Monday, January 02, 2006

More Evidence Of The Obvious

A new book released by New York Times columnist James Risen offers yet more proof that the case for the Iraqi invasion was weak.

Via JS Online:

A new book on the government's secret anti-terrorism operations describes how the CIA recruited an Iraqi-American anesthesiologist in 2002 to obtain information from her brother, who was a figure in Saddam Hussein's nuclear program.

Dr. Sawsan Alhaddad of Cleveland made the dangerous trip to Iraq on the CIA's behalf. The book said her brother was stunned by her questions about the nuclear program because - he said - it had been dead for a decade.


In all, the book says, some 30 family members of Iraqis made trips to their native country to contact Iraqi weapons scientists, and all of them reported that the programs had been abandoned.

Of course, at the time, the CIA believed that all the Iraqi scientists declaring the weapons program dead were lying. In an Intelligence Estimate released in October 2002, the CIA reported that it believed Iraq was working to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program. The subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States has shows that perhaps, the White House should have considered the words of the Iraqi weapons scientists (and U.N. inspectors) more carefully. Of course, that assumes that any solid evidenciary case against an invasion would have swayed the Bush administration, which seems very unlikely.

None of this is news to anyone who's been paying attention for the past three years, of course. A cause of war based on weapons of mass destruction was basically cast aside by the White House several years ago. It has since morphed into a mish-mash of anti-terrorism and faux humanitarian concern, with a nearly indecipherable end game strategy. The Iraq occupation has essentially gained a sort of inertia now, which almost guarantees its continuation for years to come.

Nothing new here, sadly, but it's worth remembering the phony case for war based on WMD's, especially as we enter a new year hot on the heels of another scandal in the White House. Just like his political capital, President Bush has spent all of the benefit of the doubt any rational American should have about his policies. No President since Nixon has more completely demonstrated the need for checks and balances between the branches of government. The very checks and balances, I might add, that Bush and his supporters think should be done away with in the interests of fighting the "War on Terror" more expediently. It's a matter of trust, and, as the case for WMD's reminds us, trust in the Bush White House is a risky proposition.

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