A View From The Handbasket

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
A broken clock is wrong almost all the time
Posted by neros_fiddle at 10:01 AM
I hope that this time we can figure out that we're being sold a fake war before the carnage starts.

Go read Glenn Greenwald's telling comparison of hype vs. fact in cases of Iraq in 2003 and Iran in 2007.

My favorite bit was John Bolton's dismissal of the IAEA:

BLITZER: In fairness to Mohamed ElBaredei, before the war in Iraq, when Condoleezza Rice and the President were speaking about mushroom clouds of Saddam Hussein and a revived nuclear weapons program that he may be undertaking, [ElBaradei] was saying that there was absolutely no such evidence, he was poo-poo-ing it, saying that the Bush Administration was overly-alarming and there was no nuclear weapons program that Saddam Hussein had revived. He was right on that one?

BOLTON: Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

So ElBaredei was completely right about Iraq, and the war hawks were completely wrong, and we have untold tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars flushed down the toilet of history as a consequence, and Bolton is telling us to ignore ElBaredei on Iran for no reason other than an appeal to Bolton's authority?

If I were Blitzer, I'd have savagely beaten Bolton with a teleprompter after that.

Later Update: Presented without comment from today's Washington Post:

President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program.

Even Later Update: Responding to the above report, here's Bush in this morning's hastily arranged press conference:

Q Mr. President, thank you. I'd like to follow on that. When you talked about Iraq, you and others in the administration talked about a mushroom cloud; then there were no WMD in Iraq. When it came to Iran, you said in October, on October 17th, you warned about the prospect of World War III, when months before you made that statement, this intelligence about them suspending their weapons program back in '03 had already come to light to this administration. So can't you be accused of hyping this threat? And don't you worry that that undermines U.S. credibility?

THE PRESIDENT: David, I don't want to contradict an august reporter such as yourself, but I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was Mike McConnell came in and said, we have some new information. He didn't tell me what the information was; he did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze. Why would you take time to analyze new information? One, you want to make sure it's not disinformation. You want to make sure the piece of intelligence you have is real. And secondly, they want to make sure they understand the intelligence they gathered: If they think it's real, then what does it mean? And it wasn't until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.

Um, wow.

Even if you grant the proposition that Bush is so incurious as to make such a conversation plausible (which, I admit, isn't much of stretch), you're still left with this astonishing calculus:

You have important new intelligence on the threat posed by a volatile state in a volatile region of immense strategic importance. The best thing to do in this situation is ignore the new intelligence while further analysis is done, and not even ask about its general nature. In the meantime, accusing the state of wanting to start World War III is a wise diplomatic move.

Remember, foreign policy is the GOP's strength.

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