Remember the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001? The unsolved anthrax attacks? DarkSyde, the fine science writer at Daily Kos, raises the issue today. He also references a post at AmericaBlog. I blogged about this a few months ago here.
The elephant in the room that nobody talks about today and scarcely seems to remember is anthrax — specifically the attacks in the fall of 2001 that brought the U.S. Postal Service to its knees and traumatized not only the American public but their targets in the news media and in Congress. That's really when everything changed and fear became a driving force in our political life in a way it had not since the nuclear hysteria of the early cold war. It was the fear of anthrax, not nukes, that gave Colin Powell's presentation to the UN what credibility it had. It was fear of anthrax, more than anything else, that drove us into Iraq. The FBI eventually said the strain of anthrax used in the attacks came from U.S. weapons labs, the perpetrator has never been caught and — theoretically — could strike again, but the entire country acts as if this were unimportant, not worthy of discussion. Strange. We're probably still afraid. It's time we started talking about it.It's entirely possible that Iraq would never have happened without this "little" extra bit of terrorism. All the other flimsy parts of the rationale might have collapsed of their own weight -- but the anthrax really terrified people, so much so that we've engaged in a collective, repressed amnesia ever since. Remember, Colin Powell told the UN -- and the world -- that Saddam had truckloads of this stuff.
How quickly we forget.
We'll probably never be able to sort out what really happened and whodunit. But we should at least discuss the crucial role it played in the buildup to the war.