COLUMN EIGHTY-FIVE, FEBRUARY 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE SO-CALLED IRAQI 'WARHEADS'
A LETTER TO CNN'S STAFF
From: William Rivers Pitt,
Author "War on Iraq"
To: Staff / Aaron Brown CNN
Subject: Flawed Report; Iraqi Warheads Found
Date: Thurs 16 Jan 2003
My name is William Rivers
Pitt. I am the author of the book War on Iraq, which has appeared on the
New York Times bestseller list, and has cracked the top ten bestseller
lists of the Washington Post, L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle
and others. I am also a writer for the publication truthout.org.
I apologize for flouting my
resume at you, but I wanted to make sure that you do not dismiss this email as
coming from someone not very well versed in this Iraq situation. A correspondent
named (name deleted) at CNN gave me your address, so that I might pass a note
through you to Mr. Aaron Brown. I am hoping he
is prepared to hear what I am saying.
First things first: The
Let's be clear. These were
not "chemical warheads." In the Iraqi arsenal, a warhead is a warhead---an
empty ordnance space strapped to a missile. What matters is the payload, be it
explosive or chemical or nuclear. The item placed in the warhead denotes the
designation. These warheads were stone-cold empty, so by definition they are not
"chemical warheads." They are, in fact, nothing, because they were loaded
with no payload. Furthermore, the word "warhead? is in itself misleading, as
these were artillery munitions.
Second. Iraq is allowed by UN resolutions to have a variety of weapons, including the Al Samoud missile. We did not want to pull Iraq's fangs completely after the Gulf War, considering the
neighborhood they live in.
We allowed them to keep missiles that fly only a certain distance (150km most
often). Many people will not know this, and will think the presence of these
munitions will represent a breach of the UN resolution. This is not the case.
Third. Scott Ritter
informed me today that these munitions were part of Iraq's declaration last
December. I await further confirmation of this, and so should the journalism
Fourth. This is absolutely
a vindication of the inspections regime. They found the stuff, and it will be
destroyed, and no American soldiers or Iraqi civilians died in the process.
Fifth. Recall how the
UNSCOM inspections were undermined by meddling from the American intelligence
community. Understand that this warhead story did not come from Blix, or through
the normal channels, but through a Japanese (read: close ally) inspector
contacted the news media and let rip before the facts were in hand. Why?
Finally, I want to address
a comment you made earlier this week. You said on your show that it was
unconscionable that viewers were writing in claiming that CNN wants war because
war is good for the media business. I understand that this idea offends the core
of your professionalism, but I wonder if you have been watching CNN today.
Your station has referred,
over and over again, to these discovered warheads as "chemical warheads."
The debate has not been centered on what the facts are behind these items - when
they were made, whether they were loaded with anything, how long they have been
there, whether they were declared---and instead has focused on whether the White
House can use this as a pretext for war. Calling these things "chemical
warheads? is a gross exaggeration, which I have heard on CNN no less than
seven times during the period I have been writing this message. Mull that.
Please, take the data I
have given you and air it, for the sake of a reasoned and complete debate. I
remind you that CNN's viewership increased by 500% after 9/11 and that your
network made its bones on the first Gulf War. I beg you to get this data out to
the American people, who desperately need facts and not overheated innuendo.
With great appreciation,
William Rivers Pitt
(Copyright " : t r u t h o u t 2002) ##
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