NY Times Confirms Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Program
By Shiner Posted in Spotlight Blogs | War — Comments (116) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
From diaries, this is quite the story to chew on. The hot debate over the coming days will undoubtedly center on the Times' statement that "Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away." The question, of course, is whether "at the time" means what it appears to mean: 2002.
The NYTimes is offering its inevitable anti-Bush November surprise in its Friday edition. Here was the Drudge summary of the article.
NYT REPORTING FRIDAY, SOURCES SAY: Federal government set up Web site — Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal — to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research; a 'basic guide to building an atom bomb'... Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency fear the information could help Iran develop nuclear arms...
Jim Geraghty at TKS nails it in his description of what this means:
What? Wait a minute. The entire mantra of the war critics has been "no WMDs, no WMDs, no threat, no threat", for the past three years solid. Now we're being told that the Bush administration erred by making public information that could help any nation build an atomic bomb.
Let's go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.
Read that last sentence again. What was the main argument for the war in Iraq? The potential of Iraq to offer terrorists access to weapons of mass destruction. What do these document prove? That Sadaam nearly had the know-how to develop we most fear falling into the hands of people like Osama bin Laden.
I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a "Boy, did Bush screw up" meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the "there was no threat in Iraq" meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh... al-Qaeda.
The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.
The antiwar crowd is going to have to argue that the information somehow wasn't dangerous in the hands of Saddam Hussein, but was dangerous posted on the Internet. It doesn't work. It can't be both no threat to America and yet also somehow a threat to America once it's in the hands of Iran. Game, set, and match.