Friday, November 4


Jonathan Chait on Bush's "dishonest mistakes":

Conservative columnist David Brooks wrote sneeringly Thursday of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's attempt to investigate "the Republican plot to manipulate intelligence to trick the American people into believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." Brooks pointed out that the Clinton administration also believed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, Reid must believe that Democrats were part of the conspiracy to fool the public. Therefore, Reid is crazy. Other conservatives have made the same point as Brooks.

Are they really so dense? It isn't that complicated. The Bush administration, like almost everybody else, made some honest mistakes. Unlike everybody else, it also made some dishonest mistakes. The Clintonites warned against Hussein's weapons, but they didn't bully intelligence analysts into suppressing contrary information, and they didn't pass on information they knew was false. That's what the investigation is about. Everybody got it?

Chait forgets that the U.N. inspectors, who were allowed by Saddam back into Iraq after 9/11 and before we went to war, reported on the basis of their inspections that they were finding no evidence that Saddam had rearmed after 1997-98. Bush's patience wore thin ("He wouldn't a black-and-white report, and ours was gray") and he ordered them out so he could rush to war.

Chait also neglects to mention that for all Bill Clinton or Congress knew, Bush was in possession of new evidence of Saddam's weapons program. Bush and Blair told the world that their intelligence sources had revealed, beyond doubt, that Iraq possessed a vast stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and was close to acquiring a nuclear arsenal as well. For those without access to this secret knowledge it was impossible to judge the veracity of the claims.

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Blogger Graham Jones said...

Brings back memories.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Memories are made of this.

7:40 PM  

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