Just the facts, ma’am

Michael Ventura, in the Austin Chronicle:

Powell claimed that one photo was of a lab for chemical and biological weapons — a “poison factory” he called it, run by “al Qaeda affiliates” in northern Iraq. Three days later reporters found their way to that camp and saw “structures that did not have plumbing and had only the limited electricity supplied by a generator” (The New York Times, Feb. 9). Can an effective laboratory (much less a factory) be managed without running water? Ask your local druggist or high school chemistry teacher.

The day after his testimony, a congressional committee asked Powell why a supposedly known al Qaeda camp was still operating in northern Iraq, where American jets have pummeled other sites? “Neither Powell nor other administration officials answered the question,” (NY Times, Feb. 7). But Fox News is not about to repeat that fact over and over and over.

On Feb. 7 it was revealed that the British report Powell had quoted to the UN (praising it as “a fine paper,” an “up-to-date and unsettling assessment”) was actually a pastiche culled from academic journals, two of which were published in 1997, “about the activities of Iraqi intelligence in Kuwait in 1990 and 1991” (NY Times, Feb. 8). The author who’d been plagiarized, Al-Marishi, noted, “Had they consulted me, I could have provided them with more up-dated information.”