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'Huge' Chemical Weapons Plant Found in Iraq
March 23, 2003 5:33 PM   Subscribe

'Huge' Chemical Weapons Plant Found in Iraq - and Hans Blix is somewhere redfaced...
posted by Macboy (99 comments total)

 
"An unconfirmed report by Fox news..."

At ease, soldier.
posted by influx at 5:37 PM on March 23, 2003


5 days of U.S. Invasion uncovers more than 12 years of UN Weapons Inspection opportunity... Nice
posted by Macboy at 5:37 PM on March 23, 2003


Initial reports of the US base grenade attack described it as a "terrorist attack".

Wait until "unconfirmed", "claim" and "suggest" don't feature so prominently in reports. This is war - 50% of it is fought in the media.
posted by influx at 5:40 PM on March 23, 2003


influx: At ease, soldier.

The unconfirmed fox news report is about the size of the complex, not its existence. The existence of the factory is vouched for by the Pentagon. I guess the story's veracity depends on how much you trust the Pentagon. Here is the relevant quote:

"A huge chemical weapons factory has been found in Iraq, according to Pentagon sources."
posted by jsonic at 5:45 PM on March 23, 2003


Blix didn't say that Iraq didn't have chemical weapons facilities. He said that inspections should continue such that it could be discovered in a non-violent fashion whether Iraq had chemical weapons facilities, since none had been discovered during the portion of the inspections that the U.S. permitted to occur.
posted by waldo at 5:46 PM on March 23, 2003


No immediate confirmation of the report was available.

I'll wait this out to see if its another "Poison Factory" or "Truck Lab"
posted by skallas at 5:48 PM on March 23, 2003


The BBC is reporting that the Pentagon is saying that US troops are "investigating a site of potential interest". Thats all.

I'm not taking this as gospel yet.
posted by influx at 5:48 PM on March 23, 2003


I'm going to make a bag of popcorn and enjoy reading some of the conspiracy theories that will no doubt litter this thread in the next hour:

"There's your smoking gun!"

vs.

"Don't be fooled, Bush totally planted it there, dude!"

Etc.
posted by Karl at 5:51 PM on March 23, 2003


Of course the anti-war types will say they were planted by the US. Many will deny it even exists, that the media made it up.
posted by nyxxxx at 5:53 PM on March 23, 2003


A chemical plant 100 acres in a country with no free travel or outside media and the size of texas? Are you kidding me? Start using your imagination Bush haters. I'll be over with Karl eating popcorn reading and watching influx squirm.
posted by Macboy at 5:53 PM on March 23, 2003


I'm not saying its not true.

I'm saying that a single unconfirmed report from Fox News isn't enough to immediately assume that it is.
posted by influx at 5:54 PM on March 23, 2003


They're finding Russian anti-ship cruise missiles too at this location. Before this is over a lot of people are going to be asking government destabilizing questions of the French, the Germans and the Russians.

And influx, admit you hate Fox news even more than you hate the truth.
posted by paleocon at 6:02 PM on March 23, 2003


According to this article, all they found was a chemical plant. It is uncertain whether it is a chemical weapons plant, however.

The U.S. military's discovery was first reported in the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick, who is traveling with the unit from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

It could very well be a cement plant in An Najaf that the UN visited earlier this year.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:03 PM on March 23, 2003


Of course I hate Fox News, doesn't everybody?


I hate the truth?

Oh please.
posted by influx at 6:04 PM on March 23, 2003


>"Don't be fooled, Bush totally planted it there, dude!"

I don't think theres a big consensus that Saddam doesn't have some of the chemical weapons from the 80s. The question is how he suddenly became a "clear and present" danger to the US almost overnight demanding military action. Or how he got grouped with Al'Queda and 9/11.

Media war is right.
posted by skallas at 6:05 PM on March 23, 2003


Is it just me, or is anyone else "surprised" that Murdoch-owned media sources like Fox and the Sydney Morning Herald seem to be making much more of this story than others, even though they apparently don't have any reporters on the scene yet?

Personally, I think I'll wait until I hear what UN weapons inspectors have to say...
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:08 PM on March 23, 2003


skallas - keep the spin and excuses coming - this is humorous!
posted by Macboy at 6:08 PM on March 23, 2003


Of course I hate Fox News, doesn't everybody?

Of course you knew that Fox News draws better ratings than any of the other news networks. You simply have a reality distortion field around the word "everybody".

