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Democracy Now! (more than ever)

Any regular NPR listeners who are looking for an alternative to the relentless, uncritical review(s) of the Reagan years this week may want to check out Democracy Now! In the Seattle area, the show is aired from 6-7 am and 5-6 pm on KBCS (91.3 FM); other stations and times can be found on the Democracy Now! web site. Although I didn't hear it on the radio, an article on their special "Remembering the Dead" section talks about "The Saddam in Rumsfeld's Closet." It appears that, at least during the Reagan administration, Donald Rumsfeld was more concerned about the threat of Islam than the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

The article concludes with the following summary:

In 1984, Donald Rumsfeld was in a position to draw the world's attention to Saddam's chemical threat. He was in Baghdad as the UN concluded that chemical weapons had been used against Iran. He was armed with a fresh communication from the State Department that it had "available evidence" Iraq was using chemical weapons. But Rumsfeld said nothing.

Washington now speaks of Saddam's threat and the consequences of a failure to act. Despite the fact that the administration has failed to provide even a shred of concrete proof that Iraq has links to Al Qaeda or has resumed production of chemical or biological agents, Rumsfeld insists that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

But there is evidence of the absence of Donald Rumsfeld's voice at the very moment when Iraq's alleged threat to international security first emerged. And in this case, the evidence of absence is indeed evidence.

I'm amazed that more than half (57%) of Americans believe that "before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda". I wonder how many would believe that "during the Reagan administration, the US provided substantial support to Saddam Hussein" and that Donald Rumsfeld played a key role in this support.

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