Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Iran is not Iraq

History never really repeats its self but it does often rhyme. Iran isn't even c close to rhyming with Iraq. Michael Barone’s op-ed in the Washington Times (6-2-06) looks at “Iran through prism of Iraq”. Or, is it Alice’s looking glass?

Unlike most liberals I don’t believe Bush “misled the nation about Iraq’s WMD programs” or that he “manipulated” or “cherry-picked” the intelligence. Saddam had WMD. We gave it to him. We know he would use it. He used it against the Kurds and we helped him with targeting of Iranians. After Kuwaiti he certainly didn’t like us and knew it would take something far more powerful than his Republican Guard to deter us from invading. It’s even possible he was annoyed enough with our persistent interference in his oil operations or national sovereignty that he would try some covert means of delivering WMD for the purpose of diverting our attention from him (he could make it look like the evil North Koreans did it). He knew that even with the greatest man hunt in US history we were unable to find Osama or even the American guy who WMD’d our capital with a domestic Anthrax stash we still haven’t found.

Barone is correct in that “Saddam was not entitled to a presumption of innocence.” But neither were we regarding Saddam’s possession and actual use of WMD. Who will hold the US accountable for aiding and abetting those war crimes?

I also agree that “the precise facts were unknowable” but it is for that reason a US invasion should have never happened. Months before our invasion there were front page stories in the Washington Post regarding Saddam’s likely possession of weaponized small pox. Blood tests on Iraqi solders who were born after the global Smallpox eradication vaccination effort revealed smallpox antibodies. This and other evidence suggested Saddam may have had possession of a ‘weaponized’ form of smallpox. A strain that Bush’s domestic anti-terrorist smallpox vaccines would have been useless against. Let me do the math for you on this one. Smallpox normally has about a 5% kill rate. The weaponized smallpox that the USSR had biologically engineered and poorly guarded after their nation’s fall had a far greater kill rate. According to some soviet defecting bioweapons scientists it was even genetically altered to yield non-smallpox symptoms so that diagnosis would be difficult and thus treatments wouldn’t be as effective. This could have been the source of Saddam’s other WMD.

Saddam knew if Iraq was invaded he and his army would be soundly defeated. If he was really insane, why wouldn’t he release such a weapon to teach the West a lesson and make a real name for himself among jihadists. This Armageddon prism makes the invasion of Iraq look like a completely insane Presidential decision. Are we ever lucky Saddam didn’t have WMD! We aren’t so lucky to be stuck in Iraq when Iran has dramatically more potential for WMD possession and dispersion than Iraq.

But here is a “precise fact’ that is known but ignored by both liberals and Conservatives. Any jerk with a post graduate biology degree and an evil agenda can bring the US to it’s knees. Iran’s nukes aren’t the problem. The fact that they or any other nation, group, or seriously pissed off individual can develop WMD that is virtually impossible to detect. And with every day that passes the technology for creating such horrific WMD becomes cheaper, more available, and more easy to use.

Under this microscope, ‘maintaining the military option’ to preempt Iran’s nuclear program will only provoke their desire to get any WMD program.

Barone is right in that there is no easy answer. But there is a right answer. War is not the answer (see cost of Iraq war). A wiser path would be to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for inciting genocide on the Jews. Let him defend himself before Iranian and world opinion. If he retracts his threats on Israel, let the man be. If he escalates his calls for genocide…mobilize an international police force to go in an arrest him…without any collateral damage. When Iranians see invaders who are willing to die but not kill innocent people in order to get their suspect, the world will be far closer to peace and lasting security than starting yet another war. DTFM.

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