Let the Blogosphere Go (Betray America)!

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The New York Times exclusive about captured Iraqi documents put online by the government is getting some mighty weak pushback from Iraq war defenders. At the same time, the story doesn't seem all that damning. The gist:

…in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

In other words, it contains the information you could read in The Progressive 25 years ago. But the pro-war spin is that the Times just proved Iraq was looking at nuclear technology before the 2003 invasion. Again, something we knew for about 22 years. We can ignore that argument.

What grabs me is that the online document archive is the same one that puzzled me six months ago, when I reviewed two books by bloggers and surveyed the state of blogs.

[Rep. Peter] Hoekstra, the chairman of the Select House Intelligence Committee and a vocal supporter of the Iraq war, wanted to attach jumper cables to the debate over weapons of mass destruction. Three years had passed since weapons inspectors, following Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's directions, had failed to find deadly ordnance "in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Hoekstra's committee had a stash of declassified documents from before the war, and no one was translating them; since the WMD debate was basically over, there wasn't much interest in what Saddam's inner circle used to bluster about. But if these documents could be publicized, there would be a chance for war supporters to argue anew that the invasion was justified. Now, Hoekstra told Marcus, was the time to "unleash the power of the Net on these 55,000 boxes of documents to see exactly what went on." Bloggers could translate the documents themselves, or at least pass around information and rumors about what the papers contained. If the intelligence community wasn't interested, Hoekstra could put the papers online and "let the blogosphere go!"

In other words, if it wasn't for the Republican chairman of the Intelligence committee trying to re-re-re-re-write the history of the Iraq war, using bloggers as dupes, this stuff never would have come online. The atom bomb plan would have stayed in some archive alongside the Ark of the Covenant. I'm assuming the atom bomb plan isn't even a big deal, but keep in mind that Republicans like Hoekstra and future President Duncan Hunter consider every leak of intelligence—or criticism of the war plan—as an in-kind contribution to the Islamoterrorfascists. There's a reap/sow thing going on here.

One of the Count Floyd campaign's attacks on the Democratic party is that a Democratic House majority would install Alcee Hastings, a former Florida judge who was impeached, as the new leader of the House Intelligence Committee. At this point that'd be a welcome change, if it would rid of us of jokers like Hoekstra.

(UPDATE: If it's not clear here, I should point out that the documents do not suggest Iraq was reconstituting its nuke program in 2002-2003. Quite the opposite.)

NEXT: Cookie Monsters

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  1. Count Floyd . . . good times.

  2. “. . . or at least pass around information and rumors about what the papers contained.”

    Dude pretty much nailed the blogosphere right there.

    10:30am I can’t really read arabic or anything but look at this interesting diagram. Probably a nuclear weapon of some sort.

    10:45am My readers tell me that is a picture of a sump pump.

  3. We all know that Iraq did not have a WMD program, was no danger to anyone and that any ideas to the contrary were made up by Bush to get us into a war. How could there possibly have been any information of any value in those documents? I mean seriously? Did the U.S. spike the documents with fake ones? If Iraq had this information, I guess we should take it on Weigal’s good word that they never would have given it or sold it to anyone? There is some interesting stuff in this article.

    “Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.”

    But Saddam was never a danger and there was no reason to ever fear him ever restarting the “nonexistent” WMD programs. Basically the Times is admitting that Saddam was very close to building a bomb but we should trust them and Weigal and believe that Iraq was not going to reconstitute its program. Out of the goodness of their hearts I guess.

  4. It’s it TREASON to AID the enemy?

  5. There’s a bit of history on this topic here.

    http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/Deterrence/index.shtml

    I particularly like Bohr’s letter on the topic.

    Nations will get the Atomic Bomb if it is a high enough priority. The technical aspects of the project are not great enough to stop them in the long run.

  6. Basically the Times is admitting that Saddam was very close to building a bomb but we should trust them and Weigal and believe that Iraq was not going to reconstitute its program.

    No, the Times is admitting that Saddam had widely available, basic design plans for a bomb. Every single investigation has concluded that Iraq didn’t have the ability to reconstitute its program. But you’re welcome to trust, uh, whoever it is exactly you’re trusting, to come to a completely different conclusion.

  7. “No, the Times is admitting that Saddam had widely available, basic design plans for a bomb. Every single investigation has concluded that Iraq didn’t have the ability to reconstitute its program.”

    Which part of “could have a bomb within a year” is so difficult to understand? Further, if what you are saying is true, and these plans really are “widely available”, then how is putting them on the internet doing any harm or any sort of a story? You can’t have it both ways.

