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Only his hairdresser knows for sure

So, are they or aren't they? Ten or so missiles have been fired at Kuwait since the Gulf War restarted last week, and people keep debating what kind of missiles they are.

Kuwaiti officials have said some of the missiles were banned Scud missiles. But U.S. and British officials say they did not think the missiles were Scuds.
That's interesting. Why are the US and British downplaying Iraqi actions, while the Kuwaitis are quick to accuse Iraq of violating UN sanctions? I assume the Kuwaitis are eager to justify to their fellow Arab countries that their support for the war is justified. But what's the motivation of the U.S.? Is it just because the US was burned over the Niger-uranium documents? Because the U.S. is suddenly being very circumspect:
GEN. FRANKS: Right. I think the -- I'll do my best. I think that we probably have received, oh, several handfuls of bits of information over the last three or four days about potential WMD locations. Some of them -- some of those locations are in areas where we have control, some we have not yet gone into. I think Secretary Rumsfeld gave the right appreciation yesterday when he said -- you know, we were then four days, we're now five days into this. And we're concerned about taking down this regime and about getting our hands on all these weapons of mass destruction and these technologies. And it's a bit early for us to have an expectation of having found them. And so, this is work we call SSE, sensitive site exploitation. And we will do some sensitive site exploitation as we go along and we'll do other sensitive site exploitation a bit later in the campaign. Best I can do.

Q: May I follow up just on the chemical plant, sir?


Q: Can you confirm that there were no chemicals found at that plant?

GEN. FRANKS: Actually, I can't confirm. I will say that it would -- it would not surprise me if there were chemicals in the plant, and it would not surprise me there weren't. And the reason I say that is because I have access to something that -- of course, that none of you do, and that is all of these bits of information that come in. And more times than not, they'll be based on speculation rather than based on first-hand knowledge. I think it was -- someone mentioned in the past two or three days, when you get very close to WMD is when you're able to discuss with the people who have actually been involved in the WMD program. And so we'll just -- we'll wait for the days head.

So, did this find turn out to be a dud? Or is it such a great discovery that we want to announce it dramatically to the world at just the right moment? Or, alternatively, perhaps it's mixed: maybe there are no substances stored at the site, but there are incriminating documents which need to be carefully studied.


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Comments (1)

Gary Collard:

My guess is that downplaying of this and the chemical factory (perhaps obsolete, but then why guarded by generals?) is in a hope, now looking pretty remote, that Saddam will not use banned weapons as that would turn even his allies in France against him (but not Chomsky or Sontag). Now that it appears that he will use chemical weapons that the anti-war left insisted he did not have, that subtle strategy looks hopeless, but I understand it.,


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