Weapons of Mass Unconventionality
American intelligence agencies and presidential commissions long ago concluded that Saddam Hussein had no unconventional weapons and no substantive ties to Al Qaeda before the 2003 invasion.The term unconventional weapon is not uncommon, especially in the last three years, but it usually refers to novel uses of explosives and unusual delivery systems.
Nuclear weapons can hardly be considered unconventional. They've been around for 60 years; Almost a dozen countries, with more to come, can be considered nuclear-armed states; The US alone has over 12,000 deployed warheads (down from a high of over 30,000). Likewise, to hear the administration tell it, countries the world over are cranking out biological and chemical agents--there again, hardly unconventional.
So what's with this semantic shift? Is the Times just getting sloppy? Is the administration using new language--rhetorically softening us up for a broader definition the circumstances necessary for a preemptive US strike?
Launching stinky wheels of Brie from a catapult might be considered "unconventional". Weapons of mass destruction...no so much. I'd say something "unconventional" is going on here...
Thanks to Graeme Anfinson at HNDBUITB for the inspiration and for his excellent analysis of how the right are using these same documents to bolster arguments and connections that the administration currently disavows.