Patterico's Pontifications

7/14/2004

Hans Blix: I Believed Iraq Had WMD, But I Kept It to Myself

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:38 pm

Browsing the Butler report, I ran across this wonderful quote from Hans Blix’s book “Disarming Iraq”, which is quoted at page 112 of the report:

My gut feelings, which I kept to myself, suggested to me that Iraq still engaged in prohibited activities and retained prohibited items, and that it had the documents to prove it.

Further research shows that Blix was specifically referring to WMD, and said in his book:

[M]y gut feeling was still that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction.

Why did Blix keep these feelings to himself?

A cynical person might say: because his first commitment was not to the truth — it was to the avoidance of war, at all costs. Remember, Hans Blix was the guy who was more worried about the Kyoto protocol then he was about any major military conflict. And Saddam Hussein didn’t reject the Kyoto protocol — George Bush did.

Of course, Hans Blix would say that there simply wasn’t enough hard evidence. Which raises the question: isn’t Hans Blix the guy who was head of the IAEA for a decade, until 1991 — and in that capacity decided in that there wasn’t enough evidence that Saddam was obtaining a nuclear weapon? And then admitted in 1996 that Saddam had been months away from obtaining a nuclear bomb in 1990?

Why, yes, he was.

So perhaps we can pardon G.W. Bush if his gut feeling also told him that Saddam — who had every chance to prove he had disposed of WMD, but had resisted all such opportunities — might still have (or be pursuing) WMD.

The Big Picture

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 11:07 pm

When considering the hullabaloo about the Senate Intelligence Committee Report and the Butler Report, keep your eye on the big picture. This excellent piece should help.

Xrlq on Mark A. York

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

Xrlq is not impressed with Mark A. York.

Joe Wilson Credibility Watch

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:22 am

The New York Times today ended its own news blackout of the Senate report’s findings on Joe Wilson’s credibility, with Washington Post story from the other day. Still, the NYT has finally told its readers that the Senate report refutes Wilson’s claims that he was not recommended for the Niger trip by his wife:

Instead of assigning a trained intelligence officer to the Niger case, though, the C.I.A. sent a former American ambassador, Joseph Wilson, to talk to former Niger officials. His wife, Valerie Plame, was an officer in the counterproliferation division, and she had suggested that he be sent to Niger, according to the Senate report.

That finding contradicts previous statements by Mr. Wilson, who publicly criticized the Bush administration last year for using the Niger evidence to help justify the war in Iraq. After his wife’s identity as a C.I.A. officer was leaked to the news media, Mr. Wilson said she had not played a role in his assignment, and argued that her C.I.A. employment had been disclosed to punish him.

The story is still woefully inadequate. It mentions that Wilson told the CIA that the former Nigerian prime minister had told him “that in June 1999, a businessman insisted that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss expanded commercial relations with Baghdad, according to the Senate report.” But the Times fails to point out that the former prime minister thought the Iraqis’ suggestions of “expanded commercial relations” were an overture to buy uranium. Hence the conclusion of many analysts that Wilson’s report, if anything, bolstered the case that Iraq was seeking yellowcake from Niger.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times continues its own blackout of the Senate report’s findings on Wilson, despite its previous front-page articles trumpeting his allegations. But it does find room in section A for an article about the Bush daughters’ Vogue magazine photo shoot.

Request

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 7:15 am

Some of you may notice a frequent commenter no longer making comments. I may have more to say on this later and I may not. For now, I will say only that I have decided that I would prefer not to have his comments on my site any more.

I’d like to make a special request of my readers, that you leave no comments mocking this commenter. It doesn’t seem fair that others should leave pejorative comments to which he can’t respond. I have already edited a couple of comments accordingly.


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