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[However, Kennedy adjusted the numbers to account for undecided black voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, and said the runoff election currently stands in Blanco's favor. With that adjustment, Blanco would get 53 percent of the vote, compared to Jindal's 47 percent]
Republican Primary Trial Heat (among Republican voters): Cecil Underwood 30% Robin Capehart 8% Sarah Minear 8% Dan Moore 3% Monty Warner 3% Doug McKinney 2% Other 3% Undecided 43%
Democratic Primary Trial Heat (among Democratic voters): Joe Manchin 46% Darrell McGraw 11% John Perdue 5% Jim Humphreys 4% Lloyd Jackson 3% Jim Lees 3% Spike Maynard 2% Robin Davis 2% Other 1% Undecided 25%
The Bush administration's shake-up of its policymaking structure for Iraq was over- shadowed on Wednesday by an admission from the White House that Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary in charge of reconstruction, had not been consulted.
Backtracking on the assurances he made at the beginning of the week that Mr Rumsfeld had been "very involved in this process", Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said on Wednesday: "Maybe I should not have characterised it that way."
Mr Rumsfeld told the Financial Times on Tuesday he had not learnt of the Iraq Stabilization Group, a new co-ordinating body headed by Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, until he received a classified memo from her. Mr Rumsfeld said he had not been briefed beforehand.
Speaking at a press conference on the first day of a gathering of Nato ministers on Wednesday, Mr Rumsfeld said he was not upset with Ms Rice over the handling of the restructuring, but again asserted the memo would not change administration decision-making.
He noted that Paul Bremer, the US-appointed administrator in Iraq, would still report to the Pentagon and sought to play down Ms Rice's initiative. "I'm really quite surprised by all the froo-frah about this memo," he said. "It's a little, short, one-page memo."
Mr Rumsfeld again acknowledged that he had not been brought into the process of forming the new group before it was established. But he said more junior officials at the Pentagon had been told about the reorganisation.
"I get three or four memos from the NSC a day," he said.
Ms Rice had told the New York Times over the weekend that she had devised the new group together with Dick Cheney, vice-president, Colin Powell, the secretary of state, and Mr Rumsfeld in August.
On Wednesday Mr McClellan said that while Mr Rumsfeld was not consulted prior to issuing the memo, Mr Bremer had been.
Ms Rice's appointment at the helm of the group was viewed as an effort to restore the authority of the National Security Council, which has been criticised for handing over the reconstruction effort to Mr Rumsfeld's Pentagon.
But Mr Rumsfeld, a Chicago native, said his failure to be briefed beforehand should not be seen as significant. "With the Chicago Cubs in the play-offs and what's going on in California, we can find something more important than that."
With the president's poll ratings sagging, the administration's shake-up of its policymaking structure for Iraq was to be part of a week-long effort to retake the public relations initiative over reconstruction. Instead it exposed, rather than resolved, differences in the president's national security team.
William Kristol, an influential neo-conservative with close ties to the Bush administration, wrote in the latest Weekly Standard magazine that the administration had been virtually "invisible" in making its case for an extra $87bn in spending on Iraq and Afghanistan.
"One reason for this is that the civil war in the Bush administration has become crippling," he wrote. "The CIA is in open revolt against the White House. The State Department and the Defense Department aren't working together at all." - Source
White House lawyers are screening documents submitted as possible evidence to determine who leaked an undercover CIA officer's identity, mindful that officials from the president on down have expressed doubt that the leaker will be found.
President Bush said he wants the Justice Department's investigation completed "as quickly as possible."
"I want to know the truth. I want to see to it that the truth prevails," he told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with his Cabinet.
Investigators are trying to determine who leaked to columnist Robert Novak -- he wrote that it was "two senior administration officials" -- and two Newsday journalists the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operations officer who has served overseas.
She is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the Bush administration in The New York Times of manipulating intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq to justify the U.S.-led invasion.
Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said Tuesday that the White House counsel's office would turn over to the Justice Department only materials it deemed "responsive or relevant" to the department's criminal inquiry.
