Monday, July 14, 2003

Don't Be Silly

Of course Georgie knew. Or, more accurately, the White House knew. Georgie believes what they tell him. It's interesting to see the squirming as the <echo_chamber>Weapons of Mass Destruction</echo_chamber> move farther and farther from Iraq, but anybody who has been paying attention knows what's going on.

How do we know? Watch what the'they've been doing, and think about what their behavior implies. Without going into the tinfoil-hat zone, there are three basic possibilities for the WMD:

  1. There never were any WMD, and everybody knew it.
  2. There never were any WMD, and the CIA blew it bigtime.
  3. There were WMD, but they're gone now.

Now, how would we expect Georgie and company to respond?If Case 2 or 3 were true, when we moved into Iraq, we'd have had many WMD teams loaded with sensors and trained to deal with whatever nasties they found. They'd be combat troops, prepared to fight their way into storage facilities, secure the contents, and hold off counterattacks. The whole point is to keep them from being used.

If Case 2 were true, I would expect to see blood running in the halls at the CIA. Now, Bush & Co. don't like CIA Director George Tenet one little bit. He is, after all, a Clinton appointee, which automatically puts him on the side of the Powers of Darkness. They wouldn't mind getting rid of him one little bit. His current mea culpa is far milder than I would expect; I would expect not only his resignation but a purge of any high level officer (and probably some low level ones) that came anywhere near Iraq. Bush & Co are not tolerant of people who do things that make them look bad. In this case, we would have pissed off the whole world and gotten ourselves into a long term, no-win committment (can't say the Q word ...) on the CIA's bad information.

If Case 3 were true, I'd expect to see the WMD top people running around like so many headless chickens. This is the Nightmare Scenario; the exact thing that the entire war was supposed to prevent. Where did they go? Iran and Syria have their own chemical weapons; they don't need more and they certainly don't want to give the US an excuse to come hunting. The sub-possibilities here are:

  1. they're very well hidden in Iraq, or
  2. somebody has taken them away.
If case a, we'd see the WMD teams digging up all sorts of unlikely places. If b, we'd see a massive hunt for terrorists, to make the post-9/11 investigations look perfunctory. Osama bin Laden would presumably have the capability to do some real damage now ...

What about Case 1? Well, since we know that there are no WMD to be found and our troops are not at risk, we don't have to put too much effort into it. Let's have a few WMD teams to look like we're really looking. No need to use combat troops; they can wait to do their "investigations" until the regular troops have the area secured. We'll let them poke around in some ammo dumps and pesticide factories for a bit and send them home.

Well, what did we do? The Case 1 scenario above pretty much describes it. There never were any WMD, and everybody knew it.

Now, note that this is a considerably nastier conclusion than the way the press is currently playing it. The way it's being reported, Bush & Co basically "cherry picked" the intellegence reports to paint a picture supporting their beliefs. If that were indeed the case, we'd have a variation of Case 2, without the purge at the CIA. We'd still have seen a massive effort to find WMD in the early part of the invasion.

Nope. They knew full well that there were no WMD of any kind to find.

LATER: Here's an article on the tension between Tenet and the White House. (Link via Body and Soul)

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