02 Nov 2006

New York Times Spills Some Very Interesting Beans

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From the Friday New York Times, we learn that some of the captured Iraqi documents, recently made available for public scrutiny on the Internet, contained technical details of atomic weapons production whose availability on-line alarmed arms control officials.

The Times published all this as an indictment of the public release of captured Iraqi documents.

The director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, had resisted setting up the Web site, which some intelligence officials felt implicitly raised questions about the competence and judgment of government analysts. But President Bush approved the site’s creation after Congressional Republicans proposed legislation to force the documents’ release…

Some intelligence officials feared that individual documents, translated and interpreted by amateurs, would be used out of context to second-guess the intelligence agencies’ view that Mr. Hussein did not have unconventional weapons or substantive ties to Al Qaeda. Reviewing the documents for release would add an unnecessary burden on busy intelligence analysts, they argued.

But the Times overlooks the fact that this kind of detailed technical information about an Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Program specifically confirms the Bush Administration’s causus belli, against which elite media (like the Times), and the most influential sectors of the Intelligence Community have so successfully waged a campaign of denial.

Does not the very existence of documents providing factual information of the highest relevance to the most vital public debate of the last three years, concealed by powerful elements of the Intelligence Community, perhaps prejudiced on policy issues, or possibly motivated (as some suspect) by partisanship, demand “second-guessing?”

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

One Feedback on "New York Times Spills Some Very Interesting Beans"

Dominique R. Poirier

I’m none of an expert about the matter and this blog is an informal blog on which it is pleasant to see and exchange one’s point of view. The mine is that, at some point, and while trying to understand what happened in this part of the globe, one may find reasonable ground for wondering whether a case for war in Iraq could have been reasonably sustained by the sole assumption the Saddam Hussein regime was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

I’m not making allusion to this story, a bit too simplistic for me, which said that it was all about Iraqi oil. About oil, to some extent, perhaps; but not specifically about Iraqi oil, I think.

While attempting to see the problem under another angle, and under a wider scope, we can see that the main producers of oil of a region whose perimeter surrounds both the inner Middle East and the Caspian basin represent about 68 percent of the world’s proved oil reserves, and 41 percent of the world’s proven gas reserves. It account for more than 30 percent of world oil production.
Since modern economy on earth relies largely on oil, one does not need to be a bright mind to understand that any trouble in this region, or attempt to exert control on it by a way or another, would put at stake the stability, the health, of the whole world.
The coming of the booming Chinese economy on the stage is doing little to dispel one’s concerns about this point, even though China is still not known as a country looking for worldwide influence, or “grandeur”. But one has to bear in mind, as Zbigniew Brzezinski pointed out in 2004 in his book, The Choice, that “China’s economic success falls less under the banner of globalization than of enlightened dictatorship.”

Troubles on the oil market engender economic troubles and, in turn, social troubles at a worldwide scale. The matter is not about whether the United States will have its share of oil or not, I think. The stake reaches a much bigger scale; and, at such scale, none country can, alone, expect counterbalancing negative effects when their size and multiplicity cross certain threshold, as the domino theory predict us. In the case of troubles capable to reach such scale as this occurring in the Greater Middle East, the more we wait and the longer we stay passive, the harder and the trickier it will be to fix the problem.
I think, we can easily compare the situation with the rise of the German Third Reich and the event, then the worldwide spread, of the WWII.

How would we see and analyze modern history and what would be our perception of the world and of this of some countries in particular, if France, England, or the United States, had invaded Germany as soon as Hitler decided to take, militarily, control of the Rhineland in 1936. France, alone, had the power to overwhelm the german army at that time, but no one wanted war.

Hitler happened to be the one who attained power at a more opportune time for successful action against the Versailles treaty (which we may somehow compare to the “no flight zones” in Iraq). His continuous use of deception and bluff, in addition to his willingness to resort to blackmail and crude threats, brought about the desired result. Only a man such as Hitler, a parvenu with no respect for bourgeois values or education (is this attitude doesn’t ring any bell to you?), could have pursued the course of action. Other German politician, such as Stresemann, had too much in common with their British and French counterparts; all of them were Europeans as much as they were French, British, or German. This difference in background in background prevented most European leaders, at least initially, from correctly evaluating Hitler’s intentions. By the time their eyes had been opened to his radically different methods, Hitler had already achieved his basic policy goals. He had renounced the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact without incurring retaliation, legitimized his revisionist policies, and increased Germany military power. Any attempt top thwart his demands would have meant a general European war, and the West European states wanted to avoid war at any reasonable (or unreasonable) cost.

At the United States Congress, during the 30’s, many congressmen (especially Democrats. Sorry for them) expressed passively a feeling of sympathy toward Germany. Joseph Kennedy, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s father, then U.S. Ambassador in England, had openly expressed his for Adolph Hitler and his policy, before being recalled in a hurry by Franklin D. Roosevelt. United States wanted to avoid war at any reasonable (or unreasonable) cost too. But, we may forget chaos; chaos does not forget us, never.

Is all this, once more, not ringing any bell to all those who know (or prefer not to know), by heart, the succession of events in greater Middle East? Well, it all sounds déja vu, to me.

I would willingly pursue on the matter, but coincidence made I found and read yesterday night an interesting article, freshly written in the National Review by Michael Ledeen (see the link bellow this comment), which brings insights and competences that supersede, by far, mine about the matter at hand. This article doesn’t question U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think, but it sheds light on some ominous realities many don’t want to hear of.

That’s why my point of view about this article, I wanted to express under the form of this comment, is that George Bush has certainly been, at some point, as embarrassed with the reasons justifying intervention in Iraq as Franklin D. Roosevelt had been soon after he promised American mothers he would never send their sons to wage war in Europe if he were reelected. How appallingly uncomfortable may the harsh realities of politics make a president feel sometimes. Whatever one may think of George Bush, the fact remains, I think, that he had to face difficult choices, and that he didn’t have so wide margin of maneuver and much time to take a decision. Beside, as President, he knew he would be inescapably held for responsible of the ensuing outcome, whichever it is. On my side, I think he was right not to adopt the same passive and cautious options the world leaders chosen during the 30’s.

Now, while we begin to grasp the meaning and the implications of the general situation in the Greater Middle East, and while we begin to distinguish the obviousness of strategic designs previously blurred by general public unconcern, where is our interest to continue focusing our attention on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or not?

“Delay,” a Michael Ledeen article published on November 1, in, The National Review.


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