Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Okay, they have officially gone nutso

Early in the movie version of "War of the Worlds," the male lead, played by Gene Barry, is in a bunker watching the Martian machines rise out of the pit where they landed. In a voice thick with gleeful astonishment, he says "This is amazing."

I feel the same way about this:
Washington (Los Angeles Times, August 20) — Having failed to find banned weapons in Iraq, the CIA is preparing a final report on its search that will speculate on what the deposed regime's capabilities might have looked like years from now if left unchecked, according to congressional and intelligence officials. ...

The plan to have the report project the potential of Baghdad's weapons programs was disclosed during a classified briefing on Capitol Hill last month by Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, the former military commander of the weapons search group, according to congressional officials familiar with the briefing.

In her Aug. 13 letter, [Rep. Jane] Harman [(D-CA, 36)] said that Dayton had "told staff that the report will focus on what the state of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs would have been in 2006 or 2008 had the United States not gone to war with Iraq in 2003." ...

Other sources familiar with the work of the Iraq Survey Group confirmed the change in direction, saying they had learned of it in recent months even before Dayton discussed it at the congressional briefing.
"We didn't find any weapons, we didn't find any weapons materials, we didn't find any weapons programs, we found only scant indications of weapons research, but BY GOD, SADDAM WAS A THREAT! WE GOT THERE JUST IN TIME! If we hadn't invaded in 2003, in just five years he would have threatened THE VERY FABRIC OF SPACETIME ITSELF!"

Am I being overly cynical to note that this report is apparently scheduled for release just as the presidential race is really heating up?
[S]ome officials familiar with the CIA's plans for the final report said they thought it was politically motivated and designed to focus the public's attention on hypothetical future threats.
Only some?

Footnote: There's just so much good material here. There's Charles Duelfer, who took over for David Kay in January, squeezing more weasel words into one phrase than I would have thought possible, claiming "evidence" that Iraq had "ongoing research suitable for a capability" to produce chemical or biological agents. And there was this:
The U.S. intelligence official said that describing Iraq's future capabilities was "not the focus at all" of the final report and that "the report will not be speculative." But the official declined to say whether such projections would be part of the document, saying he could not comment "on a report that hasn't been completed."
I'm sorry ::scratching head:: but isn't that what you just did?

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