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Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Iraq "Threat"

I've got a community talk to prep for tomorrow and a big stack of papers to grade. Thus, don't expect much blogging for a couple of days.

To tide you over:
Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 80

Updated - February 11, 2004

Edited by Jeffrey Richelson

Originally posted December 20, 2002
Hat tip to Deep Blade, who has been confronting Professor John C. McAdams of Marquette University about the argument that "Bush lied."

McAdams, who is a scholar of American politics, seems to be branching out from his more typical pursuit -- debunking various conspiracy-related claims about President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

McAdams is interested in truth, so I offer this: It is simplistic to claim that Bush lied, but it is very misleading and incomplete to argue that the administration sold the Iraq war for the reasons it provided at the time. While "almost everyone" suspected that Iraq had chemical weapons (and perhaps biological weapons), the nuclear claim was critical to the war and was quite dubious. Lots of international security experts were convinced of this at the time -- especially after Mohammed elBaradei testified in March 2003.

Big name scholars like University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer and Harvard's Steve Walt were arguing that Iraq was not a threat to the US....EVEN IF the administration's assumptions about Iraqi weapons were true.

The administration willfully distorted the truth and played up a minor threat. The Downing Street Memo from July 23, 2002, makes clear that even the UK realized that the Bush adminstration was out for war against Iraq, regardless of the facts:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
Former anti-terror chief Richard Clarke makes the same charge. So does former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

The policy was to invade Iraq. 9/11 and WMD provided the dubious rationale.

All of us have a responsibility to ask, "Why?"

If all this is not enough to keep you busy over the weekend, then go back and read Dr. Glen Rangwala's "Claims and evaluations of Iraq's proscribed weapons."

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