Approximately 2,000 White House employees were told to certify by end of business Tuesday either that they had produced all such documents they had or that they had none to produce. McClellan said that with many aides probably "going above and beyond to make sure that nothing is left out," the volume of materials could bury Justice investigators unless the counsel's office sifted through them first. The sifting could take as long as two weeks, he said.
"A lot of that information may have no relevance or not be responsive to the request from the Department of Justice, and it could slow down their investigation if they're getting volumes of documents that have no relevance," he said.
McClellan would not rule out that the White House might invoke executive privilege for some of the documents. That's a doctrine recognized by the courts that ensures presidents can get candid advice without fear it will become public. "It's premature to even speculate about such matters," McClellan said.
Despite his avowed determination to find the leaker, Bush alternately expressed confidence and doubt that the leaker would be found.
"They'll come to the bottom of this," he said, but added later: "I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration and there's a lot of senior officials. ... I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is."
Should the effort fail, he said, part of the blame falls on journalists, because they "do a very good job of protecting the leakers."
"You tell me: How many sources have you had that's leaked information that you've exposed or had been exposed? Probably none," he told his questioners.
McClellan said his conversations with top political adviser Karl Rove; Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and National Security Council official Elliott Abrams have ruled out their involvement. There has been speculation about all three.
In a memo Tuesday afternoon, Bush chief of staff Andrew Card reminded all staff of the White House's self-imposed 5 p.m deadline. The Justice Department wants the White House to turn over all materials by the middle of the month, the more relevant ones sooner.
The document dump had lawyers from the counsel's office gathered in a room in the building next to the White House late Tuesday, poring over piles of electronic records, telephone logs, correspondence, computer records, notes and calendar entries walked over by Bush aides.
The Pentagon also set a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for collecting relevant documents. At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher said aides had simply been asked to "preserve and maintain" such documents.
The CIA also has been asked to preserve relevant documents.
Prime Minister John Howard was yesterday censured by the Senate for misleading the public in his justification for sending Australia to war with Iraq.
It was only the fourth time in more than three decades a sitting prime minister has been censured and the second in Mr Howard's seven-and-a-half years in office.
The motion attacked Mr Howard for failing to adequately inform Australians that intelligence agency warnings about a war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
It also noted that no evidence had yet been produced by Mr Howard to justify his claims that in March this year, Iraq possessed stockpiles of completed biological chemical weapons that justified going to war.
The Opposition, Greens and Australian Democrats voted together to defeat the Government by 33 votes to 30.
Greens senator Bob Brown said Mr Howard was involved in an unprecedented deceit of the nation and deserved censure.
He said Mr Howard had argued that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and support of international terrorism threatened Australia. "It has become abundantly clear that the Prime Minister was not just a bit wrong. He was totally wrong," he told parliament.
Defence Minister Robert Hill said the Australian and other governments believed Saddam Hussein's weapons programs posed a very real danger.
Opposition Senate leader John Faulkner said Mr Howard had been loose with the truth on issues of national security.
Mr Howard was censured by the Senate in March 2002 over his failure to stop Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan's attack on High Court Justice Michael Kirby. - Source
As alarming evidence of the Bush administration's mendacity
began to surface this summer, there came an odd voice from the past. In a public television documentary marking the 30th anniversary of the Senate Watergate hearings, President Richard Nixon's White House operative Jeb Stuart Magruder confessed to hearing Nixon order the break-in of the Democratic headquarters.
Few Americans under the age of 50 will recognize his name. But in the distant summer of 1973, millions of people were glued to their TV sets, watching Magruder and his colleagues testify before Congress. Would these Nixon stalwarts incriminate their boss? And would they answer the riveting question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?"
Today's Congress is avoiding this kind of tough inquiry. Two weeks ago the
leaders of the House Intelligence Committee issued an interim report citing the "dearth" of hard data underpinning the National Intelligence Estimate, which was used to justify the war on Iraq.
They evaded the more fundamental question of whether members of the Bush administration engaged in fraud. So far congressional Republicans have blocked a full-scale investigation, while the Democrats are quiescent.
As presidents, the famously proactive Nixon and the notoriously inattentive Bush have little in common. Nevertheless, the Watergate experience has particular
relevance to our present condition. Though sometimes forgotten, the cluster of crimes and misdeeds associated with the White House "plumbers" unit was the outgrowth of a rancorous dispute inside the administration over U.S. intervention abroad.
