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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Who Misled Whom?

The MSM, and the NYT in particular, try to pin the blame on the "failed" intelligence about Saddam's weaponry on Bush. They are now also attacking Judith Miller, the NYT reporter recently jailed in the confusing Plame affair, as either a pawn or an accomplice in this inveiglement of the world. Had Bush not proposed Saddam had WMD, there would have been no war. Right?

Robert Kagan of the WAPO finds that MSM had "hyped" the potential dangers emanating from Bhagdad since 1998. Kagan writes these salwarts of truth:

...ran many alarming stories about Iraq's weapons programs before the election of George W. Bush. A quick search through the Times archives before 2001 produces such headlines as "Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say"(November 1998), "U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan"(August 1998), "Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort" (February 2000), "Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration" (February 2000), "Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program" (July 2000). (A somewhat shorter list can be compiled from The Post's archives, including a September 1998 headline: "Iraqi Work Toward A-Bomb Reported.") The Times stories were written by Barbara Crossette, Tim Weiner and Steven Lee Myers; Miller shared a byline on one.

Many such stories appeared before and after the Clinton administration bombed Iraq for four days in late 1998 in what it insisted was an effort to degrade Iraqi weapons programs. Philip Shenon reported official concerns that Iraq would be "capable within months -- and possibly just weeks or days -- of threatening its neighbors with an arsenal of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons." He reported that Iraq was thought to be "still hiding tons of nerve gas" and was "seeking to obtain uranium from a rogue nation or terrorist groups to complete as many as four nuclear warheads." Tim Weiner and Steven Erlanger reported that Hussein was closer than ever "to what he wants most: keeping a secret cache of biological and chemical weapons." "To maintain his chemical and biological weapons -- and the ability to build more," they reported, Hussein had sacrificed over $120 billion in oil revenue and "devoted his intelligence service to an endless game of cat and mouse to hide his suspected weapons caches from United Nations inspections."

Kagan gives example after example. Meanwhile, the Iraq Constitution was ratfied today. Not bad to go from dictatorship to constitutional government in little over 2 years with invading terrorists working to break the Iraqi resolve towards self-government. These Iraqis are impressive people.

Was the MSM basing their reports from information fed to them by George Bush while he was governor of Texas? No:

The Times's sources were "administration officials," "intelligence officials," "U.N. weapons inspectors" and "international analysts." The "administration officials" were, of course, Clinton officials. A number of stories were based not on off-the-record conversations but on public statements and documentation by U.N. inspectors.

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