Although the world is still trying to trace the origins of the novel coronavirus, Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican member of the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, is convinced he already knows where it came from.
In a report based on open source materials and circumstantial reporting that he released on Monday, McCaul repeats his allegation that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and urges the US Congress to pass legislation to sanction related Chinese officials and scientists.
Were it that easy to crack the scientific puzzle, McCaul would definitely have proved himself a scientific genius who had been hiding his acuity under the robes of a lawmaker. But it isn't and he isn't.
The patchwork report contains no evidence to support his conclusion. Instead, it testifies to nothing but its author's anti-science convictions, and his intention of hijacking the country's legislature with those.
It is ironic that in his statement on the report, McCaul openly urges the Joe Biden administration to mobilize all resources to compel China to accept another origin tracing probe, even though his report claims to prove that the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus.
Notably, McCaul has set a very bad example through openly targeting foreign scientists, as well as those from the US, who are connected with the Wuhan lab and who have been outspoken in rejecting the lab leak rumors as a xenophobic distraction from the scientific efforts to find out how the virus made the jump to humans.
Like such superstitious persecutions of old, McCaul's report is merely an attempt to initiate a witch hunt, one employing all the machinery of the state. If successful, it means an individual lawmaker will have the capability to shout down the whole scientific community on an issue.
That such an absurd report can seize the stage in the top legislature of the US only exposes the extent to which the legislature has degenerated into a club of China-bashers. Demonstrating not only how divided the country is but also how far it has been steered off the right track, China-bashing is one of the few things on which the two US parties can agree.
Without firsthand information and data, the report on the origins of the virus the US intelligence apparatus is due to provide US President Joe Biden before September looks set to be of the same feather as the one concocted by McCaul. That is to say it will scapegoat China for the pandemic by claiming to provide ample, sufficient or overwhelming evidence, while in reality being a Trojan horse full of ill-will and xenophobic malice.
The harder the US tries to focus global attention on a lab leak in Wuhan as the origin of the pandemic, the more questions it raises about its own culpability and the more scrutiny it directs toward its biological weapons research lab in Maryland.
Before Washington allows World Health Organization experts to conduct origin tracing research at Fort Detrick, and acts as cooperatively and transparently as Beijing did, its calls for China's cooperation and transparency simply raise more questions than answers.