Iraq WMD’s Revisited
Bernard Finel, to say the least a fan of neither the Bush Administration nor the Iraq War, throws cold water on the Bush Lied, People Died meme that refuses to die:
I’d like to urge folks to think through what standards should be applied to inherently ambiguous information. Here is what we knew in 2002:
(1) Saddam had a WMD program in the early 1990s.
(2) Saddam had not fully cooperated with weapons inspectors from 1991-1998.
(3) Inspectors had been expelled from the country from 1998 to 2002.
(4) When the inspectors returns, they found no evidence of a WMD program.
(5) Saddam was either unable or unwilling to provide a full accounting of what had happened to the program.
Finally, we can talk about cherry picking all we want. But then you need to address the Bob Gallucci/David Kay issue. These guys were inspectors as well. They knew the intel. They’d been on the ground. They thought Saddam had a program and stockpiles. Do we just want to dismiss them as dupes? Because we certainly can’t call them Bushie ideologues.
Now, as a supporter of both the Iraq War and the Bush Administration, I’ve long since come to the conclusion that the Iraq WMD evidence was indeed cherry picked, in the sense that they 1) genuinely believed Saddam had a WMD program and that it was unacceptable in a post-9/11 context and 2) rejected any evidence pointing the other way as outlier. I also think they played fast and loose with the evidence on Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda — mostly by omission rather than commission — to the end of propagandizing for a war they genuinely believed necessary. But the idea that Bush and company simply manufactured a war for reasons other than sincere belief that it was in America’s security interests have no evidence.