  8. Breathtaking ability to uncover the obvious, John. You might remember what bought about the collapse of….damn, I cant remember every damn thing for EVERYBODY- the BNL bank, which fowarded 3 billion (in US taxpayer funds) to Hussien from a US branch, came about because, while inventorying what Iraq was buying in the US with some of the money, with the connivance of Rumsfeld types, was stuff for making- an atomic bomb. Thats why the auditor rang the alarm bells. All forgotten now of course. A chap who writes financial analysis for The Economist (a publication sadly lacking in the Moonie credentials that would give it probity in predictable Johns world) wrote a very detailed book on the subject, which got wierder & wierder as he followed the money. Sorry, all, it was a good 15 years ago at least. “Tentacles”? Damme, im gettin friggin old. Big, thick hardcover, extensivly footnoted & referenced. Many of our current crop of incompetant war criminals cross the stage.
    If we hung these guys, we wouldnt have them coming back every so often…

  9. John, you are completely full of shit.

    From Wikipedia

    On September 30, 2004, the ISG released the Duelfer Report, its final report on Iraq’s WMD programs. The main points of the report are as follows:

    Iraq’s main goal was to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute WMD production.

    Iraq’s WMD programs had decayed significantly since the end of the first Gulf War.

    No senior Iraqi official interviewed by the ISG believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever.

    Iraq had no deployable WMD of any kind as of March 2003 and had no production since 1991.

    The ISG judged that in March 2003, Iraq would have had the ability to produce large quantities of Sulfur Mustard in 3-6 months, and large quantities of nerve agent in 2 years.
    There was no proof of any biological weapons stocks since 1991.

    Iraq’s nuclear program was terminated in 1991, at which point micrograms of enriched uranium had been produced from a single test gas centrifuge.

    Iraq had intended to restart all banned weapons programs as soon as multilateral sanctions against it had been dropped, a prospect that the Iraqi government saw coming soon.

    Smuggling was used by Iraq to rebuild as much of its WMD program as could be hidden from U.N. weapons inspectors.

    Iraq had an effective system for the procurement of items banned by sanctions.

    Until March 2003, Saddam Hussein convinced his top military commanders that Iraq did indeed possess WMD that could be used against any U.S. invasion force, in order to prevent a coup over the prospects of fighting the U.S.-led Coalition without these weapons.

    Iraq used procurement contracts allowed under the Oil for Food program to buy influence among U.N. Security Council member states including France, China, and Russia, as well as dozens of prominent journalists and anti-sanctions activists.

    “The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them.”

    “Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq’s principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.”

  10. Which part of “could have a bomb within a year” is so difficult to understand?

    That’s “within a year” of the Persian Gulf War. In 1991. No investigation has ever concluded that he was a year away from a bomb any time after that. It’s as simple as that, really.

  11. One of two things are true, either they didn’t have the knowledge or they did. If they didn’t, then releasing the documents is not damaging. If they did, then they were a threat to reconstitute their WMD programs once the sanctions fell apart. It can’t be both. It is funny how people get one thing in their head and there is no debasing it. Trying to convince reasonites that Saddam was a threat is like trying to convince an evangelical that man did not walk with the dinosaurs. There is no hope, even if they come to believe other myths like this one that if true completely contradict the first myth. Welcome to the politics of the personal.

  12. Trying to convince reasonites that Saddam was a threat is like trying to convince an evangelical that man did not walk with the dinosaurs. There is no hope, even if they come to believe other myths like this one that if true completely contradict the first myth.

    John, this is a terrible analogy, and it’s ironic coming from you. Evangelicals believe things despite a lack of evidence. You believe that Sadaam was a threat, but there is no evidence to support it. Even the fewer and fewer people who still support the invasion have stopped justifying it by saying that Sadaam was a threat. Why? Because there is no evidence that he was.

  13. Gee, I wonder if anyone ever threw Rice crackers at Gary Hart.

  14. The author of that book I mentioned found various minutes & other papers that stated Cheney et al felt free to pass along various bits of nuke bomb hardware to Hussien because they thought Iraqis were too stupid to actually build a bomb. While I think that take by the now VP to be incredibly stupid, the fact is Hussien was far far away from a actual bomb. Because he inspired such terror among his scientists (this partner in freedom, this client, this ally in the region) his own scientists lied thru thier teeth about progress, faked results, doctored tests……nah. He wasnt a year away from a atom bomb. He was on time w/ the poison gas, tho- back when he was the Reagan/Bush1(therefore) YOUR friend & ally.
    Hey kids: how much you wanna bet John could have come up with all sorts of excuses to arm Hussien, back when?
    I would suggest, John, given your persuasion, you start to look at these guys in the WH a problem. Who are we arming today who will be your boogieman tommorrow?

  15. “Which part of “could have a bomb within a year” is so difficult to understand?”

    The part where you left out “…if he had sufficient quantities of enriched uranium,” which he did not have, could not obtain, and could not manufacture.

  16. ‘If the intelligence community wasn’t interested, Hoekstra could put the papers online and “let the blogosphere go!”‘

    What makes this an especially brilliant concept is the track record the Repubulicans and Iraq hawks have of comparing what intelligence professionals have to say about Iraqi WMDs, vs. what movement conservatives enlisted in reappraisals of the information the intelligence professionals studied have to say.

    I’m just dying to find out what the right blogosphere comes up with when they review the primary source information on the abortion/breast cancer link.

  17. “”One of two things are true, either they didn’t have the knowledge or they did.”””

    Or maybe they only had some of, but not all the knowledge. It’s not a black or white issue.

    Besides John, I didn’t think you were a big believer of the NY Times. Maybe I have you confused with someone else.

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