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Friday, June 23, 2006
ConWeb Downplays A Certain Inconvenient Fact on Alleged WMD Find
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb is playing up Sen. Rick Santorum's assertion that weapons of mass destruction in the form of munitions containing sarin or mustard gas were found in Iraq -- and glossing over the fact that the munitons were degraded and apparently not a threat as a WMD.

At NewsBusters, Brent Baker claimed when Keith Olbermann pointed out that particular fact, he did so "condescendingly" (Baker repeated the claim in a June 23 CyberAlert). Dave Pierre didn't mention the degraded state of the munitions at all. Both Baker and Tim Graham take the technicality approach that the find proves liberals wrong, however worthless those weapons are; in Baker's words: "Though these are not the weapons the Bush administration used to justify going to war, since they date from before the 1991 Gulf War, they do undermine the claims of those on the left -- too often repeated by members of the media -- that 'no' WMD existed in Iraq."

At WorldNetDaily, a June 21 news article played up the claim while burying the functional uselessness of those weapons. The article quoted "former U.N. weapons inspector" Tim Trevan, appearing on Fox News, claiming that "the weapons could still have posed a danger, even in a deteriorated state" -- not as a weapon but, rather, from just sitting here: "It goes from a liquid to a gooey mass."

WND columnists Kevin McCullough and Melanie Morgan trumpeted the find without mentioning the uselessness of those weapons., meanwhile, also takes the technicality road -- with a self-promotion twist -- as its corporate bretheren at NewsBusters by claiming that the find "confirm[s] reporting in 2004 by Cybercast News Service that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, including mustard gas, when his country was invaded by coalition forces." It too downplays the degraded state of the munitions, insisting that the declassified report that contains the finding "appears to contradict" the claim that weapons were degraded, stating that "While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal." That appears to refer to what Trevan said on Fox News -- that the danger is not from being used as a weapon but from just sitting there. In other words, you have walk up and touch that gooey mass leaking out of the munition for it to be a danger to you.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:43 AM EDT

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