Wednesday, July 14, 2004

One page

In today's Slate, Fred Kaplan asks:

What did the president know about Iraqi WMD?or, more to the point, what did he think (or what was he led to think) his intelligence agencies knew?

This is why the Senate Intelligence Committee wants the summary released. It's the same reason the 9/11 commission wanted the White House to release the president's daily intelligence briefing of Aug. 6, 2001 (the one headlined, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."). They want to know what the president knew. Did he have reason to see Osama Bin Laden's attack coming?and, if so, should he have done something about it? Did he know about internal disputes over the evidence of Iraqi weapons programs?and, if so, should he have thought twice about going to war?

If all George W. Bush knew about the Iraqi threat was gleaned from a one-page summary that stated the case for WMD?and that did not even acknowledge the existence of a case for skepticism?that's important to know. It's important for citizens who want some insight on why we went to war. And it's important for the president, who may decide to read a longer document the next time there's trouble.

Kaplan wonders how much attention was paid to dissenting opinions. Did Bush know? Did he care?

Those dissenters turned out to be right. Bush is a man whose single-minded vision ( or call it pig-headed stupidity) had been disastrous. Is this really the kind of leadership Americans want?

I doubt it.