Thursday, June 05, 2003


The Leader speaks:

"We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents. This is the man who spent decades hiding tools of mass murder. He knew the inspectors were looking for them. You know better than me he's got a big country in which to hide them. We're on the look [sic]. We'll reveal the truth," the president said.

Bush's partner in the war, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is in the midst of a political uproar over accusations that he exaggerated the evidence. Last week, Bush asserted in an interview with Polish television that the United States had "found the weapons of mass destruction," which turned out to be a reference to the discovery of trailers that the CIA said were apparently used as mobile biological weapons labs. No biological agents have been identified on the trailers.

(Love the Self-Identified Christian resonance of "reveal the truth"!)

However, as WaPo columnist Richard Cohen recently rose from slumber to point out, the Congressional resolution that authorized the war was premised on the idea that the truth had already been revealed:

The resolution declares that "Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region." It says that Iraq "continues to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability." It says Iraq is "actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations." It says that based on those findings, the president was authorized to go to war. He did. You can look it up.

It's too soon to know if the Bush administration was lying, exaggerating or simply mistaken. But it is not too soon to say that the case it advanced concerning weapons of mass destruction was much more tenuous than the administration admitted. It somehow forgot to mention all the caveats, doubts and contrary evidence. As for the link with al Qaeda, that was just plain hogwash -- not that it was believed by anyone much in Congress. Just the American people.

Before the war, certainty about nuclear weapons. After the war, a couple of dubious trailers. Jeebus.