Perhaps you meant "everybody who counts" or "everybody who I respect" or "everybody I would employ". This line of thinking is exactly why liberals are the some of the most intolerant people around.

Enjoy the war. And, yes we will win. Without people like you if need be.
posted by paleocon at 6:12 PM on March 23, 2003


It's possible, but I'm debating how plausible it is. The Iraqi leaders have to realize at this point that they're doomed. They can put on a brave face for the media but they have to know that there's no way out. In that case, why not unleash everything you've got? Have chemical weapons? Deploy them. Have biological weapons? Deploy them. Have nuclear weapons? Deploy them. Have cruise missiles? Deploy them.

The only other possibility that involves them having mentionable amounts of proscribed weapons is that they're waiting till the last possible moment. When Baghdad is breached by the ground forces all Hell breaks loose in a toxic soup of biological and chemical weapons.
posted by substrate at 6:16 PM on March 23, 2003


In other news, Iraqi TV has reported US troops are raping nuns and eating babies.
Don't forget the Iraqis were throwing babies out of incubators last time around...

How gullible can you get.
posted by talos at 6:16 PM on March 23, 2003


"Without people like you if need be."

Wow, I didn't realise this war was being fought with me. I must have missed a meeting.


And I don't particularly like accusations of being intolerant simply because I don't accept as The Word Of Truth a solitary unconfirmed report from Fox News that US spokespersons are already playing down.

But thats just me.
posted by influx at 6:16 PM on March 23, 2003


Wait.... we're at war because Saddam has chemical weapons again? Oh fuck, we've got to rename the war now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:17 PM on March 23, 2003


If Saddam does indeed have WMD, this raises the question, what makes you think that he won't use them against US troops (or, in the case of biological weapons, potentially against the US mainland) when his end is near? You know, the whole point of WMD is that they're supposed to deter other nations from attacking you because other nations realize that you can inflict prohibitive damage on them by using them.

So you can choose: Either Saddam has WMD and the means to deploy them -- in which case he will likely use them to inflict as much damage as possible before his own demise -- or he doesn't, in which case the whole rationale for this war is questionable. Which do you prefer?
posted by Eloquence at 6:18 PM on March 23, 2003


he suddenly became a "clear and present" danger to the US almost overnight

Hmm, I was under the impression that the inevitable return to Iraq was being discussed by the military years ago, not to mention the past 10 years of no-fly zone skirmishes, and Saddam's noted evasiveness despite it all.

Not exactly "overnight" or "sudden", unless you haven't been paying attention...
posted by Karl at 6:18 PM on March 23, 2003


Enjoy the war. And, yes we will win. Without people like you if need be.

I think you have a reality field distortion around the word "we". And your last sentence juxtaposes nicely to your characterization of "intolerant liberals".

As for winning, duh. Last I heard our military strength was 200x that of Iraq. Enjoy the victory. Go step on an ant for further thrills.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:20 PM on March 23, 2003


But thats just me.

take the blinders off, liberal! god, your intolerance is the reason why I can't stand democrats!
posted by mcsweetie at 6:20 PM on March 23, 2003


I'm not making a speculation on the truth of this report, but Macboy, man, I gotta warn you about your tone here... after the aluminum tubes and the balsa wood plane incidents, you're gonna feel reeeeeeeeeeeally bad if this isn't true with the attitude you're copping right now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:21 PM on March 23, 2003


Chicago Sun Times

Washington Post

News.com.au

And you'll feel even worse when this is found out to be true...
posted by Macboy at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2003


What I've read is that it is a known chemical plant (this is a country that makes a lot of petro-chemical products, after all) that has previously been inspected by Blix. It wasn't "discovered" by any means: every square centimetre of Iraq is mapped in detail by the military!

The media's primary purpose is to attract eyeballs to advertisments. Overblown hype and speculation of this sort is extremely attractive -- but let's leave it on the television. Please be sensibly cautious in posting these sorts of articles: we don't want MeFi to become an online version of Fox "news"!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on March 23, 2003


Can anyone point me to a link that shows that this is anything more than a innocuous chemical plant?
posted by machaus at 6:26 PM on March 23, 2003


from Fox News:

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that troops were examining "sites of interest," but did not elaborate. The statement said reports describing the discovery as a chemical weapons factory were "premature."
posted by eddydamascene at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2003


machaus, why would the Iraqis build a factory meant to produce innocuous chemicals with an electrified fence, sand-engrained walls, and a camoflauge roof, then boobytrap it and guard it with soldiers?
posted by Macboy at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2003


And you'll feel even worse when this is found out to be true...

