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More Proof Of The UN's Ineptitude

Well, some elements of the left side of the blogosphere is crowing this morning. It turns out that the chemical weapons discovered at the United Nations last week well... weren't.

Turns out they were merely cleaning chemicals.

So Larkin from the Blue Boobies wants to know if I'm going to print a retraction. The answer: no.

A retraction would mean that I was flat-out wrong when I wrote the story. Instead, I'm going to call this a "correction" or an "update."

Let's sum up what happened last week: in an office of a UN official (still unnamed) involved in the Iraq disarmament program, eight vials marked "phosgene" was discovered.

Now, what would be the reasonable, sensible, logical action to take? Let's start by going over some indisutable facts.

  • The substance was marked "phosgene."
  • The accompanying documentation said it was recovered from Iraq during the 1990s.
  • Iraq had a long-established history of developing and using chemical weapons.
  • The official whose office held the vials had been involved in the Iraqi disarmament program.
  • People have a history of taking dangerous souvenirs. Every now and then there's another story of someone getting blown up by a grenade or shell that they brought home from war.
  • The United Nations itself has a history of concealing evidence of wrongdoing by nations, especially when the concealing of that evidence will hurt the US or Israel -- witness the hiding of counterfeit US currency made by North Korea cited in my original article, or the stonewalling over the release of a videotape of terrorists dressed in UN garb kidnapping three Israeli soldiers.

So, with all that in mind, to treat the vials as anything but legitimate would have been foolish at best, and suicidal at worst.

When faced with a potential danger, the smartest thing to do is to do as the Air Force says and "honor the threat." Treat it as valid until proven otherwise. Cops, when confronted with someone oointing a gun at them, don't stop to see if it's a toy gun, a paintball gun, or unloaded. Every gun is treated as loaded and ready to fire. Firefighters don't call around when a fire alarm goes off and see if there really is a fire. And no one should look at something marked "poison gas" -- even if in liquid or powder form -- and just toss it in the trash without a second thought.

In the end, the stuff was harmless. Or, at least, nowhere near as dangerous as first feared. (Some cleaning chemicals are nasty.) Yay.

But anyone who argues that the initial reaction was overblown is a blithering idiot, a partisan hack, or both.

I suspect that if Mr. Larkin had found the vials himself, he would not have been anywhere near so dismissive. Rather, I have a hunch that he would be screaming that it was George W. Bush's fault for allowing it into the US in the first place (conveniently overlooking the diplomatic status of UN officials prohibits us from giving them the level of security scrutiny they so greatly deserve, as this proves).

We got lucky. We can call this one "practice," and it appears we passed this test. That makes us a little better prepared for a real threat.

Unless, of course, we listen to ninnies like Larkin.


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Comments (24)

Let's sum up what ... (Below threshold)
Let's sum up what happened last week: in an office of a UN official (still unnamed) involved in the Iraq disarmament program, eight vials marked "phosgene" was discovered ... Turns out they were merely cleaning chemicals.
Seriously! Why would you have something marked as "phosgene" when it isn't? Why would you keep it around? As a paperweight? A prop for the Christmas panto at the children's school?
>So Larkin from the Blue Bo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>So Larkin from the Blue Boobies wants to know if I'm going to print a retraction. The answer: no.

ha! If Larki printed a "retraction" everytime he said something wrong he'd have a 1:1 ratio... Dumbass.

Then I read his post... doe... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Then I read his post... doesn't even have the balls to call you and stand by his assertions... Sorta like that Kos kid, "They're idiots, trust me."

Given the UN's track record... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Given the UN's track record, I wouldn't be surprised if it rally was phosgene, and the current line is the attempted spin.
Wouldn't bet my life on it, but I would use my best Renault response if it came out in someones memoirs.

>Given the UN's track recor... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Given the UN's track record, I wouldn't be surprised if it rally was phosgene, and the current line is the attempted spin.

You know... I had not thought of that but that is more plausible than the scenario Jay Tea outlines above.

US Customs Agent: ... (Below threshold)
US Customs Agent: Let me see your identification. UN Official: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification. US Customs Agent: We don't need to see his identification. UN Official: These aren't the WMDs you're looking for. US Customs Agent: These aren't the WMDs we're looking for. UN Official: He can go about his business. US Customs Agent: You can go about your business. UN Official: Move along. US Customs Agent: Move along... move along.
The Force is strong with the UN! (LOL)
Dang! And that looked so g... (Below threshold)

Dang! And that looked so good in preview, too...

The pea-brain doesn't even ... (Below threshold)

The pea-brain doesn't even understand what a "retraction" is.

Question: When are we going... (Below threshold)
Don:

Question: When are we going to get out of Democratic POTUS Harry S(scum) Truman's United Nations?

With all the gaseous emanat... (Below threshold)

With all the gaseous emanations coming from Wizbangblue, I'm surprised *it* hasn't been labeled toxic.

Pretty darn funny Jay. Kee... (Below threshold)

Pretty darn funny Jay. Keep digging your hole on this one. You are so good at that.

Meanwhile, Lee has turned up this:

It was only identified on Wednesday because it was marked simply with an inventory number, and officials had to check the many records in their vast archives, said Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the U.N. inspection agency.

