NY Times: The Faulty Weapons Estimates - 11 Jan 2004
NY Times: The Faulty Weapons Estimates -- 11 Jan 2004
Sun Jan 11 16:28:42 2004

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [PissedOffVeterans] New York Times editorial: The Faulty Weapons Estimates -- 11 Jan 2004
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 12:24:20 -0500
From: Randice randice@modempool.com

To: Pissed off Veterans pissedoffveterans@yahoogroups.com

Hello to the group! I'm in the anthrax vaccine arena, and mainly have and
share information as it becomes available regarding BW or BWV. I'm a pissed
off veteran too! Pissed off that I became ill after taking the anthrax
vaccine in 1998. Pissed off that I wasn't believed. Pissed off that I
wasn't helped. Pissed off because I was kicked out of service after 9 years
for refusing to take any more. Pissed off that this ludicrous program still
continues. Pissed off that I receive emails and phonecalls from those ill
looking for help. Overall, I think I'm just pissed off that once again, our
veteran's have been left behind.


The Faulty Weapons Estimates
New York Times
Published: January 11, 2004

There seems little doubt that the Bush administration's prime justification
for invading Iraq — the fear that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass
destruction — was way off base. Nine months of fruitless searching have made
increasingly clear.

But last week three new reports cast further doubt on the administration's
reckless rush to invade Iraq. Taken together, they paint a picture far
from the one presented to Americans early last year. They depict a world in
which Saddam Hussein, though undeniably eager to make Iraq a threatening world
power, was far from any serious steps to do that. The reports strengthen our
conviction that whatever threat Iraq posed did not require an immediate
invasion without international support. And they underline the importance of
finding out how far the Bush administration's obsession with the Iraqi dictator
warped the American intelligence reports that did so much to convince Congress and
the public that the attack was justified.

The likelihood that significant weapons of mass destruction will be found
seemed to grow even more remote last week with publication of an investigative
report by Barton Gellman in The Washington Post. Mr. Gellman, who perused
Iraqi documents and interviewed key Iraqis and members of the American search
team, found that Iraq's effort to produce terror weapons had been so thoroughly
beaten down by conflict, sanctions and arms embargoes that its forbidden
weapons program amounted mainly to wishful thinking.

A program to produce missiles with enough range to reach neighboring
capitals, for example, turned out to exist only in designs and computations
on two compact discs. Experts estimated it would have taken at least six years to
build the missile, if it had worked at all. A planned genetic engineering lab to
design germ weapons was never completed. Most dramatically of all, an
internal letter, written by Iraq's top unconventional-weapons official in 1995
to one of Saddam Hussein's sons, asserted unequivocally that Iraq had destroyed
its entire inventory of biological weapons agents in 1991, proving the falsity
of intelligence estimates that Iraq still possessed large quantities of germ

The failure to find anything significant has particularly disturbed Kenneth
Pollack, a former Clinton administration national security official whose
book "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" led many moderates and
Democrats to believe that an invasion was justified — at least in time to
prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring nuclear weapons, a prospect that seemed
only a few years away. Now, in an article in The Atlantic magazine, Mr. Pollack
anguishes over how estimates of Iraq's capabilities could have been so far

He puts most of the blame on the intelligence community, which overestimated
the scope and progress of Iraq's weapons programs starting in the late 1990's,
partly because a lack of hard evidence led analysts to assume the worst. But
he also condemns the Bush administration for distorting the intelligence
estimates in making the case for going to war, particularly by implying that
Iraq could have had a nuclear weapon within a year when estimates suggested five
to seven years was more likely. Even that number now looks far-fetched given
that Iraq's nuclear program was virtually eliminated.

Analysts at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace also found that
three intelligence services that are arguably the best in the world — those
of the United States, Britain and Israel — were tragically unable to provide
accurate information on Iraq. But the Carnegie experts are even harsher in
condemning the administration for deliberate exaggerations. They argue that
the intelligence community gave reasonably cautious assessments up until
mid-2002, when official statements and estimates suddenly became increasingly
alarmist. The Carnegie analysts accuse the Bush administration of putting
intense pressure on intelligence experts to conform, of minimizing the
existence of dissenting views, and of routinely dropping caveats and
uncertainties in painting a worst-case picture.

What emerges most forcefully from these reports is the need for two thorough
inquiries. Even though members of the American search team in Iraq told Mr.
Gellman they hold little prospect for major discoveries of forbidden weapons,
the search must continue vigorously to a conclusion, preferably with the
assistance of United Nations inspectors who have a huge database on Iraq and
are more credible to much of the world. Back home, a nonpartisan investigation
independent of political pressures from the administration and Congress is
needed to get a better sense of how judgments about Iraq were so disastrously

Nothing can be fixed until we know for sure how it happened.

Iraq's WMD Intelligence: Where is the Outrage?
... CommonDreams.org. Iraq's WMD Intelligence: Where is the Outrage? by
US Senator Robert Byrd Senate Floor Remarks - June 5, 2003. With ...

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