Nixon's transgressions originated in the Vietnam War. Once he decided to begin
withdrawing troops, an American defeat was inevitable. Yet he and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger obsessively pursued victory, generating bitter conflict with career officials inside the Departments of State, Defense and the CIA, who objected to squandering more money and American lives for a doomed enterprise.
Viewing this dissent as "disloyalty," Nixon and Kissinger developed the habit of breaching normal governmental procedures: wire-tapping their own subordinates, doctoring classified documents, deceiving cabinet members and violating the military chain of command. Eventually their preoccupation with "leaks" produced the plumbers and precipitated the chain of events that led to the Watergate burglary.
In the George W. Bush administration, the usurpation of power has been
carried out by a small group of neo-conservative political appointees, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Wanting a war with Iraq for their own reasons, they recast their mission as a response to terrorism. By positing a link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein and circulating hair-raising claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, they prodded a frightened nation into war. Among those trampled in the stampede were the experts inside the national security bureaucracies whose information did not sustain the desired conclusions. The retaliation against former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, by naming his CIA-employed wife, is part of this pattern.
It took four years before Nixon and Kissinger abandoned their incoherent Vietnam strategy. By then almost 20,000 more American soldiers were dead,
many times that number were wounded in body and spirit, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese had perished. Will Congress allow the Bush administration to duplicate their willful blindness, when the outlines of our current disaster are already clear?
It is the same disdain for inconvenient facts, which characterized the Cheney-Rumsfeld drive to war, that currently underpins the failure of the
occupation. Having marginalized their own Middle East specialists and those military people who had experience of nation-building, they indulged a fantasy of a euphoric liberation. For that illusion our youngsters in uniform are dying almost every day.
Before their suffering and that of Iraqi civilians overwhelms our nation, Congress
should do its job. Its first responsibility is to illuminate the process by which our public was gulled into an invasion. For that purpose, it needs to obtain the testimony of the career officers in the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA. These people have an important story to tell, and a vigilant Congress should elicit their sworn statements, swiftly and publicly.
The new euphemism is that Bush officials made "selective use" of
intelligence. Perhaps this is so. An open investigation can clarify whether "selective use" became lies and if exaggerations became deliberate deception. Until that inquiry takes place and the culpable officials are removed, it would be a grave error to hand the administration an additional $87 billion for its ill-conceived project.
If Jeb Magruder is telling the truth, we can finally put to rest
the old Watergate mystery: "What did the president know and when did he know it?" As for Bush, the public has a right to learn whether he participated in a hoax or was simply the first dupe.
That can help us determine whether he should be impeached or simply retired at the next election. In either case, it is time for Congress to step up to its constitutional responsibility. - Source
Let's deal first with the myth -- that public schools are failing.
Long-term statistics from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as "The Nation's Report Card," indicate that reading scores for 17-year-olds were about the same in 1999 as in 1973. Given our increasingly visual, anti-reading culture, that's success.
Math scores are better than in the early '70s. Science scores, which declined sharply from 1969-82, have rebounded and are now only slightly lower than in 1969.
In other words, despite the social turmoil of the past 30 years -- increased immigration, higher divorce rates, more single-parent homes -- the nation's schools have actually performed pretty well. How then can you account for the perception of failure?
First, public schools, like all public institutions, have come under an insistent ideological attack by those who are hostile to any tax-supported endeavor. If it's public, and if taxes support it, then by definition it must be bad. The insistence by some that public schools be called "government schools" illustrates that mind-set perfectly.
Second, the stakes in education have gotten a lot higher. Twenty years ago, high school graduates or even dropouts could still earn a fair living. Median income for a college graduate was just 42.6 percent higher than that of a high school graduate.
By 2000, though, median income for a college graduate was 90 percent higher than that of a high school graduate. In other words, within a generation the economic advantage of getting a college education more than doubled.
That sent a strong market signal, and people have responded to it. In 1980, 49.3 percent of recent high school graduates were enrolled in college. By 2000, that figure had risen to 63.3 percent, setting off intense competition for college admissions.
