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From: TomDispatch <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 12:13 PM
Subject: [TD] Tomgram: Six Questions about the Anthrax Case
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Tomgram: Six Questions about the Anthrax Case

[*A TomDispatch recommendation:* *Bill Moyers had Andrew Bacevich on his
"Journal" for an hour Friday night, discussing his new book, The Limits of
Power (which is now the number one bestseller at It was nothing
short of a tutorial for the American people on the three-pronged crisis that
faces us -- economic, political, and military. Believe me, it's not to be
missed and can still be watched at Moyers's website by clicking
Make sure as well to check out Bacevich's two-part series on the American
military crisis, excerpted from his book, which appeared at TomDispatch last
week: "Illusions of
Perpetual War Our

Double Standards in the Global War on Terror *Anthrax Department*
By Tom Engelhardt

Oh, the spectacle of it all -- and don't think I'm referring to those
opening ceremonies in Beijing, where North Korean-style synchronization
seemed to fuse with smiley-faced Walt Disney, or Michael Phelp's thrilling
hunt for eight gold medals *and* Speedo's one million dollar
modernized tribute to the ancient Greek tradition of amateurism in
No, I'm thinking of the blitz of media coverage after Dr. Bruce Ivins, who
worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at
Fort Detrick, Maryland, committed suicide by Tylenol on July 29th and the
FBI promptly accused him of the anthrax attacks of September and October

You remember them: the powder that, innocuously enough, arrived by envelope
-- giving *going postal* a new meaning -- accompanied by hair-raising
dated "09-11-01" that said, "Death to America. Death to Israel.
Allah is great." Five Americans would die from anthrax inhalation and 17
would be injured. The Hart Senate Office Building, along with various postal
facilities, would be shut down for months of clean-up, while media companies
that received the envelopes were thrown into chaos.

For a nation already terrified by the attacks of September 11, 2001, the
thought that a brutal dictator with weapons of mass destruction (who might
even have turned<>the
anthrax over to the terrorists) was ready to do us greater harm
undoubtedly helped<>pave
the way for an invasion of Iraq. The President would even claim that
Saddam Hussein had the ability to send unmanned aerial vehicles to
or chemical weapons over the east coast of the United States
(drones that, like Saddam's nuclear program, would turn out not to

Today, it's hard even to recall just how terrifying those anthrax attacks
were. According to a LexisNexis
between Oct. 4 and Dec. 4, 2001, 389 stories appeared in the *New York Times
* with "anthrax" in the headline. In that same period, 238 such stories
appeared in the *Washington Post*. That's the news equivalent of an
unending, high-pitched scream of horror -- and from those attacks would
emerge an American world of hysteria involving orange alerts and
and finally a war, lest any of this stuff, or anything faintly like it, fall
into the hands of terrorists.

And yet, by the end of 2001, it had become clear that, despite the
accompanying letters, the anthrax in those envelopes was from a domestically
produced strain. It was neither from the backlands of Afghanistan nor from
Baghdad, but -- almost certainly -- from our own military bio-weapons labs.
At that point, the anthrax killings essentially vanished... Poof!... while
9/11 only gained traction as the singular event of our times.

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