In light of the suicide today of US Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins, the eccentric kook about to be charged with initiating the anthrax-spore mailings targeting liberal politicians and members of the media such as Tom Brokaw, that killed five people and sickened 17 others, let’s take a little stroll down memory lane and see what Johnny Mac had to say at the time, shall we:
Letterman: How are things going in Afghanistan now?
McCain: I think we’re doing fine …. I think we’ll do fine. The second phase — if I could just make one, very quickly — the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don’t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may – and I emphasize may – have come from Iraq.
Letterman: Oh is that right?
McCain: If that should be the case, that’s when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.
As Glenn Greenwald notes:
It was really the anthrax letters — with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 — that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax — sent directly into the heart of the country’s elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets — that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.
So what the hell good was all of John McCain’s vaunted “experience” and purportedly superior “judgment” about matters of war and foreign policy given that he not only boldly predicted complete victory in Afghanistan back in 2001 with no apparent regard for the “generational conflict” and multi-billion dollar “nation-building” exercise to come, but also glibly cast Iraq as being the “second phase” of that effort and recklessly made premature speculations that helped contribute to the Bush administration’s fear-mongering surrounding the anthrax scare that formed part of the groundwork for the subsequent invasion?