So, while public schools have improved, parental anxiety about their kids' education has gone off the charts. And the schools have responded. Speaking from personal experience, the academic program my children experience in Atlanta public schools -- an inner-city, largely minority school system -- is considerably more rigorous than my own public-school education.
Now, let's address the fraud issue. Those who champion vouchers claim it will address the needs of children who today are being left behind by public schools, particularly in inner-city areas. That's just not true.
The movement's core theory is that given the economic freedom to choose, parents will search out better schools for their children, and by doing so become a force for reform. Good schools will get more business, and bad schools will fail, just as good restaurants succeed and bad ones close.
Of course, that's pure theory -- no statistics exist to support the claim that schools are like restaurants. But for the moment, let's accept that theory as fact.
Even under those terms, a voucher system could work only for those students whose parents care enough and know enough to get deeply involved in their kids' education. And as most classroom teachers will tell you, those students are already doing well.
Those students without parental involvement are the ones in need, the ones in whose name this "reform" is being sold. And they would not be helped at all.
To the contrary, the children of unmotivated, uneducated parents would be left behind in the worst schools under a voucher system, while the students and the parents motivated to demand better performance will leave.
And that, in the end, is the hidden danger of the voucher movement. Public schools used to be known as common schools, and they remain perhaps the last institution in which Americans of all types still attempt to forge a common national identity.
Vouchers offer us a tax-funded escape hatch from the untidy necessity of each other, encouraging us to seek custom-designed curricula and student bodies. If vouchers are ever widely adopted, they would further fragment a nation that is already struggling to define a common future. - Source
A year ago, on Oct. 1, one of the most important documents in U.S. history was published and couriered over to the White House.
The 90-page, top-secret report, drafted by the National Intelligence Council at Langley, included an executive summary for President Bush known as the "key judgments." It summed up the findings of the U.S. intelligence community regarding the threat posed by Iraq, findings the president says formed the foundation for his decision to preemptively invade Iraq without provocation. The report "was good, sound intelligence," Bush has remarked.
Most of it deals with alleged weapons of mass destruction.
But page 4 of the report, called the National Intelligence Estimate, deals with terrorism, and draws conclusions that would come as a shock to most Americans, judging from recent polls on Iraq. The CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the other U.S. spy agencies unanimously agreed that Baghdad:
had not sponsored past terrorist attacks against America,
was not operating in concert with al-Qaida,
and was not a terrorist threat to America.
"We have no specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime has directed attacks against U.S. territory," the report stated.
However, it added, "Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qaida could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct."
Sufficiently desperate? If he "feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime," the report explained.
"In such circumstances," it added, "he might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorists in conducting a CBW [chemical and biological weapons] attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him."
In other words, only if Saddam were provoked by U.S. attack would he even consider taking the "extreme step" of reaching out to al-Qaida, an organization with which he had no natural or preexisting relationship. He wasn't about to strike the U.S. or share his alleged weapons with al-Qaida – unless the U.S. struck him first and threatened the collapse of his regime.
Now turn to the next page of the same NIE report, which is considered the gold standard of intelligence reports. Page 5 ranks the key judgments by confidence level – high, moderate or low.
According to the consensus of Bush's intelligence services, there was "low confidence" before the war in the views that "Saddam would engage in clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland" or "share chemical or biological weapons with al-Qaida."
Their message to the president was clear: Saddam wouldn't help al-Qaida unless we put his back against the wall, and even then it was a big maybe. If anything, the report was a flashing yellow light against attacking Iraq.
Bush saw the warning, yet completely ignored it and barreled ahead with the war plans he'd approved a month earlier (Aug. 29), telling a completely different version of the intelligence consensus to the American people. Less than a week after the NIE was published, he warned that "on any given day" – provoked by attack or not, sufficiently desperate or not – Saddam could team up with Osama and conduct a joint terrorist operation against America using weapons of mass destruction.
"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," Bush said Oct. 7 in his nationally televised Cincinnati speech. "Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving fingerprints." The terrorists he was referring to were "al-Qaida members."
