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Posted: 11/3/2001 4:10:58 AM EDT
[url]www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/562861/posts[/url] ANTHRAX: DOMESTIC NO MORE News/Current Events Source: New York Post Published: 11/03/01 Author: CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL Posted on 11/3/01 2:25 AM Pacific by kattracks November 3, 2001 -- A short-lived American myth died in Islamabad yesterday, when the Urdu-language Daily Jang - the largest daily newspaper in Pakistan - announced that a letter hand-delivered to its offices had tested positive for anthrax. The Pakistani government reported anthrax exposure at three other sites. Up until now, there have been two schools of thought about the anthrax attacks on our own soil. First are those who hold that the anthrax was obtained or manufactured by al Qaeda or a sympathetic terrorist network. The New York Times coverage has leaned towards this view. Second are those who see the hand of "home-grown extremists." The Washington Post has given full airing to that view. A recent page-one story by the Post's Bob Woodward even quoted an unnamed official as saying, "Everything seems to lean toward a domestic source." Yeah. Everything except the evidence. The question of the anthrax's origin has grown more pressing the more the packet sent to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle has been analyzed. For that anthrax seems to have been refined and milled to make it easy to inhale, and then coated to make it more efficiently deadly, using a technique that only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Iraq are thought to have mastered. And we destroyed our anthrax stocks a quarter century ago. In a narrow sense, the foreign-versus-homegrown question has always been meaningless. Of course this wave of terror is, in a way, homegrown. The letters we know of were mailed from Trenton, N.J. The real question is whether it was done by an old-fashioned Tim McVeigh-style, angry white sociopath, or whether it was done by a Muslim with an anti-American political agenda. This is a question of overriding importance. If a McVeigh type is to blame, then we're embarking on one of the largest American criminal investigations ever. It will be scary and more Americans may die by the time it's over, but we've been there before. It's the territory of clock-tower snipers and disgruntled-employee shootings, writ large. If it's an al Qaeda or other Islamofascist effort, we're in different territory altogether. (cont.)
Link Posted: 11/3/2001 4:11:54 AM EDT
For one thing, until that movement's logistical support around the country is finally rolled up, we will have to anticipate worse attacks. If al Qaeda or some allied group retains enough spores, we could face widespread airborne releases of anthrax that would endanger millions. Or it could turn out that anthrax is just the first installment of varied bio-terror attacks to come. Most consequential of all, any link to Iraq's biological weapons program would entail, at the very least, a second Gulf War. And remember that it has been U.S. policy since the first Gulf War that a biological attack would, militarily speaking, put "all options on the table." Which scenario do you prefer? Coaxing some nut off a clock-tower with a bullhorn? Or eyeball-to-eyeball threats of nuclear escalation? Given the alternative, it is perfectly understandable why people would want to cling to the clock-tower scenario. But the evidence for some link to the Islamicist terror agenda grows stronger as the days pass. The Times's Judith Miller, author of a book on germ warfare, spoke to a scientist who said that the Daschle anthrax particles were surrounded by a "tiny brown ring," consistent with the use of bentonite, an agent used to weaponize anthrax in the Iraqi biological arms program. Government leaks have pooh-poohed the presence of bentonite, but ABCNews.com, whose reporting on the chemical composition of the weapon has been exemplary in its depth, is not buying it. It is not the quality of the evidence but the hugeness of the stakes that has driven American public opinion towards the "homegrown" reading of the anthrax crisis. The discovery of anthrax at the Daily Jang ought to expose this reading for the wishful thinking that it is. The Jang was targeted because it has supported Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf in his cooperation with the United States. This was an act of great journalistic courage, and now the reprisals have come - in the form of a letter passed by hand in downtown Islamabad. It is hard to imagine that the Aryan Nation or the Michigan militia has a lot of operatives in South Asia - or that they're passionate consumers of the Urdu-language press in the first place. No. The grievances against the Jang came from within the Islamic world. Our own hypothesis about "home-grown extremists," alas, is looking like nothing more than an effort to fantasize our way back to the peace of mind we enjoyed two months ago. ---------------------------------------------
Link Posted: 11/3/2001 7:29:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Delmarksman: Our own hypothesis about "home-grown extremists," alas, is looking like nothing more than an effort to fantasize our way back to the peace of mind we enjoyed two months ago.
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I agree.
Link Posted: 11/3/2001 7:45:10 AM EDT
The Pakistan letters were sent by right-wing militia groups as a red herring. Seriously, though, I think the administration is well aware of the Iraq connection to the Anthrax attacks. It is just not ready to deal with Iraq yet. The domestic source stories are disinformation. Leftist reporters that quote "FBI sources" as saying right wing militias are responsible are actually helping (albeit unwittingly) the administration in a delaying tactic.
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