Friday, January 09, 2004

Re: A Last Gasp for WMD's?

I disagree that that the public has lost interest regarding whether the Bush administration misstated the intelligence on Iraq's threat to America--although they may have temporarily misplaced it. The topic is Bush's Achilles' heel and I would be altogether dumbstruck if his chief foe does not vigorously attack him on it.

As for the Carnegie Endowment's report (the full report may be downloaded here, or a summary here), I am very apprehensive about its conclusions, although I shall reserve judgment until I have had the opportunity to read the report carefully. I am curious how a non-governmental organization such as the CEIP can confidently assert that the "[i]ntelligence community overestimated the chemical and biological weapons in Iraq" without obtaining the confidential documents on which the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate was based. Even if the key findings are indeed supported by facts, the policy recommendations seem at first glance to reach far beyond weapons of mass destruction. For instance, the report lists as its first recommended change to U.S. Policy: "Revise the National Security Strategy to eliminate a U.S. policy of unilateral preventive war, i.e., preemptive war in absence of imminent threat."

I respect the Carnegie Endowment as the most reliable source available to me regarding foreign policy, and I frequently draw on Foreign Policy, its flagship publication, for its well-balanced coverage. I sincerely hope that its factual and policy conclusions withstand scrutiny. Should it fail in its bold claims, I would not know where to turn to find its replacement.

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