Updated: 5/16/2006; 10:55:32 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Saturday, July 19, 2003


Strategic Forecasting, Inc.: "Saying that the United States was going to attack Iraq in order to intimidate other countries that were permitting al Qaeda to use their territory would have made it difficult for some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, to change their policies. Since it was not possible to conduct one public diplomacy campaign in the Middle East, another in the United States and yet another in Europe, the administration chose a public justification for the war that did not represent the real reasons, but that was expected to be plausible, persuasive and -- above all else -- true.

This is the key. The Bush administration did not go into Iraq because of WMD. To the extent that U.S. officials said that was the primary reason, they were lying. However, they fully believed that there were WMD in Iraq, which is why using that as justification was so seductive. .. The global net assessment was that Iraq had chemical weapons and could create biological weapons if motivated to do so, and had a program for developing nuclear weapons but wasn't there yet. This net assessment was non-speculative. ..

Misleading the U.S. public about foreign policy is hardly novel. .. As far as lies go, Bush's was pretty tame. Unlike Roosevelt, he never lied about wanting to go to war. Unlike Kennedy, he never hid a secret deal. And unlike Eisenhower, he never denied the U-2s were where they were supposed to be. The most he can be accused of is lying about his reason for war. ..

a guerrilla war [is] under way in Iraq. It appears Hussein is alive, possibly somewhere in Iraq. Chemical and biological weapons never have been used in a guerrilla war. That does not mean that they would not make excellent weapons used against U.S. troops. Chemical and biological weapons do not require huge containers. The bunkers that were built around Iraq over the years, not all of them identified by U.S. intelligence, could be hiding not only Hussein and his staff, but also the missing WMD.

Congress is about to begin an investigation into a forgery about Niger uranium, WMD and the rest. Congress is missing the point. The issue is not whether the administration invented the story of WMD. It is also not whether the administration went to war over WMD. The real issue is where the WMD went and why the CIA doesn't have a definitive answer to that. "

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 10:55:32 AM.