What, do you have money riding on the war, macboy? No one here is a Saddam lover. We just don't want to go flying off the handle at speculative news. We've already been burned by aluminum tubes, forged documents, British dossiers cribbed from graduate students and unsubstantiated links to Al Queda.
posted by machaus at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2003


Macboy, two of those sites are carrying the same AP story that says that a known chemical factory is being investigated to see if it produced any chemical weapons but that US officials declined to comment, and the third one just reports that Fox news reported something about a "huge" chemical plant.
posted by mdn at 6:33 PM on March 23, 2003


>in which case he will likely use them to inflict as much damage as possible before his own demise -or he doesn't, in which case the whole rationale for this war is questionable.

That's really the issue. We know North Korea does have nuclear weapons and the capabilities to use them at least as far as Japan, yet we're leaving that open to diplomacy. Not to mention they've threatened nuclear war ten times already.

Iraq may very well turn out to be something of a paper tiger; stockpiles of chemical weapons here and there (some proudly stamped made in the USA) and neither the capabilities or the will to use them, at least on the US. Enough to say, "Look!"

The Bush administration claims Saddam has the will and the capabilities and is in bed with terrorists. Finding chemicals isn't going to be the smoking gun. Finding serious plans to commit a terrorist attack on US soil very soon with chemical or biologicals will be a pretty good smoking gun.

Afterall, we are in this war "reluctantly" to "defend ourselves." Right?
posted by skallas at 6:34 PM on March 23, 2003


Quote:
"skallas - keep the spin and excuses coming "

What spin? How is it "spin" to want actual facts?

"Spin" is what you're putting on this story right now, by claiming that this is proof positive of chemical weapons when it is, in fact, not positive *or* negative yet.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:46 PM on March 23, 2003


Going to war over chemical weapons is not a valid reason for war. Any discovery of such weapons will not change my view of this war.
posted by Bag Man at 7:05 PM on March 23, 2003


Fox News - only slightly less reliable than The Enquirer - "Oh My God Aliens Ate My Baby". (Note to Fox General Counsel - ha ha this is just a joke - we all know that Fox News defines journalistic integrity - fair and balanced too.)
posted by caddis at 7:11 PM on March 23, 2003


Wait until "unconfirmed", "claim" and "suggest" don't feature so prominently in reports.

Except for Fox (big surprise) and Sky News (how can this be? This is non-US source and by definition is perfect and not evil), this statement is just not true.
posted by Bag Man at 7:12 PM on March 23, 2003


Sorry for restating what has already been said in another thread, but:

If Saddam does have weapons of mass destruction, why is he not using them?
posted by spazzm at 7:14 PM on March 23, 2003


Sky (a Murdoch-owned company) is just parroting Fox (a Murdoch-owned company).

And its got nothing to do with the nationality of a news service. Where did that idea come from?
posted by influx at 7:15 PM on March 23, 2003


Some battlefield chem weapons are not "weapons of mass destruction." They're barely worthy of remark, rather common, haven't been used, can't do very much -- and will not change my evaluation of this war either.

They wouldn't make an illegal invasion legal.

Guess which government has and is developing the greatest weapons of mass destruction.
posted by lathrop at 7:18 PM on March 23, 2003


Is this the same site inspected back in January?
posted by joaquim at 7:19 PM on March 23, 2003


And its got nothing to do with the nationality of a news service. Where did that idea come from?

It's an oversimplification -- there is an undeniable timidity of major domestic news sources that can be traced to the fact that they're generally a part of large corporate structures with complex ties to industry and even more complex relationships to power. And that's before we even bring advertisers into the picture. In the end, even when direct pressure isn't brought to bear, the people that news directors have to worry night and day about upsetting are legion.

Foreign news sources might have corporate and government ties as well but they're different ones, and those interests are often far less invested in the US status quo, with the result that they can (and do) carry stories the major domestic media won't touch.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2003


If Saddam does have weapons of mass destruction, why is he not using them?

Because that would really turn international opinion against them?
posted by gyc at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2003


Macboy, obviously you didn't post this as relevant news. You posted this so you could take digs at anybody who doesn't agree with Bush's little killing party. That makes you look like an asshole, dude. Just sayin...

