July 13, 2003

Don't Kill Saddam! The Week

Don't Kill Saddam!

The Week in Review section of the Sunday Times is opened up for such moronic musings:

"But the final argument against assassination, often noted by American intelligence officers, was the most practical--you might get rid of public enemy No. 1, but who would take his place? Mr. Bremer has cited the survival of Mr. Hussein as a kind of psychological barrier, scaring off some Iraqis who might be willing to work with the Americans, and inspiring others to go on fighting.

But how can Washington be sure that killing Mr. Hussein will be a change for the better? Success might only clear the path for another Iraqi leader, just as intransigent but free of Mr. Hussein's terrible burden of decades of crime against his own people."

Note too the offensive title of the piece: "When Frontier Justice Becomes Foreign Policy." We really do have an amazingly idiotic cowboy simpleton at the helm, don't we?

There are other goodies on offer from the Times today, bien sur.

Here's some good old fashioned MaDo:

"Their [the Bush crowd's] defensive crouch and obsession with secrecy are positively Nixonian. (But instead of John Dean and an aggressive media, they have Howard Dean and a cowed media.)"

The Watergate comparisons are really an outrage. Here's one guy who should know not taking the bait. For the record, lest we forget, British intelligence still stands by the report on the Niger/uranium story. I think it's bogus, and it shouldn't have been in the speech, but inclusion of the one sentence in the SOTU simply is so far removed from Nixon's actions during Watergate that comparisons are absurd.

A Commander in Chief needs to rely on his intelligence agencies for procurement of information related to furtherance of national security interests. Intelligence gathering is an imperfect art. Taken in its totality, the Niger/uranium story relied on pretty shaky intelligence and should not have been included in a Presidential speech. But Watergate this ain't. Not by a long shot.

And I say this even after reading TPM's voluminous wall-to-wall coverage on the issue!

Note: That said, we are getting months into having concluded conventional, major hostilities in Iraq and have yet to unearth any WMD. It is time to investigate, perhaps internally or via a blue-ribbon commission rather than full-blown public hearings (that will inexorably become a circus as we approach the election year) what intelligence was good and what intelligence was bunk. Findings should be shared with the public.

U.S. credibility on such matters, going forward, must be maintained and such an exercise would be helpful towards achieving continued credibility. Given the need for possible preemptive action(s) in the future--intelligence we provide to the court of international public opinion going forward must not be discounted out of hand (even if unfairly) because of some possible failures related to Iraq intelligence.

Posted by Gregory at July 13, 2003 07:39 PM
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