The Corner

The Sarin Shuffle

At this point I’m open to the notion that the sarin shell means nothing. But it really does seem that a great number of people are not open to the idea that it means something. Good points from Collin Levey:

We felt a little like we’d fallen down a rabbit hole this week on hearing that an artillery shell that tested positive for sarin had been discovered in a roadside bomb in Baghdad. It wasn’t the nasty stuff itself that was curious — as Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld intimated, some stray chemical munitions could signify any number of things, or not much at all. The extraordinary part was the tizzy the media and various noteworthies were in to discount it.

It hadn’t been but a few hours since the news broke when former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix grabbed a microphone somewhere to huff that the discovery meant nothing. Others briskly offered that the shell was more likely the bounty of a scavenger hunt by yahoos who didn’t even know what they had.

Fair enough to be sure: At this point, none of us knows. But even forgetting the potency of one drop of liquid sarin, when did the prospect of the accidental use of loose WMDs become reassuring?

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