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There he goes again

In his crusade against Howell Raines and the New York Times, Andrew Sullivan today includes the following tidbit:

"RAINES WATCH: From the Washington Post:

'Report Warns Iraq Could Produce Nuclear Weapons

LONDON, Sept. 9--Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon 'in a matter of months' if supplied fissile materials from an outside source, according to a report released here today. Saddam Hussein's government also has an extensive biological weapons capability, a smaller chemical weapons stockpile and a small supply of missiles to deliver them, the report concluded.'

From the Raines Times:

'London Group Says Iraq Lacks Nuclear Material for Bomb

LONDON, Sept. 9 Saddam Hussein has substantial stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and the capacity to expand production of them on short notice, but Iraq will be unable to build a nuclear weapon for years unless it obtains radioactive material on the black market, a leading security affairs research organization said today.'"

Sullivan is implying that: (1) The Washington Post's story is more accurate and objective, and (2) That the New York Times story, guided by Raines's hand, is dishonestly attempting to sway popular opinion against the United States's impending battle against Iraq. Sullivan trusts at face-value the Post story that Iraq's nuclear capability is, perhaps, mere months away.

However, if one looks at the actual report and supporting documents from which both the Post and the Times wrote their stories, we read: "Iraq does not possess facilities to produce fissile material in sufficient amounts for nuclear weapons.... It would require several years and extensive foreign assistance to build such fissile material production facilities.... It could, however, assemble nuclear weapons within months if fissile material from foreign sources were obtained," and "but it would be more difficult to acquire foreign materials, equipment and components without detection."

It seems, that while the Post story was basically accurate, the Times summarized the group's findings a bit better and more fully. Maybe Raines, in fact, does know what he's doing.

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