I am really curious, however. If SadGoddamHitlerHussien has chemical weapons, why hasn't he used them? I'm not convinced that he does or doesn't have them, nor am I convinced that they won't be used in the future. I'm just wondering why his level of threat was concidered so very high before we attacked, and now we're laughing at the lack of palpable defense using what supposedly made him such a threat in the first place.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:41 PM on March 23, 2003


Sky (a Murdoch-owned company) is just parroting Fox (a Murdoch-owned company).

And its got nothing to do with the nationality of a news service. Where did that idea come from?


Good point thank you. I think George_Spiggott has beat the evil-US-cooperate led media drum quite fine. This opinion, which seems to have some seeds of truth, I feel is over simplistic and rests on many assumptions. Frankly, this opinion seems to come the fact that the media is not beating the ant-war drum (although coverage of the anti-war movement I feel has been good, especially my local media).
posted by Bag Man at 7:41 PM on March 23, 2003


This is an interesting moment, if this does turn out to be chemical weapons. No peace activist on earth has been saying "Iraq has no chemical weapons," yet people like Macboy are throbbing with anticipation to say "SEE? You were WRONG all along!" Personally, I'd almost rather find out (even though Macboy's celebratory emission might be a little unpleasant) that this is indeed a chemical weapons plant, so we can get past this point, where the told-you-soers seem to be physically unable to hear the words "we don't support Saddam" or "it's not about whether he does or does not have WMD, it's about who the hell we think we are," and on to the next level of debate - where the Grinch realizes that even after losing meaningless consumer products (read irrelevant rhetorical arguments), the Whos are still singing.
posted by soyjoy at 7:47 PM on March 23, 2003


MetaFilter - We hate the truth
posted by armoured-ant at 7:47 PM on March 23, 2003


Why on Earth is the Iraqi leadership going to care about "international opinion," which is already far from being in their favor, when they have nothing left to lose? Hello?
posted by raysmj at 7:47 PM on March 23, 2003


I think George_Spiggott has beat the evil-US-cooperate led media drum quite fine.

Where did I say "evil"? I said "timid". I beat no drum of any kind. You're the one introducing hot-button words here, and as for oversimplification, the first thing I said was "it's an oversimplification", which I then expanded on slightly.

this opinion seems to come the fact that the media is not beating the ant-war drum

I made no reference to war or anti-war. Read it again, and show me exactly where I used even mildly immoderate, let alone provocative or partisan language. You're makin' stuff up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:49 PM on March 23, 2003


Wulfgar! - please reference gyc's post just ahead of yours for the answer, asshole. Just sayin...
posted by Macboy at 7:50 PM on March 23, 2003


I'll be over with Karl eating popcorn reading and watching influx squirm.

OK, but please watch the American POWs footage, too (on the Internet, or whenever mr. Rumsfeld decides it is fit to be broadcast for the American public) then we'll see if you still watch war news the way you watch a Bruce Willis movie (I'm assuming the view of dead liberated Iraqi civilians wouldn't shake you as much)

I'm really appalled at this kind of attitude from too many war cheerleaders. It is not a football game, for Chrissakes. You can't be more pro-war than the Oxblog people but they do have the decency to point out that I believe that it will result in sparing more innocent lives than it takes. But it is not something to exult over. It will take innocent lives, and it will take the lives of allied soldiers. It will take the lives of Iraqi soldiers who joined the army, not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to. Each and every one of these deaths will be a tragedy, and for their family and friends, it will be a tragedy beyond measure... I am not happy about war. I am scared, and I am nervous.

We'll see if this latest piece of news is true or not (this has become FoxnewsFilter). We'll see. But war is neither a football game nor the right occasion for petty arguments like this
posted by matteo at 7:56 PM on March 23, 2003


paleocon:
They're finding Russian anti-ship cruise missiles too at this location. Before this is over a lot of people are going to be asking government destabilizing questions of the French, the Germans and the Russians.
But what about the British?
posted by kickingtheground at 8:05 PM on March 23, 2003


they do not use them becuase the only thing that can stop this war and save Iraq is internal and international pressure on the US.
posted by Mick at 8:10 PM on March 23, 2003


Chemical weapon find report 'premature': US
posted by lasm at 8:14 PM on March 23, 2003


Matteo: Maybe I am wrong, but I read their comments as sarcasm.
posted by jmd82 at 8:23 PM on March 23, 2003


I'm listening to FOX News right now (a rare event I assure you), and they are back-tracking what they just reported only a few hours ago (when they were announcing somewhat gleefully that a "huge chemical weapons plant has been found" in Iraq).

