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William Fisher: Cyberspin


By William Fisher

It's a pity that all the Bush Administration cabinet-level posts have been filled, because there is at least one undiscovered candidate: The White House Webmaster.

I discovered his work yesterday while surfing the web. Here's a sample: Under the heading "Disarm Saddam Hussein", the surfer will find this text:

"The gravest danger we face in the war on terror is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm all weapons of mass destruction. For 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement.

"Three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam his final chance to disarm. He has shown his utter contempt for the U.N.

"The U.N. and U.S. intelligence sources have known for some time that Saddam Hussein has materials to produce chemical and biological weapons, but he has not accounted for them:

* 26,000 liters of anthrax—enough to kill several million people

* 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin

* 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agents

* Almost 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents

"From three Iraqi defectors, we know that Iraq in the late 1990s had several mobile biological weapons labs. But he has not disclosed them.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, a design for a nuclear weapon, and was working on methods of enriching uranium for a nuclear bomb. He recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, according to the British Government. He has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons, according to our intelligence sources. Yet he has not credibly explained these activities.

"Thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the UN inspectors.

"Iraqi officials accompany all inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses. Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the U.N.

"Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with the UN be killed, along with their families.

"Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including al-Qaida members. He could provide hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

"The United States will ask the UN Security Council to convene next week to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. We will consult. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm, we will act for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world."

But while this Webmaster is obviously gifted, he's not entitled to all the credit. In all fairness, a lot of it needs to go to those wonderful folks who gave us "the mushroom cloud" and other utterances designed to scare us into war. These would surely include Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Feith, Ms. Rice, and the rest of the Administration's coterie of imperators.

You may not think what's on the White House website is important, but you' re wrong. Millions of people visit this oasis of spin and depend on it for reliable information. Like the stockpiles of anthrax, botulinum toxin, mustard and VX nerve agents, and munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.

Like the mobile biological weapons labs, the advanced nuclear weapons development program, the design for a nuclear weapon, the enrichment of uranium for a nuclear bomb, the significant quantities of uranium he was trying to buy from Africa, and his high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons.

And we shouldn't ignore Saddam's protection of terrorists, including al-Qaida members.

In an organization as large as The White House, I suppose that breakdowns in communications are inevitable from time to time. But it's now time someone told The White House Webmaster that his material is just a tad outdated, superseded by the reports of Dr. Kay, Mr. Duelfer, and the 9/11 Commission. But all is not lost for the Webmaster. I can't think of a more deserving recipient of the next Medal of Honor.


William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development, and served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy administration. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BILL FISHER

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