Monday, October 25, 2004

Missing Explosives and Missing WMD

I recently saw a documentary called "Outfoxed" about FoxNews. (Segue coming: My FindLaw column today--re the possible shareholder derivative action against Sinclair-- takes a couple of gratuitous potshots at FoxNews. The link feature is failing me. Go to http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20041025.html) One of the points of Outfoxed is how the right will decide on a storyline and then repeat it over and over. It was interesting to see today how an official storyline evolves. After the revelation that hundreds of tons of very potent explosives were missing in Iraq, the first official line coming out of the White House was that this was no big deal because, while these explosives were sometimes used in triggering nukes, they weren't themselves nukes. I guess this didn't play well over the course of the day, as the fact that a pound of this stuff can bring down an airplane got repeated, so the party line evolved into: "Aha! See, we found the weapons of mass destruction." Never mind the idiocy of this argument: The IAEA knew about this stuff and was watching it before the war. Either Saddam's men absconded with it before "major combat" ended (but after international monitors had fled) or general looters made off with it in the "post-war" chaos. Either way, the possibility that this concededly dangerous stuff (which nonetheless is not w/in the bio/chem/nuke definition of wmd) would find its way into the hands of a terrorist was quite small before the war, but has now been greatly magnified. Nonetheless, watch for the "we found the wmd" storyline over the next few days.

And now back to my life as an objective, apolitical law professor.

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