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Do what I say, not what I do Dept.
May 28, 2003 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Missing WMDs found... buried in a field near Maryland
posted by magullo (43 comments total)

 
what ever happened to the terrorist who parked his john deere in a pond in DC?
posted by quonsar at 8:10 AM on May 28, 2003


Isn't it sad when things like this don't even surprise us anymore?
posted by Espoo2 at 8:29 AM on May 28, 2003


Useless post.
posted by monkeyman at 8:29 AM on May 28, 2003


Why is this a useless post? I found it interesting.
posted by damn yankee at 8:31 AM on May 28, 2003


Are there incinerators for biohazards like these?
posted by bshort at 8:33 AM on May 28, 2003


"near" Maryland? What does that mean?
posted by Shike at 8:34 AM on May 28, 2003


It's useless because the connection to Iraq is nonexistent and it is well-known that the armed forces are very sloppy about disposing of their waste. Land owned by the Army is some of the most polluted in the United States. This post is just another "The U.S. is bad" kind of posts.
posted by monkeyman at 8:37 AM on May 28, 2003


The Guardian really is the Fox news of lefty Britain, jebus. What do they care about very local DC news except to use it as a poke to embarrass the US. How about a NY Times Op-Ed about the horrid state of the UK's education and just how stupid the Brits are based on this?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:39 AM on May 28, 2003


the connection to Iraq is nonexistent

Muaaaaahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

(Almost as funny as participating in the thread TWICE to explain how useless it is)
posted by magullo at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2003


The US has been mislaying WMDs for nearly half a century now. It's fairly frank about it too. Along with a fair number of accidents, my favourite's listed here, with the US Navy losing nuclear weapons off the side of carriers... That said, the former USSR's record is not for the feint of heart...

Pollo, gosh, a media outlet with an axe to grind? Surely not! [/sarcasm] Come on...
posted by dmt at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2003


I didn't find this post useless either.
posted by moonbiter at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2003


This post is just another "The U.S. is bad" kind of posts.

I wouldn't say the U.S. is bad, just astoundingly hypocritical.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2003


There's no Iraq connection (other than the obvious irony), but I don't see how that makes it useless. The irony made me chuckle, and the story is vaguely interesting.

I'd be interested to see if they could just dump it in that that oil recycler thing. They claim it can reduce any organic waste - here's a perfect trial for them.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2003


More on Area B
posted by monkeyman at 8:49 AM on May 28, 2003


Thanks magullo, I hadn't noticed monkeyman's 2nd post was monkeyman, it completely changed its meaning for me. Having said that I've been quite interested in my own reaction to the large number of negative posts about the US on Metafilter. I've gone from being fairly ambivalent about the US to being daily grateful that I'm not there.
Why do I hate America? Metafilter made me.
posted by biffa at 8:58 AM on May 28, 2003


Sounds like you need to take a break from MeFi and get back into reality biffa. No, really, the US is SOOOOOO different from Britain, really, its amazing the difference. I mean, you call them biscuits and we call them cookies and biscuits are more like what you call scones. See? See how truly different we are? Don't get me started on how frightfully different the French are!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:11 AM on May 28, 2003


According to the article, In an effort to explain why no chemical or biological weapons had been found in Iraq, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said yesterday the regime may have destroyed them before the war.

Speaking to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations thinktank, he said the speed of U.S. advance may have caught Iraq by surprise, but added: "It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict."

I guess, though, that such a move by Iraq would have been, you know, impossible.

Could it have been that the US purposfully dicked around before sending troops in precisely to give the Iraqis time to destroy thier weapons, to help ensure the Iraqis wouldn't feel compelled to *use* them against US forces?

If one of the goals was to get rid of the WMDs, one way or another, then letting the Iraqis destroy them seems to be a Good Thing, though a bad PR move by the USA.
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:11 AM on May 28, 2003


I think it's interesting in that the US/UK have been eager to call just about anything they find in Iraq a "smoking gun," proof of malicious intent, and lo and behold we have some very nasty crap sitting around undocumented in Maryland (of all places).
posted by scarabic at 9:13 AM on May 28, 2003


monkeyman, don't try to make a monkey of the fact that whatever chemical or biological weapons Iraq had, had been given to it by the US.

biffa, please be serious. You don't hate a whole country because of its government and its politicians. A country is the people. All we say is it's up to them to get things fixed (by voting and demonstrating and demanding it abides with international law, tirelessly).
posted by acrobat at 9:22 AM on May 28, 2003


"The documentation for where this came from doesn't exist," said Lt. Col. Donald Archibald.

