12.18.2003

UPDAT'D part I

I've been gone for a couple days, but some of the popular bloggers have commented on some of the subjects that I have been thinking and blogging about.

First, about that memo the Telegraph reported about. I said that it sounded "too good to be true" (for some people), and Newsweek has debunked the fundamental assertions of the memo.

Coughlin's account was picked up by newspapers around the world and was cited the next day by New York Times columnist William Safire. But U.S. officials and a leading Iraqi document expert tell NEWSWEEK that the document is most likely a forgery—part of a thriving new trade in dubious Iraqi documents that has cropped up in the wake of the collapse of Saddam's regime.

"It's a lucrative business," says Hassan Mneimneh, codirector of an Iraqi exile research group reviewing millions of captured Iraqi government documents. "There's an active document trade taking place … You have fraudulent documents that are being fabricated and sold" for hundreds of dollars a piece.



My thoughts on the original post weren't predicated on the veracity of the memo, however. Saddam could still have some compelling skeletons left in his closet, and any of them could challenge some of the hard stances assumed by some of the candidates. It's well known that Saddam was connected to and supported Palestinian terrorists. Even though there's no available evidence that he provided material support to other terrorist organizations, I don't think that we should assume that it isn't possible.

However...

Evidence of terror connections or WMD-capability should be established by now, if not very soon. If all of the transitive evidence has proved false so far, I understand why so many people are ready to close the case. Diane Sawyer recently interviewed President Bush, and his justification for going to war and defense of claims of WMD were not convincing. The Dem candidate only has to pull these type of responses out of Bush during the debates, and he'll be a shoe-in.

(Transcript via Liberal Oasis, via Calpundit.) Go read the whole thing. It's a blast.

SAWYER: But, but again some, some of the critics have said this, combined with the failure to establish proof of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there’s just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst. [sic]

BUSH: Y’know, uh, look (shakes head). What (chuckle) what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate.

SAWYER: Nothing should have been more precise?

BUSH: I – I – I – I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that the country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

SAWYER: What would it take to convince you he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction?

BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

(Pause, as both smile.)

SAWYER: And if he doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction --

BUSH: You can keep asking the question. I’m telling ya, I made the right decision for America.

Because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction, invaded Kuwait.

But the fact that he is not there, is uh, means America is a more secure country.

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