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2001-10-22

As US Officials Blame Iraq for Anthrax, a Look at US and Western Support for Iraq’s Biological and Chemical Weapons Program and for Iraq’s Invasion of Iran

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The anthrax scare is expanding, and hardliners in the Bush Administration are using the threat to press for expanding the so-called war on terrorism to include Iraq.

Last week, government officials reported that the form of anthrax sent to Senator Tom Daschle was in highly potent form, capable of transmitting undetected through the air.

President Bush is in Shanghai in an attempt to shore up support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan. At a joint news conference, President Jiang said the U.S. air war in Afghanistan must be aimed at clearly defined targets to "avoid innocent casualties." President Bush said afterwards "President Jiang and the government stand side by side with the American people as we fight this evil force."

This means that whoever is responsible has access to considerable scientific expertise. Producing germs that can spread as a mist has been the main technical challenge facing biological weapons programs throughout the 20th century.

But intelligence sources involved with the CIA and the Defense Department are taking a step further, claiming that the technical expertise suggests a state sponsor, and naming Iraq as a prime suspect.

And everyone from hawks in the Bush Administration to Congressional Democrats are publicizing the claim, shoring up support for a possible attack on Iraq.

Guests:

  • Edward Peck, former Ambassador to Iraq
  • John Tirman, Social Science Research Council, author of Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America’s Arms Trade

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