Monday, August 18, 2008

Six unanswered questions about the anthrax case:

Tom Engelhardt of Tomdispatch:
Those deaths-by-anthrax ceased to be part of the administration's developing Global War on Terror narrative, which was, of course, aimed at Islamist fanatics (and scads of countries that were said to provide them with "safe haven"), but certainly not military scientists here at home. No less quickly did those attacks drop from the front pages -- in fact, simply from the pages -- of the nation's newspapers and off TV screens.


This essentially remained the state of the case until, as July ended, Ivins committed suicide. Then, what a field day! The details, the questions, the doubts, the disputed scientific evidence, the lists of kinds of drugs he was prescribed, the lurid quotes, the "rat's nest" of an anthrax-contaminated lab he worked in, the strange emails and letters! ("I wish I could control the thoughts in my mind… I get incredible paranoid, delusional thoughts at times, and there's nothing I can do until they go away, either by themselves or with drugs.") Case solved! Or not... The "mad scientist" from the Army's Fort Detrick bio-wars labs finally nabbed! Or not...

It was a dream of a story. And the mainstream media ran with it, knowledgeably, authoritatively, as if they had never let it go. Now, as the coverage fades and the story once again threatens to head for obscurity (despite doubts about Ivins's role in the attacks), I thought it might be worth mentioning a few questions that came to my mind as I read through recent coverage -- not on Ivins's guilt or innocence, but on matters that are so much a part of our American landscape that normally no one even thinks to ask about them.

Tom then lists the questions and discusses them:
1. Why wasn't the Bush administration's War on Terror modus operandi applied to the anthrax case?

2. Why wasn't the U.S. military sent in?

3. Once the anthrax threat was identified as coming from U.S. military labs, why did the administration, the FBI, and the media assume that only a single individual was responsible?

4. What of those military labs? Why does their history continue to play little or no part in the story of the anthrax attacks?

5. Were the anthrax attacks the less important ones of 2001?

6. Who is winning the Global War on Terror?
Go read if you want to realize:
In fact, it's been clear enough for quite a while that the Bush administration's Global War on Terror has mainly succeeded in creating ever more terrorists in ever more places. And yet, arguably, the anthrax killer or killers have, to date, gained far more than al-Qaeda. Looked at a certain way, whatever the role of Bruce Ivins, the anthrax killings proved to be a full-scale triumph of terrorism.
Exactly. A fearful population is a compliant one. And the war machine that was gearing up to attack Iraq needed to silence the dissenters quickly. How convenient the anthrax attacks were, and how quickly dropped when they no longer served the purpose.

So now it should be very obvious why we have never caught Osama.

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