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July 3, 2004
Post's Pincus Spinning Like A Top

Walter Pincus keeps spinning the news for the Washington Post any way possible to make sure that the liberal meme stays afloat, and today provides a clear example of his efforts. Under the headline "Chemicals Not Found in Iraq Warheads," readers find out this in the third paragraph that Pincus negates his own lede:

Sixteen rocket warheads found last week in south-central Iraq by Polish troops did not contain deadly chemicals, a coalition spokesman said yesterday, but U.S. and Polish officials agreed that insurgents loyal to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorist fighters are trying to buy such old weapons or purchase the services of Iraqi scientists who know how to make them.

The Coalition Press Information Center in Baghdad said in a statement yesterday that the 122-milimeter rocket rounds, which initially showed traces of sarin, "were all empty and tested negative for any type of chemicals." The statement came just hours after two senior Polish defense officials told reporters in Warsaw, based on preliminary reports, that the rocket rounds contained deadly sarin and that actions by the Polish unit in Iraq kept them from being purchased by militants fighting coalition forces.

Yesterday's coalition release also said that two other 122-milimeter rounds, found by the Poles on June 16 with help from an Iraqi informer, tested positive for small quantities of sarin but were "so deteriorated" that they would have had "limited to no impact if used by insurgents against coalition forces."

So after leading his article with the lack of chemical weapons in 16 shells, it takes Pincus and the Post two more paragraphs to inform readers that two shells did contain WMD. Although the chemicals had deteriorated, their discovery again demonstrates that Saddam did not destroy his chemical weapons stocks after the first Gulf War.

In fact, most of the rest of the article goes into detail about the fears of the Coalition that terrorists will either find more chemical weapons or the scientists that produced them, although without the proper facilities for manufacture, their expertise may just wind up being theoretical. The article spends so much time on this that it begs the question of why Pincus led with the unremarkable information that the Poles found sixteen conventional rockets instead, and why the Post's editors wrote such a misleading headline.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 3, 2004 9:49 AM

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Tracked on July 4, 2004 2:27 PM

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