By telling Americans that Saddam could "on any given day" slip unconventional weapons to al-Qaida if America didn't disarm him, the president misrepresented the conclusions of his own secret intelligence report, which warned that Saddam wouldn't even try to reach out to al-Qaida unless he were attacked and had nothing to lose – and might even find that hard to do since he had no history of conducting joint terrorist operations with al-Qaida, and certainly none against the U.S.
If that's not lying, I don't know what is.
What's worse, the inconvenient conclusions about Iraq and al-Qaida were withheld from the unclassified version of the secret NIE report that Bush authorized for public release the day before his Cincinnati speech, as part of the launch of the White House's campaign to sell the war. The 25-page white paper, posted on the CIA website, focused on alleged weapons of mass destruction, and conveniently left out the entire part about Saddam's reluctance to reach out to al-Qaida. Americans also didn't see the finding that Saddam had no hand in 9-11 or any other al-Qaida attack against American territory. That, too, was sanitized.
Over the following months, in speech after speech, Bush went right on lying with impunity about the Iraq-al-Qaida threat, all the while flouting the judgments of his own intelligence agencies.
Even after the war, Bush continued the lie. "We have removed an ally of al-Qaida," he said May 1 from the deck of the USS Lincoln. "No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime."
In the glaring absence of any hard proof of either those alleged weapons or al-Qaida links, the White House press corps has finally put down their stenographer's pads and started asking tough questions, forcing the president to at least level with the American people about Saddam's assumed role in 9-11.
"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11" attacks, Bush confessed last month, finally repeating for the public what his own intelligence services had told him a year earlier.
The president's spokespeople say they're shocked, shocked, to learn that seven in 10 Americans tell pollsters they blame Saddam Hussein for the 9-11 attacks. Gee, they pondered, wherever did they get such an idea?
Oh, maybe from all the president's speeches and remarks suggesting Saddam was to blame for 9-11, starting with this one:
"Prior to Sept. 11, we thought two oceans would protect us," President Bush said about Iraq in an Oct. 14 speech in Michigan. "After Sept. 11, we've entered into a new era in a new war.
"This is a man that we know has had connections with al-Qaida," he continued, referring to Saddam. "This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army. And this is a man that we must deal with for the sake of peace."
Or this one:
"Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country," Bush said March 6 in a White House news conference. "The attacks of Sept. 11 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction."
"Used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror," he said at the same press conference. "Sept. 11 should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home."
In that press conference, Bush mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks nine times, Saddam 40 times, and Osama zero, effectively morphing Osama into Saddam, as I pointed out in a column just before the war.
During the war, Bush said he couldn't leave "enemies free to plot another Sept. 11 – this time, perhaps, with chemical, biological or nuclear terror."
In that April 5 radio address, he added: "We'll remove weapons of mass destruction from the hands of mass murderers."
Even when we found no weapons to remove, he continued to distort the truth about Iraq and 9-11.
"We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again," he said Aug. 26 in an American Legion speech, rationalizing his Iraq attack. "We will strike them before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens."
The juxtaposition was no accident. Just as it was no accident that the White House timed the media rollout of its war campaign for the first 9-11 anniversary.
No wonder 71 percent of Americans told University of Maryland pollsters after the war that they believe the "Bush administration implied that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks." A more recent Washington Post poll, as well as other polls, came up with roughly the same number.
Sadly, it's the small minority of respondents who said they saw no connection at all who most accurately reflect the views of the U.S. intelligence community, proving again the power of unfiltered propaganda.
A smoking gun found now wouldn't even undo the lies. It wouldn't negate the fact that the president had no such evidence before the war when he claimed Saddam and Osama were thick as thieves, contradicting the intelligence community's threat assessment. He simply turned around and told the public a whopper.
Forget that Bush lied about the reasons for putting our sons and daughters in harm's way in Iraq; and forget that he sent 140,000 troops there with bull's-eyes on their backs, then dared their attackers to bring it on.
It was the height of irresponsibility to have done so in the middle of a war on al-Qaida, the real and proven threat to America. Bush diverted those troops and other resources – including intelligence assets, Arabic translators and hundreds of billions of tax dollars – from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border. And now they've regrouped and are as threatening as ever.
