phosgene from Iraq found in U.N. office[*1] (free registration required)

U.N. weapons inspectors discovered a potentially hazardous chemical warfare agent that was taken from an Iraqi chemical weapons facility 11 years ago and mistakenly stored in their offices in the heart of midtown Manhattan all that time, officials said Thursday.

The material, identified in inventory files as phosgene – a chemical substance used in World War I weapons – was discovered Aug. 24. It was only identified on Wednesday because it was marked simply with an inventory number, and officials had to check the many records in their vast archives, said Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the U.N. inspection agency.

A team of hazardous materials experts from the FBI and the New York City police went to the office on Manhattan’s east side, about a block north of U.N. headquarters, on Thursday with two steel containers to remove the materials and take them to a military facility outside New York for disposal, officials said.

While the disposal team was in UNMOVIC’s sixth-floor office, its small staff was evacuated along with other tenants from that floor, Buchanan said.

Media coverage of Iraq: The Indictment

Karl at Protein Wisdom has a long, detailed indictment of “mainstream” media coverage of Iraq:

Take, for example, the coverage of events in Anbar province.  In September[*2] –November[*3] 2006, the Washington Post ran a series of articles suggesting that the US military was unable to defeat the bloody insurgency in western Iraq “or counter al-Qaeda’s rising popularity there.”  These stories were echoed in the New York Times/International Herald Tribune[*4] , The Christian Science Monitor[*5] , NBC News[*6] , ABC News[*7] , CNN[*8] , the AP[*9] and others, down to local TV[*10] .

But this was not the only picture of events in Anbar.  In “Will the Real Anbar Narrative Please Stand Up?”, [*11] Bill Ardolino juxtaposed the WaPo stories against analysis by bloggers and embedded reporters like the Times of London’s Martin Fletcher[*12] and Michael Fumento[*13] for the Weekly Standard.  Bill Roggio’s military and intelligence sources were angry [*14] over the media’s characterization of the secret reports cited by the WaPo.  Roggio examined how the claims made in the WaPo coverage were taken out of the larger context of events in Anbar.  Roggio[*15] and the Mudville Gazette’s “Greyhawk”[*16] charted the formation and rise of the Anbar Salvation Council — the alliance of 25 of the province’s 31 tribes in the fight against al Qaeda.  Roggio and Greyhawk followed up when the Anbar tribes got US air and artillery support[*17] — a development ignored by the establishment media.

We now know which narrative was more accurate.  Al Qaeda was not increasingly popular in Anbar.  To the contrary, the local tribes were overwhelmingly opposing and increasingly waging war against al Qaeda, with support from the US military.  Bloggers — carefully following and synthesizing information from their own sources, military information, embedded reporters, Arabic media and isolated stories in the establishment media over the course of a year — proved to be better remote journalists than those at the WaPo, NYT, CSM, AP, CNN, NBC and ABC (and any others I have overlooked).

Much, much more.  People who are interested in getting correct and complete information on Iraq will go to Protein Wisdom[*1] and read the entire thing.

In brief

Michael Vick is getting what’s coming to him.  He’s reportedly pissed away potential earnings of $100 million because he’s too stupid to know that dog fighting is illegal.

Senator Larry Craig needs to resign immediately.  (Parenthetically, so does Representative William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana).

Democrats seem to still have problems counting votes in Florida[*1] .

They’re all poopybutts.

Well, he did seem to be kind of a doofus

Alberto Gonzales has thrown the towel in as Attorney General.  He will probably not be long remembered, but then, few Attorneys General are.

And, I’m sure he was a poopybutt, as were the chorus of hecklers who hounded him out of office.  Poopybutts, all.

New Glass

Badger 6[*1] , via Blackfive[*2] :

We descend off the bridge and that’s when you notice the change. When we arrived here the main broad boulevard that traverse the east-west route through the city, with the broad sidewalks had been narrowed down to two and sometimes one lane by concrete barriers, concertina, and debris.

Today the boulevard is wide open and people are walking the streets. Women in abayah’s, men in dishdasha, soccer attire, and a few in suits talking on their cell phones. Some people ignore our small convoy, some look suspiciously, and some wave.

There at the first corner, I see it. New glass. Someone has put new glass in a shop. Someone only installs new glass when they think it won’t get broken. New glass is confidence.

As we roll though Ramadi I see more stores and small shops open. And more new glass.

We pass what was once a hotel. I am sure the building is so badly damaged that it will need to be razed. I wonder if a hotel will replace it.

Halfway into the city we reach Saddam’s Mosque. The area is still a shambles here, but the road has opened up. There are also front end loaders and other heavy equipment moving the concrete and the rebar. Progress has been made, but it will take awhile to truck this away and start rebuilding.

Of course, we are losing in Iraq.  This is what losing looks like, I guess.

UPDATE:  This just in from the amusingly mis-self-named “Reality-Based Community:”  — all good news from Iraq is a lie.  Because they say so.  Via Confederate Yankee[*3] .  Darn that nefarious Karl Rove right to Heck!

The Poopybutt Effect

Eric at Classical Values has an extended rant[*1] on the misuse of the term “fascist” which segues, for some reason, into a discussion of bad sneakers.

I had a pretty good education (at least I like to think I had), and in addition to that, I’ve read a lot of books about history, including many about the Third Reich. I’ve studied the origins and rise of both Hitler and Mussolini, and I’ve read about innumerable fascist and quasi-fascist regimes. The usual stuff like Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, Stroessner in Paraguay, Peron in Argentina (although he was a left/right hybrid), along with some convincing analyses that modern China is actually a fascist, not Communist, state.

But it was under “Bush fascism” that I noticed a steady deterioration in my skills. Not only was I not “getting it” (and failing to recognize the fascism before my very eyes), but a lot of people weren’t. I don’t know whether to blame Bush entirely for this, but it was during the Bush regime that the definition of fascism seemed to change dramatically, and become infinitely more complicated.

I used to think I knew what fascism was, but the longer Bush was in office, the more the word seemed to take on new meanings. It was as if the word “fascism” had developed an elasticized penumbra, and acquired octopus-like tentacles which reached out and engulfed things which in the old days had not been considered fascism, but which now were. Fascist hegemony was being achieved not by goose-stepping soldiers, but by definitional expansionism — largely accomplished by computer keyboards.

This put me in mind of the ritual name-calling which passes for political discussion nowadays.  I had a thought for an ongoing feature–I’d go find various inflammatory blog articles and replace the relevant political flame-word (“liberal,” “conservative,” “fascist,” “leftist,” “right-wing,” “reality-based community”) with the term “poopy-butt.”

This would in my opinion raise both the level of political discourse, and provide hours of amusement.  We’ll see how it goes.

You blinked, didn’t you . . .

Cleveland 68 56 .548 614 566 4-6 L2
Detroit 68 57 .544 1/2 694 638 5-5 W1
Minnesota 62 63 .496 7 554 551 4-6 L2
Chicago 56 69 .448 13 536 646 2-8 W2
Kansas City 55 70 .440 14 568 603 4-6 L3