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Friday, August 01, 2003

NY Times=Pravda
Michael R. Gordon has picked up where Judith Miller left off, selling tired old Bushie excuses as a bold and entirely plausible theory that may account for the mystery over Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein, the theory holds, ordered the destruction of his weapon stocks well before the war to deprive the United States of a rationale to attack his regime and to hasten the eventual lifting of the United Nations sanctions. But the Iraqi dictator retained the scientists and technical capacity to resume the production of chemical and biological weapons and eventually develop nuclear arms.

Mr. Hussein's calculation was that he could restart his weapons programs once the international community lost interest in Iraq and became absorbed with other crises. That would enable him to pursue his dream of making Iraq the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region and make it easier for him to deter enemies at home and abroad.

Gordon then goes on to claim that this "bold and plausible theory" made invading Iraq a judgment call, instead of the gross violation of international law, the UN charter, and hence the US constitution that it was:

If true, it means that the Iraqi threat was less immediate than the administration asserted but more worrisome than the critics now suggest. And it means the decision to use military force to pre-empt that threat was not an urgent necessity but a judgment call, one that can be justified as the surest way to put an end to Iraq's designs but still one about which ardent defenders of the United States' security can disagree.

Recently the emphasis by Bush and others has been that the war was justified because Saddam was a brutal dictator who murdered his own people. Now Gordon is offering the fact that Saddam "retained" some scientists, that is did not kill them or force them to leave the country, as evidence to justify the invasion.

Gordon continues with this whopper:

It is already clear that much of the recent debate over Iraq's weapons programs has been too simplistic. In recent months, the discussion of Iraq's intentions seems to have oscillated from one extreme to another. Iraq was described by hawks before the war as a nation that was an imminent threat to the United States, bristling with chemical and biological weapons, or C.B.W., as intelligence agencies call them. Now the administration's critics seem to suggest that the absence of weapons stocks means that the Saddam Hussein regime had somehow abandoned its goal to be an assertive regional power.

Does Gordon name a single critic who suggested that? What difference does it make? The only even remotely legal justification for the invasion was that Iraq was an immediate threat to the United States. That is what the Bushies claimed, and was the justification that they gave to the UN after the invasion started. The absence of weapons means that Iraq was not a threat in March, 2003, and therefore it violated international law to invade. Bush presented no credible evidence of WMD's beforehand. He hinted that he knew more, but that has now been discredited by the failure to find anything. And if they try to claim that having a goal to be an "assertive regional power" is justification for a pre-emptive attack, I think they will have then justified 9/11 and any other attacks on the US that may occur. There is no more assertive regional power than the US in ANY region on earth.

What an atrocious piece of "journalism."