Under-Secretary of State John

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Under-Secretary of State John R. Bolton recently accused Cuba of developing and proliferating Weapons of Mass Destruction, specifically offensive biological weapons. Today Secretary of State Colin Powell most tepidly endorsed Bolton’s claim by telling Russian TV that “we know that Cuba has been doing some research with respect to biological offensive weapons possibly, and so we think that it is appropriate for us to point out this kind of activity.”

‘possibly’ … ‘with respect to’… you get the picture.

There is a slender hint of credibility to this charge since Cuba is known to have a pretty advanced biotech industry and that includes the equipment and know-how you’d want for creating bioweapons. But I’m going on the assumption that the claim is essentially bogus, and Powell’s statement today, to my ears, tends to confirm this. This statement doesn’t sound like it’s about WMD. It sounds like it’s about pandering to anti-Castro nut-cases. (Sorry for the blunt language, but …)

Anyway, there’s a price to pay for this kind of foolishness. The United States is trying to make the case that the Iraqi government really is developing WMD and really is a seriously threat to global security and really should be overthrown. I am rather in spite of myself coming to the conclusion that they’re right. But if Saddam really is dangerous then there’s a very high priority in marshaling and protecting our credibility and believability in making our case against him. Playing games and saying the Fidel Castro is another Saddam isn’t tough, it’s stupid. And it endangers the United States. Because it weakens us in our ability to make the case against actual bad actors.

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