Monday, February 10, 2003

Novak's main argument
Given Saddam's proven record in the use of such weapons, and given his recognized contempt for international law, only an imprudent or even foolhardy statesman could trust that these two forces [Saddam and the terrorists] will stay apart forever. At any time they could combine, in secret, to murder tens of thousands of innocent and unsuspecting citizens.
This seems like basing a decision to go to war simply on speculation, especially in view of Novak's own statement that the likelihood of such a combination could be between 2 and 8 on a scale of 10.
Somewhere between 0 and 10, in other words, there already is a probability of Saddam's deadly weapons falling into al Qaeda's willing hands. (There are also other branches of the international terror network). Reasonable observers can disagree about whether that risk is at 2 or 4 or 8. But this much is clear: Those who judge that the risk is low, and therefore allow Saddam to remain in power, will bear a horrific responsibility if they guessed wrong, and acts of destruction do occur.
Yet, Novak's point become much more pointed when one considers the following:.
With less than a teaspoon of anthrax distributed in letters, for instance, thousands of government workers in Washington were obliged to be screened and preventively treated for anthrax poisoning, one Senate office building was closed for many weeks for decontamination, two post-office workers died, and many others fell ill for some time.

Saddam Hussein has failed to account for more than 5,000 liters — five million teaspoons — of anthrax which he is known to have possessed just a few years ago.

This does not include the thousands of liters of botulin and other forms of biological weapons, including nerve gas and sarin gas, reported by U.N. inspectors to have been present in his arsenals. Nor does it include the stockpiles of mustard gas the U.N. reported in his possession. "Mustard gas is not like marmalade," Hans Blix famously announced in January. "Governments must know exactly where it is, and what is done with every container of it." It is a deadly gas.
Until Saddam give these up or accounts for them, I think war is just.

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