Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bush was right before he was dumb

Looking at the NY Times yesterday I was struck by this article's insistance that the Bush administration made a fatal and horrific error in letting information about how to build an atomic bomb out to the public by way of secret documents discovered in Iraq displayed on the internet.  (First seen on Instapundit)
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams,
equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear
experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere
on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers
give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and
triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

Apparently this isn't the first time either.
The government had received earlier warnings about the contents of the
Web site. Last spring, after the site began posting old Iraqi documents
about chemical weapons, United Nations
arms-control officials in New York won the withdrawal of a report that
gave information on how to make tabun and sarin, nerve agents that kill
by causing respiratory failure.

The administration did this under pressure from congressional Republicans worried that they wouldn't be able to adequately research the 48,000 boxes of documents for clues that Hussein did actually have weapons and weapons programs in support of their decision to invade the country.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in
the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making
sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the
Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s
scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a
year away.

OK, this is the whacked part.  I'll admit that the process of releasing this data wasn't air tight.  Bush and company look pretty bad for releasing the data pell mell, and he can't just say "because they told me to," of senate Republicans, and look like a responsible adult.  It's possible that Iran and many other countries are now a "year away" from producing their own nukes because of this information.
However, you do need materials to make the bomb out of, the most important being fission matter, like say: yellowcake.
They would have needed something like... um... you know... what's that stuff called? Oh, that's right.
But we know Iraq would never make an effort to get yellowcake. Joe Wilson had tea with officials in Niger who said so.

That's right.  While rightly chastising the administration for it's handling of sensitive and secret data (which the Times is being hypocritical for doing anyway), the Times all but admits on it's face that Bush was right 3 and a half years ago when we invaded Iraq.  The country was closer to building a bomb than Iran, and was trying to get sanctions and inspections lifted before 2003.   So everything the Times and the left have been trying to do over the last three years to convince us that Bush was lying is contradicted by an article in the Times itself.
I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a "Boy,
did Bush screw up" meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock
down the "there was no threat in Iraq" meme, once and for all. Because
obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any
other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly
pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in
nuclear arms. You know, like, oh... al-Qaeda.
The antiwar crowd is going to have to argue that the information
somehow wasn't dangerous in the hands of Saddam Hussein, but was
dangerous posted on the Internet. It doesn't work. It can't be both no
threat to America and yet also somehow a threat to America once it's in
the hands of Iran.
Captain Ed points out that by declaring the documents a serious security threat, they are also suporting their authenticity.  So if the documents are authentic Iraqi security secrets, this little tidbit will also prove hard to explain for the anti-war crowd.
This is apparently the Times' November surprise, but it's a surprising
one indeed. The Times has just authenticated the entire collection of
memos, some of which give very detailed accounts of Iraqi ties to
terrorist organizations. Just this past Monday, I posted a memo
which showed that the Saddam regime actively coordinated with
Palestinian terrorists in the PFLP as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On September 20th, I reposted a translation of an IIS memo written four days after 9/11 that worried the US would discover Iraq's ties to Osama bin Laden.

And he also point to some documents in this mass of information that highlight Saddam's contacts with bin Laden in the mid 90s.  So how much more evidence does the left crowd need before it shuts down the "Bush lied about WMD" thing?

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