Um, and why exactly is so much of my money going to fund this institution?

I mean, it's not as though I'm in favor of their producing the stuff by the ton, or selling it to friendly dictators, or going over and killing people to try to prove the now-unfriendly dictators still have it.

But if they're going to do that, can't they at least keep some goddamn records on this crucial life-or-death issue?
posted by soyjoy at 9:37 AM on May 28, 2003


biffa:
Don't listen to acrobat. if in hating the US, you end up erroneously hating me, I can live with that. Just because I don't have the luxury of cursing this place from afar doesn't mean you shouldn't indulge yours.

OK, I was kind of kidding. If you have never been to the States, you may be surprised by some of the people, music, and culture. However, you should come fast before Wal Mart owns all of it.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:40 AM on May 28, 2003


Magullo: You have no e-mail address listed, so here I am again. Let me ask one question. Why link to The Guardian column?
posted by monkeyman at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2003


Okay, so the news is ironic and the US is hypocritical--who cares? I care. I wish everyone cared. When the world's superpower starts wars based on its interpretations of what's a priority threat and who's breaking what international and humanitarian codes, will people remember that those interpretations may be hypocritical or even deceptive? Will people be skeptical that the interpretations are often based on political expedience rather than real evidence, consistent logic, and moral principles? Sure, not all wars are founded on hypocrisies, lies, and propaganda, but many are. Remember the Maine! And the Gulf of Tonkin. How can we avoid repeating history if we don’t care about news that questions leaders’ choices?

Was the Iraq war worth it? What’s the body count up to? Five to seven thousand and growing every day? Children losing lives and limbs to leftover US bomblets. Murders, looting, and other lawlessness uncontrolled, included looted dirty-bomb supplies that may now be more readily available to terrorists. Cholera in the south ...
posted by win_k at 9:49 AM on May 28, 2003


Monkeyman, the article is relevant because it underscores the double standard being applied by the US and its allies. If the find had been made anywhere in Iraq it would have been treated as being enough to provide significant justification for the war on the grounds that it was evidence of a weapon that could have been a major threat to American security. The casual approach to the treatment of the material in US hands would seem to undermine the threat it is alleged to hold.

On preview, what win_k said.
posted by biffa at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2003


Pollomacho: you're talking out your butt.

For a start, how can you have a left-wing equivalent of Fox news? Liberal ideology (AFAIS) is simply about openess to alternative realities, inclusiveness, tolerance. In practice this means ambivalence, not dogmatism which is exactly what defines the right and specifically FOX.

I am by no means a pinky communist liberal wuss, so most of the time I disagree with many of the opinions expressed within the Guardian. That's not really the point though. Many a time I've been surprised by the space given to conservative voices even though they often disagree with the prevailing tone of the paper/website. Even if this dissent is merely a device to confirm the Guardian's readership in their left-wing views it is evidence for their engagement with other perspectives and proof they are so far beyond Fox. Jeez, why the hell am I arguing with your point? Have you ever read the paper/site?
posted by pots at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2003


Actually, there is no equivalancy between such vials being found in Maryland and such vials being found in Iraq.

The US is an admitted holder of WMD. We publicly admit that we possess nuclear arms, and that we had an offensive biological weapons program until the late 1960s and have had a defensive one since then. Iraq under Hussein was a country that has sworn not to be in possession of any kind of WMD. Further, they were compelled by UN mandate to inventory and discuss anything (like said vials) that could in any way be related to WMD. Therefore, if such vials had been found in Baghdad, they would have been proof of a program DENIED by the Iraq government. Found in Maryland, they are only proof that the Army does a shitty job cleaning up. They aren't proof of anything nefarious because the US government is open about its biological activities.

Further, if you read the article, the strain of anthrax found was nonvirulent and meant to be used in vaccines. The info on the bacteria is less complete.

The Guardian carrying this article is a complete crock of shit. The US government never lied about these vials, they are in no way connected to Iraq, and in all likelihood were originally desposed of in the 1960s. Relevance?
posted by pjgulliver at 10:16 AM on May 28, 2003


Relevance?

wasn't there some kind of anthrax scare lately?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on May 28, 2003


No, really, the US is SOOOOOO different from Britain, really, its amazing the difference. I mean, you call them biscuits and we call them cookies and biscuits are more like what you call scones.

