Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.


William Safire discusses the Senate Intelligence Committee's report:
THE salient news in the Senate Intelligence Committee report is this: All you have been hearing about 'he lied to us' and 'they cooked the books' is a lot of partisan nonsense.

The 511-page Senate report concluded this: Nobody in the White House or the Pentagon pressured the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to change an intelligence analysis to conform to the judgment that the world would be a safer place with the monstrous Saddam Hussein overthrown.

Ah, second-guessers say, but what about 'groupthink'? Before Gulf War I, the consensus held that Saddam was five to 10 years away from producing a nuclear bomb, but when we went in, we discovered that his weapons of mass destruction were less than six months away.

The group then switched. When Saddam later obstructed United Nations inspectors - forgoing US$100 billion (S$171 billion) in oil sales to keep out prying eyes - groupthinkers logically concluded that the 'Butcher of Baghdad' had been hiding weapons. Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat who is privy to secret intelligence, spoke for the group in late 2002: 'Saddam's existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America now.'

Today, as Election Day approaches, groupthink has swung back again, to this: Saddam not only had no terror weapons, but he had also little or nothing to do with Al-Qaeda - therefore, our liberation of Iraq was a waste of lives and money.
As he says, those opposed to the invasion of Iraq have been all over the map when it comes to how much they value the material supplied by the US intelligence community. Their opinion of the material obviously depends on what is politically expedient at any given moment. He also adds:
Consider the official pressure to get with the latest groupthink: The 9/11 commission staff assured us recently that repeated contacts between Iraq and Al-Qaeda (including the presence in Baghdad and Kurdistan by the reigning terrorist, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi), 'did not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship'.

This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee chimed in, saying these contacts 'did not add up to an established formal relationship'.

Think about that. Do today's groupthinkers believe that Osama bin Laden would sit down with Saddam in front of the world's cameras to sign a mutual assistance pact, establishing a formal relationship? Terrorists and rogue states do not work that way. Mass killers collaborate informally, without a photo op, even secretly.
As I've said before those who claim that Saddam had no connection to terrorists should make clear to everyone what they would require in order to admit that some sort of connection existed. This wouldn't prevent people from second guessing the past but at least it would provide us with a frame of reference for future disputes.

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