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snatching pixies from the jaws of midgets..., 2005-10-20 16:10:25 | Main | they were wrong and still appear to be..., 2005-10-22 12:10:56

we were all wrong:

Of course everybody believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction! Huffington dares play revisionist historian by requesting examples of folks who didn't get it wrong, and we fear the balance of good and evil in the universe might be terribly upset by such flagrant violations of narrative principle.

Because I'm feeling nihilistic today here's 10 minutes worth of google searches:

Collin Powell, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours." Cairo, Press Remarks with Foreign Minister of Egypt Amre Moussa, 2/24/2001.

Condoleeza Rice, "In terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer, 6/29/2001.

Hussein Kamel: Newsweek (3/3/03) broke the release of the full transcript of the US/UK's star witness on WMD, Hussein Kamel, in which he unequivocally stated that he ordered the destruction of all WMD. Glen Rangwala, now Lecturer in Politics at Cambridge University, who's graduate level work on Iraq's weapons programs prior to 1991 was plagarized by the Blair government, wrote a thorough analysis of Kamel's comments as well as debunking Powell's UN presentation. Much if not most of UNSCOM's work was accounting for the debris and spare parts they discovered thanks to Kamel's defection.

Scott Ritter. Howard Blix. Dennis Kucinich. Karen Kwiatkowski, much of the rest of ye ole blog roll, nevermind various other officials and diplomats that resigned from government over their opposition to the war, both here and in the UK. Yadda yadda.

Jonathan Schwarz just recently did a fine job of reviewing the broad level of dissent in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) to Powell's presentation before the UN.

The winner by consensus in American press reporting is apparently Knight Ridder, which was debunking Miller's sources almost before Miller was publishing them.

Various others, as reported:

CBS Online: Inspectors Call US Tips "Garbage", 2/20/2003.

Washington Post: Doubts Cast on Aluminum Tubes, p. A18, 9/12/2002. "U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged", 3/8/2003.

LA Times: "Iraq Opens Suspicious Sites to Eyes of Media", 2/8/2003.

The New Yorker: "The Stovepipe" and "Behind the 'Mushroom Cloud'", 10/20/2003.

The American Prospect: "The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA", 12/16/2002.

Foreign Policy in Focus: "Mr. Powell, You're No Adlai Stevenson", 2/6/2003.

FAIR: Iraq's Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact, 2/4/2003. Failure of Skepticism in Powell Coverage, 2/10/2003. "Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed", 2/27/03.

Observer: Truth behind US 'poison factory' claim, 2/9/03. 'Downing Street resorted to plagiarising a 12-year-old US doctoral thesis', 2/9/2003.

Guardian: "no nuclear evidence", 1/25/2003. US Claim Dismissed by Blix, 2/5/2003. "UK war dossier a sham, say experts", 2/7/2005.

As for an explanation why all this scrutiny had so little affect on the national discussion that everybody who was wrong can now chirp away about how everybody else was wrong, too, USA Today offered the following (2/25/2003):

"Of 414 stories on the Iraqi question that aired on NBC, ABC and CBS from Sept. 14 to Feb. 7, Tyndall says that the vast majority originated from the White House, Pentagon and State Department. Only 34 stories originated from elsewhere in the country, [news analyst Andrew Tyndall] says.

Similarly, a check of major newspapers around the country from September to February found only 268 stories devoted to peace initiatives or to opposition to the war, a small fraction of the total number."

Just to quote myself, "if an unemployed college dropout could pick out a handful of outright lies or omissions in the 2003 State of the Union address just by looking up the relevant UNMOVIC report from four years earlier what the hell were the 'professional journalists' doing?" I'm man enough to admit that a few of them were busy being professional journalists.

:: posted by buermann @ 2005-10-21 15:40:25 CST | link

      Excellent post.

    posted by TheLiberalAvenger @ 2005-10-21 17:35:28 | link

      Wow. I don't think I had ever seen that Condoleeza rice quote, 3 months before 9-11, saying that Hussein was no danger.

      I do wonder, however, if the Bushies had wanted to go after Saddam for so long, why the soft language pre-9/11 from Rice?

    posted by Blake @ 2005-10-21 21:43:51 | link

      The impression I got was the "humbler foreign policy" Bushies v. the "new american century" Bushies, often the same people in different circumstances. On one side Powell and on the other the "neo-cons", or as Powell described them to Jack Straw not long ago "the fucking crazies", a nickname that goes back to the Reagan administration.

      As far as the fucking crazies go recall that as the PNAC documents, nevermind obvious political realities, made clear that they would require "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" to serve as pretext for their extremist vision. Once they had that it was the word go, mop it all up, things related and not.

    posted by buermann @ 2005-10-21 22:53:23 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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