Now if only they will back-track on what they said earlier about the POW tape. My mom called all upset that she had just heard that a videotape was being shown in the Middle East showing POWs being beaten, tortured and executed. Having already seen the tape (and not remembering seeing any executions or torture), I asked her what channel she saw that on ... FOX. Sure enough, I turn it over to that channel, and that's exactly what they were saying ... that the videotape depicted American soldiers being beaten, tortured and executed. Made me wonder if they had even seen the tape beforehand.

Fox is not known for immediate and factual reporting. They enjoy putting out speculation and spin as fast as they can. Better to be first than right, right?
posted by Orb at 8:24 PM on March 23, 2003


this is why I don't watch 24 hour news anymore.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:29 PM on March 23, 2003


Don't forget the Iraqis were throwing babies out of incubators last time around...

Lets not forget that this has been proven to be false by Amnesty International, and 60 Minutes
posted by SweetJesus at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2003


>Better to be first than right, right?

Perhaps, better to project tons of pro-ultra-rightwing garbage and then play the, "Whoops, we had bad sources" card after the meme has hit critical mass.

44% of Americans believe that Saddam and 9/11 are related because of ideological news networks like Fox News.
posted by skallas at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2003


Ha, ha. Macboy's wrong.

Ha, ha.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:38 PM on March 23, 2003


Don't forget the Iraqis were throwing babies out of incubators last time around...
Lets not forget that this has been proven to be false by Amnesty International, and 60 Minutes


SweetJesus, I think that was the point.
posted by soyjoy at 8:38 PM on March 23, 2003


Matteo: Maybe I am wrong, but I read their comments as sarcasm.

No, jmd82, that's the point. It's not. As we've seen multiple times before in the pro-war rants, people really see it that way. I've said it before and this thread only proves my point: this isn't about the war anymore. This is about pointless hatred of "the liberals." This is about the need to find something, ANYTHING, that "proves" Saddam Hussein is a bad man (because we didn't know that, you see) in order to spin it to an argument that Bush is right. Who cares that it's evidence we found eight months after starting the trial. Who cares that Iraqis will still be dying, American troops are still getting killed, and Iraq has still never attacked the United States. What matters is that the ends justify the means... and the only ends that matter is finding something to retroactively find out Bush was right about to install some false belief that it all makes everything he's ever said right. Iraq has a chemical plant? Well, gosh, that means the tax cut is a good idea!

The irony of this is that every time unproven things like this get disproven it ruins the potential credibility of a truthful revelation. Imagine 20 FPPs like this one, all bullshit... what happens then when we DO find evidence of a terrorist threat somewhere? If the pro-war right really cared about a less bloody and effiecient war, they would shut their repeatedly-proven-wrong mouths until they have 100% credible evidence. But since this is really a war to Make Bush Right, not free the Iraqi people, Baghad bunkers are second only to war opposition on the massive barrage-fire target list.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:51 PM on March 23, 2003


This is about pointless hatred of "the liberals." . . . If the pro-war right really cared about a less bloody and effiecient war, they would shut their repeatedly-proven-wrong mouths . . .

No, it's about other things. What you're referring to is the ever-increasing, ego-driven need to be right in this country. What is the antagonism here? Left, Right, whatever. It's amazing that people are dying on both sides of this conflict and all anyone wants to talk about is how they're right. There's something awful going on right now (no matter whether you're for or against this war), but you're all willing to look right past it to argue about bullshit. This might as well be an Apple vs. PC thread.
posted by yerfatma at 8:57 PM on March 23, 2003


yerfatma, word.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:59 PM on March 23, 2003


This might as well be an Apple vs. PC thread.

If Macboy is on the Apple team, I'm going AWOL.
posted by soyjoy at 9:00 PM on March 23, 2003


It's amazing that people are dying on both sides of this conflict and all anyone wants to talk about is how they're right.

No, yerfatma, I wanted to talk about preventing people from dying on both sides. The desire for one side to be right regardless of the cost is what prevented that from happening, and that's why I complain about it now. It doesn't mean I care about being right now... I care about stopping the killing.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:14 PM on March 23, 2003


The Sydney Morning Herald is owned by Fairfax P/L. It has no connection with Murdoch.
posted by emf at 9:18 PM on March 23, 2003


Macboy:
are you still around in this thread?

i know that i have been more guilty than your average mefier of slinging poo in the past, but i want to ask a couple of questions, and i really am not trying to do so in a pointed way.

1: in light of FOX News' own efforts to understate this story in the hours after its initial publication, do you now ackowldege that the jury is still out on the nature of this factory?