That's inexcusable, and Bush supporters with any intellectual honesty and concern for their own families' safety should be mad as hell about it – and that's coming from someone who voted for Bush. - Source
Even before Robin Cook's revelations that Tony Blair went to war without believing in the threat from Saddam's phantom arsenal, the air had been leaking out of the inflated official claims. No longer was he a dictator with concealed WMD. Instead he had morphed into someone with weapons programmes, and his lethal strategic arsenal was downgraded to the unquantified potential of unidentified battlefield munitions that "military planning" determined could be ready for use in a 45-minute time frame. But this new formulation still allows for retrograde elasticity: "Military planning" could imply plans that are current, future or obsolete, and we still do not know which battlefield weapons it refers to. But seven months on from the attack on Iraq, it is time to stop and pay tribute to the system that the US administration so energetically derided, determined as it was to apply military solutions to a political problem: the UN weapons inspections process.
Nothing has been discovered in Iraq that was not known to exist as a result of the inspections. With breathtaking disingenuousness, Blair and Bush now deny that they ever gave the impression that Iraq was close to possessing nuclear weapons or the means of delivering them. The weapons for which we went to war, in the most recent versions, were chemical and biological. Now, even they have dematerialised - from actual weapons to a sinister but insubstantial potential.
But Iraq's potential to make chemical weapons was known to the UN as a result of its Unscom inspections in the mid-90s. According to former head of Unscom, Rolf Ekeus, it had "eliminated Iraq's capabilities fundamentally in all areas". They had accounted for and destroyed all but one of Saddam's missiles, his secret biological weapons programme and his chemical weapons programme.
It was also known that Iraq had retained the capacity to return to production. Why was that potential important to Iraq? In general terms, Iraq wanted to be a regional power. Specifically, Iraq's continuing preoccupation was with Iran. Chemical weapons had only been used during the war against Iran (in which, of course, Britain and the US were supporting Saddam) and both sides made use of them. Iraq still had such weapons at the time of the first Gulf war in 1991, but they are ineffective against a mobile and protected enemy and the US had threatened nuclear retaliation if Iraq did use them.
For Iraq, the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war had been an important factor in avoiding defeat. After a decade of sanctions and of deterioration in Iraq's conventional military capacity, Iraq was militarily much weaker than Iran and the importance of retaining a potential for chemical weapons even greater.
Neither Bush nor Blair have produced evidence that turns these unpleasant but familiar facts into a "current" threat against the US, the UK or even Iraq's immediate neighbours. The question, as the UN inspectors knew, was not whether Iraq maintained a capacity to resume production of such weapons, but whether that potential had been activated after British and US bombing ended the inspections in 1998. The resumption of UN inspections - under the US administration's credible threat of the use of force - would have answered that question.
The cost of this adventure can be counted in many ways: there is the damage to future potential for international action against rogue states; the risk of terrorism is heightened; and the possibility of disaffected personnel from Iraq's weapons programmes throwing in their lot with some kind of jihad is higher than before. Equally dangerous is the manner in which a system of internationally sanctioned monitoring and control has been sacrificed in favour of unilateral action.
If we have learned anything from this adventure, it is that weapons inspection - slow, unglamorous and difficult - is effective, even in a regime intent on concealment. If a rat poison factory is diverted to the manufacture of nerve agent, systematic monitoring can discover it. It may not look good on TV, but it works.
More dramatic interventions, on the other hand, have been counter productive. In 1981, Israel unilaterally bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor, supposedly to destroy Saddam's capacity to produce nuclear weapons. The bombing, in Ekeus' opinion, had no substantive impact on Iraq's nuclear potential. What it did do was encourage the Iraqis to speed up a clandestine development programme that brought them to the brink of nuclear capacity by 1990.
By the beginning of this year, US pressure through the UN had succeeded in forcing the resumption of inspections. We will probably never know what they might have found. But the next dictator who tries to transform himself from a local thug into an international menace by acquiring WMD will have less to fear from the difficult, patient and methodical inspections that the UN inspections teams pursued. Bush and Blair have seen to that. - Source
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