Tuesday, June 15, 2004

More on Iraq and Al-Qaeda: why were there no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq? How did it happen that the claims made by the President and Vice President turned out to be so wrong?

The WMD commission, created by President Bush to answer this question, will report its findings a few months after the election (how convenient).

Meanwhile, there are two competing narratives. One faults bad intelligence reported to Bush by the CIA for the error. The other faults the ideologues in the White House who 1. pressured the intelligence officers to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraqi weapons 2. went above and beyond the CIA's classified claims when selling the war to the American people.

One reason why Bush's statement today to the effect that there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, quoted in my last post, is important is that it shows how unlikely the first narrative is.

By today -- on June 15th, 2004 -- it has become fairly obvious that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and that the connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda is practically nonexistent. Pre-war evidence for both of these claims (Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Niger, Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague) has proven to be completely false.

And yet the president continues to claim that the baseless connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda is an assertion supported by evidence in an attempt to manipulate popular opinion.

How, then, is the claim that this was not done with Iraq and WMD's at all believable?


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