October 09, 2003


Two things to add on Condoleeza Rice's ludicrous remarks on the Kay Report that Marshall hasn't said. Marshall doesn't even touch on the other part of Rice's remarks re Kay in Chicago yesterday, where she says, Kay "is finding proof that Iraq never disarmed." Um, well, let's see, he had weapons once, he apparently doesn't have them now (Kay's only found evidence of R&D, no extant weapons)... that's pretty much the definition of "having disarmed," as far as I can tell. Kay IS finding great evidence that Iraq had disarmed... maybe she just got her words mixed up.

But here's a challenge for you. Over and over again now, we've heard that Iraq pretended to have "weapons of mass destruction" after 1998. War advocates are actually wondering now why, if Iraq had no weapons, it didn't just come clean and avoid war. Now, that's not how I remember it... I'm pretty sure I remember Iraq strenuously insisting it HAD disarmed, and that it opposed further inspections because, ostensibly they were thus both pointless and an infringement on sovereignty and their national security. (Hence all those protests about violating the "Presidential Palaces" by inspectors and so on.) Now, I wasn't born yesterday... I fully suspected that was just an excuse to get the inspectors out so weapons R&D could resume, just like everybody else (I still do). And I agree, lots of people, including myself, thought the Iraqis were lying at the time, and at least had a little mustard gas stashed somewhere. But... how EXACTLY did the Iraqis themselves pretend to HAVE the weapons it's now clear they didn't? I'm sure there is some statement the pro-war lobby is thinking of here, but I can't remember what it would be.

In other words, at what point, since 1998, did the Iraqis themselves, by their actions or words, deliberately contradict their official story that they had no banned weapons anymore? Not, mind you, did they act like jerks, or obstruct the UN in silly ways, or say something ambiguous on a satellite phone intercept. If you needed to prove that Iraq was actively contributing to the world's fuzziness on the weapons question, what would your evidence be? Cause I can't find anything yet in the old stories that contradicts them saying, "we got rid of the weapons, we have no weapons anymore, please lift the sanctions now."

It would be kind of odd if the Iraqis were the only ones in this entire scenario who should have been trusted at their word.

Posted by BruceR at 05:46 PM


Ted Barlow is absolutely right -- Mark Steyn's piece on the Plame Affair in the Spectator is pathetically bad, easily one of his worst. In its sloppiness of fact, in its obsession with cheap rhetoric and irrelevancy, it's as bad as anything Robert Fisk or Ted Rall ever wrote. It's not even hip... Steyn got the rep he did largely because he was a research-a-holic, who could dig up little bits of facts to support his arguments from the oddest places before they hit the mainstream, or after they were long forgotten. It's why he took to blogs and vice versa. Yet now he's pulling out the "Plame must have been recruited when she was 10" joke, fully discussed and put aside by just about everybody else over a week ago. There's absolutely nothing new here. Jeffrey Simpson could have written it.

Instapundit's review? "Read the whole thing." Typical. Even the better pro-war blogs are rapidly becoming what they always claimed they hated... a refuge for sloppy thought and excessive partisanism. This is just one more step on the stairs down.

Posted by BruceR at 05:02 PM