Judith Miller was notorious during the early years of the Iraq war for reporting evidence of WMDs that never panned out. In the Wall Street Journal, she argues that not only was she not a mouthpiece for the White House, but the White House itself was sincere, not lying, so it was all the fault of the crappy CIA analysts who were convinced the war evidence was sound.
While Miller may not have gotten her talking points from W, even the Times has admitted she relied too much on Iraqi exiles with their own agenda. And the evidence the White House cited for going into Iraq was never as unquestioned and sound as she claims. Saddam’s son told the government the WMD programs were destroyed. Other defectors said the same. The UN inspectors never found any evidence. It’s true, as she says, that Saddam wanted to start up the programs again; nobody disputes that. But we didn’t go to war because “Saddam wanted to have WMDs.” We went to war because the government supposedly had ironclad evidence he had one and wouldn’t hesitated to hand it to al Qaeda (evidence of links fell apart too). Oh, wait, actually the Deputy Defense Secretary said that was just a useful justification and the real reason was to eliminate him as a threat to Saudi Arabia.
in any case, as I’ve mentioned before, the intelligence did not automatically mandate we attack. Hell, we lived with the USSR and China having a way more deadly arsenal than Saddam supposedly had. We were fine with him using poison gas during the 1980s. Going to war wasn’t an intelligence decision, it was a policy decision. Heck, Dick Cheney specifically said that if there was a 99-percent chance Saddam didn’t have WMDs, we still needed to go in.
Case in point, John Bolton (former UN ambassador) recently wrote an editorial on why we needed to bomb Iran. His response to the conclusions that Iran isn’t working on nuclear weapons? Wrong! If he can question the intelligence, why didn’t W and Cheney?
The most charitable interpretation is that the White House was so eager to go to war with Iraq (Cheney had already advocated taking Saddam out. Bush had discussed how if he became a war president he’d use that to advance a dynamic domestic agenda) they ignored all inconvenient facts (including any warnings about how difficult it would be to keep the country stable).
So Miller is wrong. Again. Just as she is in the column when she says her 2003 book warned of the 2001 anthrax attacks … I’m sorry that doesn’t even make sense as bullshit.
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