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In the face of compelling evidence, why does the media still deny the existence of WMD? June 26, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.

The media has largely ignored the discovery of WMD in Iraq- except to imply that it is not “new news.” Keith Olbermann on MSNBC declared that the claims were false. The Philadelphia Inquirer also dismissed the discovery as false. The Philadelphia Daily News asked “Why is Santorum beating a dead story” and called the statement “controversial – and wrong.”

Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra published an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal about the discovery of WMD and their efforts to declassify enough information in order to educate the American people on this threat:

On Wednesday, at our request, the director of national intelligence declassified six “key points” from a National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) report on the recovery of chemical munitions in Iraq. The summary was only a small snapshot of the entire report, but even so, it brings new information to the American people. “Since 2003,” the summary states, “Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent,” which remains “hazardous and potentially lethal.” So there are WMDs in Iraq, and they could kill Americans there or all over the world.

Despite this information, many in the media continue to insist that the inconclusive Duelfer report was the final word on WMD in Iraq. For example, an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday used the Duelfer report in order to discredit the discovery of WMD (my comments inline):

…the report, while noting Hussein’s leftover chemical weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, does nothing to undercut the assertion of U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer in November 2004 that Hussein had no active chemical weapons program at the time U.S. troops invaded in 2003. It suggested the weapons had been produced before the 1991 Gulf War. (papundit: If I follow this argument correctly, the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Hussein was not a threat in 2003 since there is no proof he was actively producing chemical weapons at the time. This logic is faulty. If Hussein stopped producing chemical weapons, does that mean he is no longer a threat? Hussein had no need to produce new chemical weapons since he had not destroyed his entire pre-91 stockpile. The discovery of those WMD shows that Hussein was a threat since he could have sold his existing stockpile of chemical weapons to terrorists or used them to harm the US or its allies. To imply otherwise is dishonest.)

Santorum and Hoekstra address the media accusations that this is “not new news” (my bolds):

On Thursday, Mr. Negroponte’s office arranged a press briefing by unnamed intelligence officials to downplay the significance of the report, calling it “not new news” even as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was reiterating the obvious importance of the information: “What has been announced is accurate, that there have been hundreds of canisters or weapons of various types found that either currently have sarin in them or had sarin in them, and sarin is dangerous. And it’s dangerous to our forces. . . . They are weapons of mass destruction. They are harmful to human beings. And they have been found. . . . And they are still being found and discovered.”

In fact, the public knows relatively little about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Indeed, we do not even know what is known or unknown. Charles Duelfer, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, stated that the ISG had fully evaluated less than 0.25% of the more than 10,000 weapons caches known to exist throughout Iraq. It follows that the American people should be brought up to date frequently on our state of knowledge of this important matter. That is why we asked that the entire document be declassified, minus the exact sources, methods and locations. It is also, in part, why we have fought for the declassification of hundreds of thousands of Saddam-era documents.

The media can normally be counted on to argue for the declassification of documents, so their silence on this issue is uncharacteric. The New York Times has shown a willingness to leak classified information even when it harms national security, so why isn’t the New York Times and all the other media naysayers on WMD pushing to declassify the documents and to learn the truth on WMD? Can’t they handle the truth? Or are they afraid it would shatter their “Bush lied, People died” worldview?



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