17 November, 2011

"Seal Team Geronimo" is a big fat lie

Can I be any more clear about this? The sources suck, the analysis is self-serving, and the conclusions--particularly in regard to WMD--are insupportable.
Or let's get another opinion--from Danger Room:
Author Chuck Pfarrer is taking flack over his account of the Osama bin Laden raid in his new revisionist history, SEAL Target Geronimo. But that’s overshadowed another big problem with the book: Pfarrer’s claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are absolutely bananas.
To read SEAL Target Geronimo is to get sucked into a vortex of WMD insanity. Pfarrer says that Saddam Hussein had dangerous, active chemical, biological and nuclear programs up until the day of his downfall. Worse, those weapons made it into the hands of Osama himself. Why didn’t you know about it? Because craven politicians and the lying media hid the truth about what U.S. military weapons experts uncovered.
Well, sorry, Charlie. I was one of those military experts in Iraq. I learned the full, underwhelming truth about Saddam’s programs because I was there to help the Iraqis settle the issue once and for all. And SEAL Target Geronimo’s claims are the literary equivalent of a smoking gun that could have been a mushroom cloud — a paranoid, evidence-free fantasy, fueled by ignorance.
Start with all that Iraqi WMD that U.S. forces found. Pfarrer gasps over an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit’s 2003 discovery of an artillery shell filled with the nerve agent sarin, part of an early homemade bomb. To Pfarrer, that bomb would have “spread a mortal, invisible cloud over a dozen city blocks” where “death would have come quickly for ten thousand Iraqi civilians living near the airport and three thousand coalition troops stationed at nearby Camp Victory.” If two of those sarin-laced bombs went off in a crowded football stadium, it would have caused more casualties than “those suffered by the United States during the entire Vietnam War.” His emphasis.
Absolutely none of this is plausible. You’re talking about a piece of steel that needs to survive being fired out of an artillery piece, and then burst apart by explosives in order to disseminate the chemicals inside. Much of the chemical material is destroyed in the process. And it would take a lot of sarin to achieve any deadly effect. Saddam’s vicious gassing of the Kurds at Halabja in March 1988, for example, was a coordinated military campaign lasting for two days. During that time, the Iraqis murdered up to 5,000 people — nowhere near Pfarrer’s stadium scenario. An actual chemical artillery round might — might — kill dozens. Not thousands.
This sounds a lot more plausible to me. If the rest of the book is as inaccurate as this--and so far as I've seen, it seems to be--I can only wonder about the agendas of those promoting and publishing it.

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