Friday, May 30, 2003

In the wake of Paul Wolfowitz's statement, in a Vanity Fair interview, that Dubya's crew pushed WMD as a casus belli against Iraq less because they actually believed he had any, than "because it was the one reason everyone could agree on" to mount an invasion, Billmon has a near-definitive collection of quotes from administration officials from Dubya himself on down about their eroding certainty on the matter, starting with Dick Cheney, who had "no doubt" last August.

But he seems to have missed one truly precious piece of back-pedaling, reported so far only by Global Security Newswire, which quotes administration hawk John Bolton as saying that Iraq's "intellectual capacity" to make dangerous weapons was the real casus belli:

Bolton said U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors "could have inspected for years and years and years and probably never would have found weapons-grade plutonium or weapons-grade uranium."

"But right in front of them was the continued existence of what Saddam Hussein called the 'nuclear mujahadeen,' the thousand or so scientists, technicians, people who have in their own heads and in their files the intellectual property necessary at an appropriate time" to recreate a nuclear weapons program.

So if he killed them all, would Bolton be happy?

Probably not -- as I keep mentioning, enough of the physics required to design a bomb is in the open literature, that a Princeton undergraduate produced a reportedly workable design in 1978. So long as there was a half-bright college student anywhere in Iraq, the regime could not be allowed to stand. And not just for our safety, but for the safety and security of all the other governments in the world, of course.

In the meantime, get ready for more stark certainties about the next imminent threat that needs to be taken out now: Iran, where Stratfor is reporting that a final date for invasion will be set May 29th. But not North Korea, which the CIA now believes to be "on their way to be able to make hundreds [of nukes] within the next couple of years;" without anything else around that the United States considers a strategic resource, how much of a problem can they really be?


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