Saturday, July 29, 2006
Christopher Hitchens, who has been doing first rate work on the extent of Saddam Hussein's hunt for yellowcake in Niger, isolates the question that any American president would have had to consider carefully in 2002:
To summarize, then: In February 1999 one of Saddam Hussein's chief nuclear goons paid a visit to Niger, but his identity was not noticed by Joseph Wilson, nor emphasized in his "report" to the CIA, nor mentioned at all in his later memoir. British intelligence picked up the news of the Zahawie visit from French and Italian sources and passed it on to Washington. Zahawie's denials of any background or knowledge, in respect of nuclear matters, are plainly laughable based on his past record, and he is still taken seriously enough as an expert on such matters to be invited (as part of a Jordanian delegation) to Hans Blix's commission on WMD. Two very senior and experienced diplomats in the field of WMDs and disarmament, both of them from countries by no means aligned with the Bush administration, have been kind enough to share with me their disquiet at his activities. What responsible American administration could possibly have viewed any of this with indifference?
Of course, there are policies that lie between "indifference" and launching an invasion of Iraq, but they were increasingly difficult to sustain, what with all the international opposition to and subversion of the containment regime that had prevailed since 1991.
It's a puzzle to me now that we have clear evidence, documented evidence, that Iran is building the bomb, we are using the very long way around (again) and expecting some other result.
What is that saying again, about doing something, the same way over and over and expecting different results?