When it comes to social issues (abortion, birth control, health care, drugs, guns, education, the death penalty, etc etc) the US is gtting further and further away from the UK, and the rest of the western world for that matter.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:34 AM on May 28, 2003


pjgulliver, way to burn that straw man. No one on this thread suggested an "equivalency" between Iraqi and US WMDs. Obviously if our country had also long maintained that we had no WMDs, this discovery would logically be a basis for any country that felt threatened to "equivalently" launch a pre-emptive strike against us, and no one's even come close to suggesting that. So you'll need to come up with a better critique than "it's not equivalent."

The US government never lied about these vials, they are in no way connected to Iraq, and in all likelihood were originally desposed of in the 1960s. Relevance?

It's relevant, for one thing, because you don't know whether the US ever lied about these vials. Missing documentation could stem from incompetence or it could stem from fraud. But it's also relevant simply because it once again spotlights the US government's hypocrisy in the standards it applies to other nations while refusing to honor them itself, the pretexts through which it seeks to expand its unilateral control of the world's resources, and the shenanigans we're expected to shrug off on the part of the most powerful and dangerous institution in our country.
posted by soyjoy at 10:58 AM on May 28, 2003


I was responding to biffa and win_k, soyjoy.

And I guess to you to. Why again is the US hypocritical, at least within the confines of these articles and this post?
posted by pjgulliver at 11:28 AM on May 28, 2003


pjg, if you're now trying to say biffa and win_k were arguing "equivalence," I gotta disagree. "The casual approach to the treatment of the material in US hands would seem to undermine the threat it is alleged to hold" seems to me the main point of biffa's comment, which "if the find had been made anywhere in Iraq" was necessary to set up.

As to hypocrisy - how can I put this? What would you call it when a country produces tons of lethal chemicals and biological agents, spreads them around the globe for profit, then heavy-handedly makes the issue of accounting for exactly where those materials are one worth sacrificing thousands of lives for, while said country can't even be bothered to keep track of where said materials have gotten to in their own borders (where, hidden and unknown, they could easily have led to illness and death among our own citizens)?

I call that hypocritical. Maybe it's a semantic thing. Seriously, what would you call it?
posted by soyjoy at 11:41 AM on May 28, 2003


Liberal ideology (AFAIS) is simply about openness to alternative realities, inclusiveness, tolerance. In practice this means ambivalence, not dogmatism which is exactly what defines the right and specifically FOX.

Who's talking out of their ass? Yes, I read the Guardian, almost daily and the days I don't I get the pleasure of reading the Op-Ed pieces such as this one that get posted here usually to attack the US. I AM a lefty, pink-o and most of the time I do agree with them, but I can see that the Guardian has ONE agenda that they dogmatically stick to despite relevance or importance. Liberal ideology may spout openness but rarely does it practice it. The left is just as closed minded and dogmatic, and this is coming from the inside, as the right, don't fool yourself.

wasn't there some kind of anthrax scare lately?

Yes, and? The anthrax scare was weapons grade stuff from highly sophisticated laboratory sources, alive and extremely dangerous. This stuff is some old vials of leftover crap, mostly dead, only slightly dangerous and far from pure or weapons grade, supposedly put in a waste dump to be buried forever, except that they decided that wasn't good enough. I suppose a sheep getting anthrax in Syria is somehow relevant to the anthrax scare too?

When it comes to social issues (abortion, birth control, health care, drugs, guns, education, the death penalty, etc etc) the US is getting further and further away from the UK, and the rest of the western world for that matter.

Please substitute "the Bush Administration" for the US when making this statement in the future please. Abortion is still legal in most states, birth control in all states. Drugs are cheaper and more plentiful than in virtually any other Northern Hemisphere nation. As far as guns, the US has remained the same, it is the other nations that have changed their policies. Health Care and Education are the same, we haven't socialized whereas others have. The death penalty is one of the few places where we do differ, but then again we've only been at it again for 30 years whereas they all stopped for the first time then, and of course while its still gruesome any way its done, we at least have tried to do it the most painless and/or quick way, at least compared to the methods used only 30 years ago in Western Europe such as short drop hanging (UK), beheading by guillotine (France) and garroting (Spain). But most of all, let's not forget that a majority of American voters did not vote for our current, conservative administration. So while you may say all you like about the faults and merits of our present administration, just remember that most of us are sitting over here, gritting our teeth waiting for our opportunity to chuck this shithead out on his rich, spoiled, conservative, white ass.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:45 AM on May 28, 2003


bshort: The US Army operates 6 chemical weapon incinerators. The US is slowly destroying its stockpile, about 25% is gone (more detail here).

