Sunday, October 10, 2004

The path to war

Slate's Fred Kaplan deconstructs the president's latest rationale for war, which is based on the Duelfer report, the same report that contradicts his original rationale for war. It's too bad John Kerry isn't as articulate in rebutting the president's arguments:

Imagine it's the fall of 2002. President Bush goes before the Congress and makes the following case: Saddam Hussein is trying to break the sanctions. If he succeeds, he might try to resume his program to develop weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, I ask for your authority to invade Iraq now. Would anyone have signed on?

UPDATE: More on the Duelfer report:

But a little-noticed section of the 960-page report says the risk of a "devastating" attack with unconventional weapons has grown since the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq last year.

The Bush administration, which went to war primarily to disarm the Baghdad regime of suspected illicit stockpiles, has not previously disclosed that the insurgent groups that have emerged and steadily expanded since Hussein's ouster are trying to develop their own crude supplies of such deadly agents as mustard gas, ricin and the nerve gas tabun.

Neither of the two chemists who worked for (terrorist group) Al Abud had ties to Hussein's long-defunct weapons programs, and Duelfer's investigators found no evidence that the group's poison project was part of a "prescribed plan by the former regime to fuel an insurgency."


Blogger H.R.M. Queen of the Universe said...

You are awfully brainy. You must have thought my blog was stupid.

12:25 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

"Brainy" is a loaded term. And just because you don't write about current events all the time doesn't mean your blog is stupid.

7:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the feeling I'm the only guy here who has actually slogged through the bulk of the report. You do know that the authors nevertheless defended the administration's case for war, and, when asked by Congressional investigators, said they, too, would have invaded Iraq, based on the intelligence dossier they had?

11:19 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

There are several issues here. One is whether, given the evidence that existed at the time, was the decision to go to war was justified then? Clearly, there were varying interpretations of the intelligence, but it is also clear that the Bush administration sought out and gave more credibility to evidence that bolstered their case for war. Another question is whether, given what we know now, was it right to go to war? I haven't heard anybody say that the authors of the Duefler report concluded that war was not justified--merely that the picture the report paints of Saddam's regime in the years since the first Gulf War is dramatically different than the one the president used to convince Congress and the nation that war was necessary.

12:17 PM


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