2: what do you make of the fact that the two news outlets that claimed that this was a weapons plant were both under the same ownership? if you think that this is meaningless coincidence, fine, but would say that there is anything to the idea that (in)congruence of output MAY indicate (in)congruence of process?

on the real, let's get some discourse goin' on. i'm willing to listen and be civilized...
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:21 PM on March 23, 2003


So you can choose: Either Saddam has WMD and the means to deploy them -- in which case he will likely use them to inflict as much damage as possible before his own demise -- or he doesn't, in which case the whole rationale for this war is questionable. Which do you prefer?

I don't think it is as easy as that. WMDs are most of the time being used as deterants against other states and not to use as much damage as possible before any demise. Saddam might use WMDs agains the US army, but that would clearly be the end of him, because I think the retaliation for that could be anything, inclduing the bomb being dropped over Baghdad.
Saddam might have build WMDs for future times, say, for the times after a successful occupation of Kuwait or the important parts of Saudi Arabia, to defend these countries from liberation of foreign troops or something like that.

I don't think this war is fought because of WMDs either. But the whole question on how, why or when WMDs are likely to be used or needed or anything is a really complex military issue which spawned whole research sites developing possible scenarios of overkills when nuclear weapons were developed.
posted by zerofoks at 9:21 PM on March 23, 2003


Mick: Yep, that international pressure on the U.S. was sure effective in keeping Bush from going to war. Do you honestly believe that international pressure could stop the war within, oh, the next two or three weeks? Your judgement would only be on target if it was generally believed that the war will last another year or two. Stranger and more depressing things have happened, and none of us can predict the future, but I don't see that as very likely at this point.
posted by raysmj at 9:22 PM on March 23, 2003


zerofolks: You mean, we'd kill millions of civilians if the Iraqi government used chemical weapons against U.S. soldiers, in order to do in Saddam? That would be perfectly logical.
posted by raysmj at 9:26 PM on March 23, 2003


Uh I hate to burst the pro war set's bubble but.....


"Media reports are premature," the US Central Command said, in a brief statement read by Pentagon spokesman Major James Cassella. But he added: "We are looking into sites of interest."

Oh wait, but Fox news says it's true so it must be. :)
posted by whirlwind29 at 9:28 PM on March 23, 2003


Fox News and CNN are both extremely disrespectful of the soldiers. They treat this war as if it existed only to increase their profits. Pump up the headlines, sell those eyeballs, jack up the advertising rates!

Macboy, you should be truly embarassed for having fallen for Fox News' salespitch.

Everyone on MeFi needs to be careful when posting war news and especially FPPs. Hype and casual distortion are inappropriate when people are dying in your name. Those men and women in the war represent your country. Do them proud by taking care in what you write.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:29 PM on March 23, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, I wasn't picking on you in particular, though it came out that way. I don't want to derail this thread, especially since I can't quite put into words what I'm getting at, but this country (and the First World at large) seems to be getting worse and worse at interpersonal discourse. More and more people see every stranger as someone out to get them, which makes it all the easier to hate, all the easier to scream in each other's faces at competing rallies rather than sit down and talk. This country is incredibly polarized (and that fucks us real good every election when we go out and vote against "them" instead of for a person) and it's dragging us somewhere frightening.

I hate to be a Chicken Little and I'm not suggesting every stranger is a friend you haven't met yet (unless you feel like your under your quota of muggings for the year), but this is my namby-pamby way of saying "Shut the fuck up about which side's casualty list you're rooting for."
posted by yerfatma at 9:30 PM on March 23, 2003


zerofolks: You mean, we'd kill millions of civilians if the Iraqi government used chemical weapons against U.S. soldiers, in order to do in Saddam? That would be perfectly logical.

It was perfectly logical for the USA to use WMDs against other countries before. I am no military expert here, just trying to not to oversimplify the issue. Now stop spelling my name wron0g, please.
posted by zerofoks at 9:35 PM on March 23, 2003


Your judgement would only be on target if it was generally believed that the war will last another year or two. Stranger and more depressing things have happened, and none of us can predict the future, but I don't see that as very likely at this point.

i hope like hell that you are right.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:39 PM on March 23, 2003


zerofoks: Domestic public opinion wouldn't stand for any such thing now, I don't think. It also would go against everything Bush has said - loudly and often - about "our quarrel" not being with the Iraqi people, and would bring a raging torrent of international pressure and condemnation the likes of which we haven't even come close to seeing over the past year or so, not to mention certain acts of retaliatory terror on U.S. soil. You could've kindly or patiently corrected the name typo, by the way. It wasn't that big of a deal.