As for all the finger pointing... people, come on. The army found an old hazardous waste dump that was about forty years old. It looks to me like they discovered a problem and now are doing something about it. Anyone anywhere near the environmental industry knows that this sort of thing happens regularly. It was neither hypocritical nor disingenuous for the US army to admit that they have a problem, and that they are looking to clean it up.

The US Army should be commended for being so up front about this. Do you think a corporate owner would be so frank?
posted by bonehead at 11:49 AM on May 28, 2003


Fort Detrick is creepy. Acres and acres of empty land. If the military wants to find more buried bad stuff, they should look in the areas where the grass doesn't grow.
posted by swerve at 11:50 AM on May 28, 2003


bonehead, just to be clear: Nobody's calling the army hypocritical or disingenuous for finding the stuff or cleaning it up. We're calling the government hypocritical and disingenuous for its double standard on the dangers of WMDs.
posted by soyjoy at 1:43 PM on May 28, 2003


Thanks, soyjoy. Yeah, there are multiple double standards surfacing in this comparison. There’s a double standard for hyping threats to the American populace. Iraqi weapons, which as far as we know haven’t been deployed against the US, and which may not even exist, merit war and weeks of speeches and front-page press. In contrast, the Army discovered germs already on American soil, some of which were still virulent—but this danger, surely at least as plausible as Iraq’s, gets how much attention? There’s also a double standard for securing weapons materials: only Iraq is faulted for inadequate paperwork.
posted by win_k at 2:01 PM on May 28, 2003


Ummm, win-k....how are a couple vials that were inproperly disposed of in a landfill equivilant to the potential danger of large quantities of weaponized WMD held by a hostile regime?
posted by pjgulliver at 2:32 PM on May 28, 2003


And Pollo, my new found friend, it's fabulous to be posting in concert with you in two posts on the same day.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:33 PM on May 28, 2003


Ummm, pjgulliver...A couple of glass vials (according to the story, more than a hundred, some of which contained live bacteria and others more dangerous stuff, among 2,000 tons of hazardous waste) actually appears to be more than what has been found so far in Iraq. There is no equivalence. Or were you referring to Iran?
posted by newlydead at 3:33 PM on May 28, 2003


Why do I hate America? Metafilter made me.

Careful, Biffa!

In a recent memo to police, the Homeland Security Department said local officers should watch for anyone who "may show arrogance and hatred toward Americans through bragging, expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government, superiority of religious beliefs and difficulty tolerating proximity to those he hates."
posted by homunculus at 8:02 PM on May 28, 2003


And the exit polls are coming in now...

With (40 comments total), ABC News is ready to declare This Post to be the victor over the opposition, Randy "monkeyman" Cartwright.
posted by brantstrand at 9:42 PM on May 28, 2003


how are a couple vials that were inproperly disposed of in a landfill equivilant...

(Sigh) There you go again... *wags head incredulously*
posted by soyjoy at 7:32 AM on May 29, 2003


Look, I live here in DC just a few miles down wind from Ft. Detrick. I am not in the practice of taking any unnecessary risks, but this stuff is not that big a deal. There are tons of toxins and potential threats far greater than this crap and the fact that it happens to be anthrax has been used by the Guardian and by posters on this site as a troll to embarrass the US in their "plight" in Iraq. There is a gas station only a couple blocks from my office. Thousands of gallons of highly toxic, highly explosive gasoline sit only a short distance away from where I sit right now. Am I afraid? Not really. "But Pollomacho, what about that huge refinery explosion, doesn't that make your fears of gasoline relevant?" Well, if you mean that gas can be dangerous, then yes, but a refinery fire has little to do with the volatility of a gas station. Its the same thing with this thread. The anthrax attack (not scare mind you) also occurred within a couple blocks of where I sit now, actually between me and the gas station. My girlfriend and I have been looking for a house in the area near where lethal infections occurred, yet the WWII era leftovers found buried at Fort Detrick are hardly relevant to the sophisticated and extremely toxic materials used in those attacks. Hey guess what, there's some undocumented radioactive material somewhere in the New Mexico desert, I can guarantee, is that suddenly pertinent to North Korea's nuke production?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:13 AM on May 29, 2003


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