This past Sunday, I saw my best friend and his bride for dinner with me and my wife. My best friend tends to be more on the conservative or at least Republican side of things, while I started our friendship over twenty years ago as a raging liberal and have gradually moved more to the center. Aging, 9/11 and the realization that both parties have done precious little over the past twenty years to address our biggest problems will do that to a guy.
Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that politics tends to be my more bag than my best friend’s. But, I do respect his opinion and value getting his POV as it often differs from mine and helps me check my own beliefs.
Over dinner, he rocked my world. He busted out that he met some guy at a barbecue earlier in the day that told him all about 500 tons of Iraqi yellow cake uranium that had been discovered and was being moved out of Iraq. According to my friend’s new friend and the blog (this will be important in a few moments) that he showed him on his laptop, this was all a shocking case of the often referenced “liberal media bias” in action. The original story, according to the barbecue laptop guy, was reported in July, yet the media (who ever they are these days) hadn’t made a big deal about it. My best pal asked me if I’d heard about it. I had not.
Hmmmmm…. Here was the smoking gun. They found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no one was reporting it. Bush was vindicated. The Iraq War was justified. Wow, maybe I owe our President a big apology I thought.
After drafting an apology letter to the president, I thought better of it and did some digging. After a quick web search, I think the guy who told my pal about the 500 tons of uranium was off base on a few things. The reason the media didn’t make this the top story of the year was twofold:
1 – it’s an old story. The yellow cake uranium in question has been known to be in Saddam’s possession since the 1980s. And none of it dates from after the First Gulf War. So, it’s not the smoking gun that proves that Bush was right to invade Iraq. Saddam had the stuff in his possession & we knew about it for over 20 years. If it wasn’t dangerous enough for us to oust Saddam in the 80s or under the first and wiser President Bush, than what would make it a justification for the second Iraq War?
2 – The US wanted to keep the movement of the material as secret as possible. Apparently, we were concerned that if it was widely known that we were moving it out of Iraq that extremists might target it. The US Government didn’t want this to be a big story.
By searching the net, I found reporting on the material over the years. So, the media has in fact been reporting it. It just isn’t a big story cause of the two reasons listed above. I know many people believe there’s a liberal media bias (despite the dominance of conservative talk radio & Fox News) but this just is not a case of liberal media bias.
In fact, the Bush Administration was trying to build the case that Saddam was trying to buy more uranium as a justification for the war. That has to date not been proven.
Below is a link to a good article on the uranium in question from MSNBC and I also pasted the most relevant excerpt if you are pressed for time.
Totally cop to the charge that MSNBC is (as a business decision for their cable channel) featuring more and more liberal commentary (Keith Obermann, Rachel Maddow, etc). But, I still take them to be credible for general reporting when it’s not commentary. Keep in mind MSNBC is owned by GE & Microsoft not exactly bleeding heart liberal hippies…
Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam’s nuclear efforts.Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.
If none of this convinces you that the guy at the barbecue was off base, then ask yourself this. If this was such a big story & vindicated Bush for this war, than why isn’t he out there saying so?
I would have attached a link to the blog my friend saw at the barbecue, but I don’t know what it was.
On a related note, seems to me this blogosphere (if that’s what we blogging nerds are calling) is at once one of the greatest aids to democracy in the world and at the same time one of the greatest threats. Fact is any yahoo can start a blog (like I did). I make no claim to be an expert and try hard to let readers know when I’m guessing at or assuming something. I am by no means perfect. So, if you read this blog, PLEASE fact check me and let me know when I’m off base. It’s the least we can do as modern day Americans.
It’s tough to know these days what’s fact and what’s some guy or gal’s wacked out opinion. At least that’s my take…