"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
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in the
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Friday, November 03, 2006

New York Times:
Iraq was "on the verge of building an atom bomb."

The New York Times is reporting that, prior to the American invasion, Saddam Hussein's scientists were months away from constructing an atomic weapon. Story in this morning's paper, online HERE.

The information was apparently in the large cache of captured Iraqi documents that were put online:
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
While the Times appears to be trying to spin this story as showing some mistake by the Bush administration, it would seem to put an end to the mantra of the Times and its friends that the war was a mistake from the beginning, inasmuch as no weapons of mass destruction had been located. How perfect that the Times should find them.

Jim Geraghty at NRO:
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 New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.

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. Game, set, and match.
[UPDATE - 10:00 a.m.] Mark Levin:
So, the New York Times reports on its front page today that Saddam Hussein had the necessary information and expertise to build nuclear weapons as far back as pre-1991, and that the information is so damning even now that posting it on a public website fifteen years later could assist other regimes, including Iran, in building such weapons.

The Times has just confirmed two things: 1. President Bush was right when he said that Hussein was a threat to the world because, among other things, he would continue to pursue weapons of mass destruction; and 2. congressional Republicans were right in demanding a more aggressive and thorough effort by the Pentagon to interpret the enormous number of documents captured from the Iraqi regime.

The Times's emphasis on "Republicans" demanding the release of these documents and the administration's posting them on a public website was an obvious attempt by the newspaper to cause some kind of eleventh-hour Republican embarrassment. The Times had hoped the weekend before the election would be spent debating the handling of this information rather than its existence and substance. But it was wrong. This is a stunning find that confirms a primary basis for the president ordering the military to remove Hussein from power. This finding also strikes a blow to the Democrat mantra that the president lied to get us into the war with Iraq.

The Democrats and their partners in the liberal media demand to know what the president plans to do to stop Iran and North Korea from securing nuclear weapons. Yet, when he did, in fact, stop Iraq from getting those same weapons, he is loudly denounced for it.
[UPDATE - 10:20]The unhinged left is reacting oddly.

Duncan Black thinks the story is somehow funny: "This is even funnier than it sounds . . . ." I'm not sure I understand any take that would make the story "funny," either "funny odd" or "funny ha ha." Is there some other kind of funny known only to the illuminati?

Daily Kos is sticking with the party line: "Bush Helped Iran Get Nukes!" They seem oblivous to the fact that if these documents would advance Iran's nuclear program (which "everyone knows" is terribly dangerous, and about which BushHitler has done nothing, nothing, nothing) then they also establish that Saddam Hussein's program was far more dangerous, just as Mr. Bush has argued all along. Glad to have the Kossacks on board.

[UPDATE - 11:55] Professor Reynolds:
Judging from some of the delighted emails I'm getting, I need to warn people not to get too carried away -- this doesn't say that Saddam would have had a bomb in 2004. But it does say that he had all the knowledge needed to have a bomb in short order. And as we know he was looking to reconstitute his program once sanctions were ended -- and that sanctions were breaking down in 2003 -- that's pretty significant. However, perhaps even more significant, given that we knew most of the above already, is that the NYT apparently regards the documents that bloggers have been translating for months as reliable, which means that reports of Iraqi intelligence's relations with Osama bin Laden, and "friendly" Western press agencies, are presumably also reliable.

Comments on "New York Times:
Iraq was "on the verge of building an atom bomb."


Anonymous 'chesty' said ... (9:55 AM) : 

we already knew saddam had these documents, and that he had documents on how to build various biological and nerve agents. but we didn't go to war because we knew he had scary instruction manuals that might conceivably get out. we went to war because we were told he was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction (he wasn't).

as to this contention that saddam might have decided to pass this information along to al qaeda or iran: it's currently fashionable to assume that there are two types of people in the world, those who hate freedom and those who don't. and of course it follows that all those who hate freedom are, by default, best buddies and close collaborators. it's a very tidy perspective on international affairs. unfortunately it fails almost utterly to reflect reality of the world we live in ("hooray! we'll be welcomed as liberators! there will be dancing in the streets! we don't need to worry about a little thing like sectarian animosity or the possibility of igniting a civil war. they're all the same!"). saddam had been in posession of this atomic cookbook for over a decade, and hadn't yet passed it on to al qaeda. why? for the same reason iraq and iran never joined forces against the US. they didn't necessarily like each other. saddam was a power crazy, effectively secular dictator. no chance in hell he was going to undercut his own power by running around handing out his state secrets to everyone and anyone just because they also happened to really dislike the US.

incidentally, if we were afraid al qaeda might somehow obtain instructions on building a nuclear bomb, the best solution wouldn't be spending billions trying to wipe out the person we think might give them the instructions (there are many others with those same documents ready to step into line now that saddam's gone; some of them even play nicer with al qaeda). the better solution would have been spending all that time and energy getting rid of al qaeda.


Blogger Gentleman Farmer said ... (10:12 AM) : 

Glad you agree Saddam was "on the verge of building an atom bomb," and that we won't hear "Bush Lied, People Died" any more. I was unaware that, as you contend, this was widely known. Apparently, as you say, everyone knew it. That's fine with me.


Anonymous #1 Son said ... (2:03 PM) : 

You can really be a total fucking nutjob when you want to, can't you, dad?


Blogger Gentleman Farmer said ... (2:13 PM) : 

The Times said it; I believe it; that settles it.


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