One Month After 9/11, McCain Said Anthrax ‘May Have Come From Iraq,’ Warned Iraq Is ‘The Second Phase’»
Today, the LA Times reports that the individual who may have been responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others apparently committed suicide. As Atrios recalls, shortly after 9/11, conservatives were pinning the blame for the anthrax attacks on Iraq, laying the groundwork for a subsequent invasion. John McCain was part of this fearmongering effort.
On October 18, 2001, McCain appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. When asked how the war in Afghanistan was progressing, McCain volunteered that the invasion of Iraq would be the “second phase” of the War on Terror. He preyed on the public’s fear at the time by claiming that the anthrax “may have come from Iraq”:
LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?
MCCAIN: I think we’re doing fine …. I think we’ll do fine. The second phase is Iraq. 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 will have to be made.
From Atrios' blog, Eschaton:
"The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to
secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from
a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro
way before most people had ever heard of it."--Richard Cohen
"Years later it apparently does not occur to American's Funniest Pundit to ask why a "high government official" was warning media figures to start popping Cipro in the aftermath of 9/11. I can see why, at the time, the obvious interpretation would be that there was intelligence about possible biological attacks. But now that we know that the US gov't believes that anthrax came from the inside, shouldn't Cohen be a wee bit curious about what this warning was based on?"--Atrios