Who said this?

“How Close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today or at the most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, innaccurate, and limited in size). Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously…. and to threaten US territory with such weapons delivered by nonconventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner.”

Damn. That’s pretty alarming (or alarmist?) stuff. Nuclear capability. Threatening the US with nonconventional attacks in a few years. Now, right now, threatening neighbors in the Middle East. That’s actually more alarming than anything else on the record.

So who said this in testimony to Congress in March of 2002? No one named Condi, Dick, George, Paul, Colin, Don or Scooter. His name is Robert. Robert Einhorn. He was Bill Clinton’s assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. And what he is sharing there is the view held by the Clinton administration, the view that led the Clinton admin to conceive its own plan for a preemptive invasion of Iraq. You can read about it in this article from Ken Pollack (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200401/pollack) another Clinton National Security aid.

More persuasively than anything else, this article exposes the absurdity and cynicism of the “Bush Lied” polemics.

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4 thoughts on “Who said this?

  1. I promise I’ll give this a fair and balanced read and report back.Hey, do you add war-hero John Murtha to your list of Demmy scum? Just wondering when he’ll get a swift-boat-style hammering.

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  2. Interesting read. Indeed, it’s not too far off from how I see things. Thus, when the guy says stuff like this, it should make you wonder:“As best I can tell, these officials were guilty not of lying but of creative omission. They discussed only those elements of intelligence estimates that served their cause. This was particularly apparent in regard to the time frame for Iraq’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon—the issue that most alarmed the American public and the rest of the world. Remember that the NIE said that Iraq was likely to have a nuclear weapon in five to seven years if it had to produce the fissile material indigenously, and that it might have one in less than a year if it could obtain the material from a foreign source. The intelligence community considered it highly unlikely that Iraq would be able to obtain weapons-grade material from a foreign source; it had been trying to do so for twenty-five years with no luck. However, time after time senior Administration officials discussed only the worst-case, and least likely, scenario, and failed to mention the intelligence community’s most likely scenario.”Doesn’t sound like the actions of an entirely honest administration. And isn’t that supposed to be the Great Thing about our Great President– that he’s a Straight Shooter and all honest and all that crap?And then, why did our Wonderful President give Tenent that medal? Why are so many pre-war officials STILL in this administration, even after all the blunders?

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  3. To Ronan–no real opinion on Murtha other than that the call for withdrawal is badly timed and made from emotion. But before you write off the hammering Kerry got on the Swift Boat thing, you might want to take a closer look at whether some of the criticisms were merited and who was making them. A rather surprising number of his Swift Boat critics were registered Dems. And keep in mind, RJH, that my only Congressional experience was working in the office of a Dem and that my family was a (perhaps the) crucial force behind the only election of a Dem to Congress from Utah County in…. forever. I know it probably seems like I protest too much, but I’m no hardcore partisan.Similar note to Lancer here–I have been very critical of the admin’s handling of postwar Iraq. And I am open to any substantive discussion that begins with the premise “they seem to have been wrong but it is at least possible that their intentions were good.” As for KP’s concluding note that you’ve quoted there–very telling that this is what you excerpted. I think it is quite clearly the obligatory partisan swipe of a Clinton man who is generally fair-minded but has to express his loyalties somehow. How else to explain the inconsistency between the main thrust of his article (“everyone, myself included, thought Saddam had WMD and Clinton people like Robert Einhorn themselves voiced the worst-case scenarios without emphasizing other possibilities”) with this little diversion at the end (“but in spite of the foregoing the Bush admin should have been sipping lemonade and cracking jokes when they talked about it, even though I wrote a book telling them they would have to go to war”). Strange but fairly blatant inconsistency from a man I know to be very fairminded (I’ve seen him speak a few times). Basically he’s saying “if I don’t say something like this to wrap up the article everyone in my Party will hate me.”

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  4. Somehow, I just <>knew<> you’d say that! And while you read it as a “partisan swipe” I just find it interesting <>what<> the administration opted to push and what they didn’tIn fact, it creates an interesting queston: if our leadership <>knows<> a course of action to be the right one– say, invading a country, but doesn’t think that the public at large will go for it (because they don’t want their kids involved in a war), do they have the right/obligation to convince them? Even if it involves dubious methods (e.g. hyping some questionable intel, but ignoring the better intel)?Anyhow, thanks for the link, Stu. Interesting stuff, and it suggests some important questions!

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