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Between the Lines

May 21, 2004

The sarin bomb

Does it mean anything? It's hard to tell at this point. LT Smash makes the best preliminary argument that it might.

Smash points out that, "In October 1995 (after the UN discovered some previously undisclosed documents), Saddam revised his weapons declaration, admitting that his scientists had developed 'prototypes' of shells capable of delivering binary sarin, but claimed that the project had never reached full production. UN inspectors noted at the time, however, that 'new documentation shows production in quantities well beyond prototype levels.' "

In other words that the Iraqis had manufactured sarin warheads in some quantity.

Further, the shell that exploded earlier this week, contaminating two U.S. soldiers, contained a "mix-in-flight" warhead that was more advanced than those Iraq had used in the Iraq-Iran war, according to our military command.

If all this is accurate, Smash says, it's possible a stockpile of some size exists in Iraq.

It's certainly still possible that a cache or two of chemical weapons may turn up in Iraq, breathing some new life into the administration contention that Saddam Hussein was actively developing weapons of mass destruction. We'll see what emerges.

Posted by tbrown at 10:26 AM


The other problem with torture

Besides being inhumane and illegal, the use of torture against prisoners in the war on terror is undercutting our ability to build legal cases against key figures, Phil Carter, a former Army officer, argues at Slate.

"Any information gained through torture will almost certainly be excluded from court in any criminal prosecution of the tortured defendant," Carter writes. "And, to make matters worse for federal prosecutors, the use of torture to obtain statements may make those statements (and any evidence gathered as a result of those statements) inadmissible in the trials of other defendants as well. Thus, the net effect of torture is to undermine the entire federal law enforcement effort to put terrorists behind bars. With each alleged terrorist we torture, we most likely preclude the possibility of a criminal trial for him, and for any of the confederates he may incriminate."

Not that we should be surprised that torture is happening, no matter how counterproductive it may prove. This administration has scorned international law since day one. Why should it pay attention to ours?

Posted by tbrown at 10:24 AM


Uh, oh. Bill Gates has discovered blogs

""The smart way to look at Gates' blessing is to think about blogging as a platform for any kind of publishing, communication, and distribution," says blogger Jeff Jarvis. "Bill will.

That may not be a bad thing. Microsoft's core software, including IE and Word, probably will incorporate RSS and other blog-friendly features, Jarvis figures.

Posted by tbrown at 10:23 AM




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