Ignatius: I do too. But you're talking (or linking, rather) about an extension of the present conflict, not the present conflict per se.
posted by raysmj at 9:47 PM on March 23, 2003


Ignatius: I do too. But you're talking (or linking, rather) about an extension of the present conflict, not the present conflict per se.

yes and no. the relevant states may be different, but this could easilly be seen as one, big conflict (or crusade, or whatever). not that i see this as remotely analogous to WWII, but it was all one war, whether the US was fighting against germany or japan.

i just get this sick feeling that as americans ride a wave of pride after winning the championship..errr...war the populace will be an easy sell for the next outbreak of "moral clarity".

and don't worry, war cheerleaders, no one will be happier than me to point out that "i" was misguided. i would rather suffer the unknowable horror of learning that i was wrong than smirk in self-satisfaction as my ([hopefully] as-yet unconceived) children get shipped off to kill or be killed in our conquest of the moors...errrrr...evildoers.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:59 PM on March 23, 2003


Fox News and CNN are both extremely disrespectful of the soldiers. They treat this war as if it existed only to increase their profits. Pump up the headlines, sell those eyeballs, jack up the advertising rates!

Um... I don't see CNN or Fox News showing any ads.
posted by gyc at 9:59 PM on March 23, 2003


Christ. This is almost as bad as watching Speculation News 24 - on a channel near you.

Some facts: the factory was uncovered by The Jerusalem Post's embedded reporter, Caroline Glick. The meat of her report (though not the headline) is pretty objective, at least for the JPost:

It wasn't immediately clear exactly which chemicals were being produced here, but clearly the Iraqis tried to camouflage the facility so it could not be photographed aerially, by swathing it in sand-cast walls to make it look like the surrounding desert.

If it turns out to be a weapons facility -- and we'll need verification from the people who are inspecting it -- then it's a great find and a public relations coup to offset a rather dismal day for the Americans. And I actually think that the Pentagon is trying to lower expectations among the media, knowing that it's better to take time and have this checked out than to have it undermined by even an inconclusive survey.

What's intriguing is whether the US had any intelligence about the facility while the inspections teams were in operation. If that's the case, and a decision was made not to alert UNMOVIC, then the shit will surely hit the fan.

(Macboy's initial premise is wrong, of course, to the extent that Hans Blix was -- as the US repeatedly emphasised -- not given a mission to scour for sites, but to work from information provided by Iraqi officials and from interviews with scientists. He and El-Baradai were also given shoddy wild-goose-chase intelligence data by the British and Americans.)
posted by riviera at 10:03 PM on March 23, 2003


matteo and XQUZYPHYR, the "popcorn" comments weren't about watching "war news the way you watch a Bruce Willis movie." I'm sure there are some that watch these televised atrocities with a morbid sense of glee, but that's not what the original message described.
Karl originally said:
I'm going to make a bag of popcorn and enjoy reading some of the conspiracy theories that will no doubt litter this thread in the next hour
which refered to watching this thread as entertainment; not the war.
posted by Monk at 10:04 PM on March 23, 2003


OK, I couldn't read ALL of the posts above, but didn't see this as I wheeled past. What makes Chemical weapons WMD's? I know that chemical weapons are really nasty, and certainly wouldn't want to get hit with them, but are they really Mass destruction weapons? Don't you have to be in the immediate vicinity of a chemical weapon, (or close to the downwind areas), to be injured by them?

Now if they find mutated smallpox lying around, that would be far more disturbing, and convincing.
posted by Windopaene at 10:18 PM on March 23, 2003


Actually, windopaene, if you really want to get bogged down in semantics (sure you do, come on, it's fun), most weapons, whether they be bullet or rocket, are chemical weapons. Axes and swords aren't, however.

Kinda' like how all "chemical" weapons are also atomic weapons, but not nuclear weapons.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:14 PM on March 23, 2003


I quote paleocon "Enjoy the war." What you like killing people? War is tragedy not something to be enjoyed! I find it SICK! That you would think it's something to enjoy. Palecon also say's "This line of thinking is exactly why liberals are the some of the most intolerant people around." Maybe some of us our, but at least we don't think war is fun. I wouldn't be surprised if that is why we are at war, is that Bush got bored and missed sending people to their deaths in Texas when he was governor. So he and his buddy Rummy and co. thought it would be ENTERTAINING TO start a war! They just had to lie to the American public.
posted by tljenson at 11:39 PM on March 23, 2003


A premature post prone to premature pronouncements per preceding patter.

