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Iraqi WMDs (Again)

FronPage Symposium. Gaubatz goes off the end a bit, but the rest do a crack-up job. Key points:


The truly amazing fact is that the White House is very obviously opposed to revisiting these questions. They say they want to look forward, not back into the past. But this wrongheaded view undermines a good deal of potential support for moving forward aggressively, because it deprives them of the ability to say that a good deal of what they said in the past was true. Once again, the White House fails to tell its own story effectively.


When we went to war with Iraq two of the goals were to remove Saddam Hussein and to capture him if possible. The second goal was to locate WMD. Mr. Ledeen makes an excellent point pertaining to classifying WMD being found in Iraq. Any WMD found should not be classified. The American people need to be aware of any updates in regards to these weapons. When Saddam Hussein was captured we did not classify this and release it several months later. The announcement was made immediately. The WMD issue is no different. If we locate one chemical shell or 500 chemical shells an announcement must be made.


Many have trumpeted the failure to find significant quantities of WMD as evidence that the Bush administration “lied.” This is demonstrably false on its face as anyone could quickly locate similar claims being made by any number of foreign governments, members of the Clinton administration including the former president himself, as well as members of the U.S. intelligence community long before the current Bush administration even came into being.


The only thing we really know about Iraq (and much of the region) is that our intelligence there was grossly inadequate. The bizarre and sad thing about all of this is that we appear willing, as a nation, to have the history of matters of great consequence “definitively” written on the basis of this blatantly insufficient record. That is not history; it is fiction. Obviously, if there are matters of operational intelligence that need to be withheld due to bonafide military necessity, then that has to be done. But if, due to an insurgency with a strong jihadist component, we are still (over three years after Saddam’s fall) considering to be “operational” intelligence about terror ties and weapons, there must be plenty there of interest. On the other hand, if we are withholding information because it would be embarrassing to the intelligence community or other officials because the positions they took prior to March 2003 are unsustainable, that similarly means what passes for the conventional wisdom is wrong and must be corrected.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.