So some cleaning solvent was marked with a number led people to think it was phosgene. THAT's the whole story. The bottom line is you jumped the gun before all the facts were in despite the fact that initial reports on these kinds of incidents are often completely wrong.

Why don't you just write a post saying that you'd like to burn the UN to the ground? Wouldn't that be more to the point? Please do. I'm sure that will help you with the swing voter groups that you're doing so well with.

>The bottom line is you jum... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>The bottom line is you jumped the gun before all the facts were in despite the fact that initial reports on these kinds of incidents are often completely wrong.

Lakin, I've been a nice little boy and given you guys a chance to play in your own sandbox, don't piss me off.....

Jay didn't jump the gun you moron, he was commenting on what was in the news.... now apologize both to Jay and to Common Sense, you've insulted them both.


September 2nd, Larkin the A... (Below threshold)
Paul:

September 2nd, Larkin the Asshole writes...

Cholera Outbreak in Iraq as Thousands Flee Their Homes

...A few days ago I posted about how the surge has led to a significant increase in the number of internally displaced people in Iraq (the surge is responsible for everything that happens in Iraq isn't it?). This cholera outbreak is a clear manifestation of the massive dislocation of Iraqi people that is currently underway.

Two days later....

WHO says cause of north Iraq cholera outbreak unclear

Nearby Kirkuk first detected cholera on August 19 and has since had 1 death and 2,968 cases of acute watery diarrhoea, Chaignat said. She cautioned it was not yet possible to say whether all those cases were cholera.

Health officials in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said last week that a Sulaimaniya water treatment plant had tested positive for the bacterium that caused cholera, and that its filters would be cleaned. Polluted well water was also cited as a possible infection source.

In Kirkuk, cracked water pipes allowing contamination by sewage were blamed for the outbreak.

Where's the retraction asshole?

Jay quoted news sources, YOU are the asshole who jumped to completely unsubstantiated conclusions...

I ask again, where's the retraction asshole?


BTW- Look at my time stamps... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW- Look at my time stamps... It took me exactly 7 minutes, you review you recent posts, find one that was obviously flawed, google the right answer AND make a nice pretty post destroying one of your insane ramblings.

7 minutes.

You're not smart enough to play this game child.

Lord knows what I could find if I put any time into it.

And BTW, if you had gone to... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And BTW, if you had gone to google news and googled Cholera Outbreak you have found it is all over the middle east this summer...

Over 200 people have died in India alone... How is George Bush responsible for that?

Larkin and Lee, a matched p... (Below threshold)
U.P. Man:

Larkin and Lee, a matched pair in burnt out light bulbs. So afraid of light shining on their darkness they label all who disagree with them troll and ban them.

Larkin, if the original story stated that phosgene was found in the UN building that is enough to comment on.

Okay, now I'm laughing, Pau... (Below threshold)

Okay, now I'm laughing, Paul. Larkin needed that. Instead, he spent his time over there yucking it up with Lee while they pat each other on the back.

Since these "vials" were discovered in the offices of those who were involved in the disarmament of Iraq, it's quite possible that they brought these vials back thinking themselves that they contained phosgene and there was no "clerical" error.

Larkin, if I was so wrong, ... (Below threshold)

Larkin, if I was so wrong, why did you wait a week before challenging me? Why didn't you speak up earlier?

I'll tell you why. Because I posted on the best information available, and it wasn't until new facts emerged -- a week later -- that you felt comfortable challenging me.

That's your modus operandi, Larkin. Wait until postings are OBE'd (Overtaken By Events), then snark at the now-outdated piece and point all the details that have been proven mistaken.

That's called "hindsight," Larkin. It's kind of like reading the last pages of a mystery to see who the killer is, then mocking those who don't cheat when they talk about the book and speculate about the ending.

I can see why you spend so much time committing hindsight, Larkin. When one has one's head as far up one's ass as you do, looking backwards comes naturally.

And thanks, Paul. Your role as our in-house asshole is secure, and I'm relieved you only use your powers for good.

J.

>they pat each other on the... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>they pat each other on the back.

ahem... you're a little north.

>And thanks, Paul. Your role as our in-house asshole is secure, and I'm relieved you only use your powers for good.

any time.

BTW Larkin, you're banned f... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW Larkin, you're banned from commenting on any of my posts until you print a retraction.

The UN breaks our laws tram... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

The UN breaks our laws tramples our liberties and sneers in our face its time to boot them out they have become unwelcome house guests

i've wondered for some time... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

i've wondered for some time if larkin is not, in fact, an Iranian dis-information specialist. if you look at the history of his posts, it would certainly explain a lot

ke_future, Occam's Razor s... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

ke_future, Occam's Razor suggests something less exotic, like being an asshat.

Larkin:Meanwhi... (Below threshold)
marc:

Larkin:

Meanwhile, Lee has turned up this:

The only thing Lee is capable of turning up are rational people's noses as they come within 10 miles of the tripe he writes.

And I feel so diiiirty! I've joined Larkin in getting banned.

Of course I was banned for speaking something remotely close to the truth and pointing out his use of a "dirty word" that others have been banned for.

Larkin....may I suggest you borrow that chinese made scooter fellow blueeee Hoonson has?

Maybe if you take a similar tumble as he did you might drive a bit of common sense into your concrete skull.

But I won't hold out hope.




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