Say that ten times fast.
posted by quadog at 12:13 AM on March 24, 2003


Those men and women in the war represent your country. Do them proud by taking care in what you write

My family members are vets, one is active duty and another one is currently in Iraq. To assume I am anything but proud of the people who serve my country you are crazy.
posted by Macboy at 4:02 AM on March 24, 2003


Macboy, please click here.
Thank you and good night.
posted by signal at 6:06 AM on March 24, 2003


/me notices how Macboy fled this discussion as soon as it was painfully apparent that he'd been duped by Fox News.

Great way to debate, Macboy. You would have earned at least some consolation points if you'd been man enough to post that you were wrong. As it is, all credibility you might have had is lost.

And sorry, posting after someone points it out forfeits those points.
posted by Cerebus at 6:14 AM on March 24, 2003


signal, cerebus:
why do you hate freedom?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:52 AM on March 24, 2003


Hey - leave Macboy alone. It hasn't been proven yet that he was wrong - all we have done so far is dump on Fox News for rushing out a story that supports their conservative world view. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the Iraqis were up to no good at this plant. At worst, Macboy just rushed to judgment like Fox did. I also would not be so quick to say he fled the debate for any particular reason. Perhaps he just did not stay up into the wee hours on the Internet.

One of the great things about MeFi is its civility, let's try to keep it that way.
posted by caddis at 7:10 AM on March 24, 2003


Same news page a couple of hours later.

  • There are many good reasons why we shouldn't take coverage of current events too serious.


  • Those are the same reasons why we don't see any news media references in our history books.

  • posted by psychomedia at 8:34 AM on March 24, 2003


    notices how Macboy fled this discussion as soon as it was painfully apparent that he'd been duped by Fox News.

    Great way to debate, Macboy.


    you know, I haven't been able to access the site for the last couple of days, and judging by the comparative paucity of posts, I'd guess I wasn't the only one (I'd assumed the site was down, actually). So, there may be other explanations than the one you leap to.

    yerfatma, I think you make a good point. People become very attached to their "side" and once they've stated it, it's unusual for them to reconsider and change their mind - people may sheepishly inch toward a new position, or occasionally there'll be a dramatic switch a la david horowitz, but being able to maintain one's identity and say, you know, i think I may have been wrong about that, is almost embarrassing for most people, somehow.
    posted by mdn at 4:09 PM on March 25, 2003


    I made no reference to war or anti-war. Read it again, and show me exactly where I used even mildly immoderate, let alone provocative or partisan language. You're making' stuff up.

    I was making a general comment, sorry if that was not clear.
    posted by Bag Man at 4:22 PM on March 25, 2003


    For the record, Associated Press today reports that "U.S. military investigators have found no evidence that chemical weapons have been made in recent years at a suspect chemical plant secured by U.S. troops in southern Iraq, a senior defense official said Tuesday... Preliminary reports from the site indicate that the initial suspicions were true, and it had not been involved in illicit weapons production in the last five years, the official said."
    posted by tranquileye at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2003


    caddis, and anyone else who thinks we're being unfair to taunt Macboy over this embarrassing error, you may have missed this, earlier on:

    Start using your imagination Bush haters. I'll be over with Karl eating popcorn reading and watching influx [the first person to casually note that there was no proof yet] squirm.

    It was this comment that set the tone for this thread as gleefully uncivil. And it was this childish hostility from Macboy that makes his comeuppance so enjoyable.

    Still, like I said, I'd rather there were chemical weapons there, so we could move past all that "told-ya-so" nonsense.
    posted by soyjoy at 7:18 PM on March 25, 2003


    I think tranquileye's post pretty well demolishes Fox News claim of being "accurate". Not that I trust CNN, MSNBC or any of the other "embedded" media parroting the Pentagon and the White House either. They'll all run any type of unconfirmed bullshit if it gets ratings.

    The only upside to Gulf War II is that it keeps Elizabeth Smart off the airwaves. I guess her daddy's book and movie of the week deal have been really screwed up by this war thing.
    posted by mark13 at 9:48 AM on March 26, 2003


    It's been a week or two since I was able to be at MeFi. I note that MacBoy hasn't come forward in this thread to admit his mistake.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:16 PM on April 1, 2003


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