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May 30, 2003

BLAIR COOK ON WMD....This is from Fred Kaplan's article in Slate today about the missing WMD:

Like most public events, wars, even premeditated wars, rarely have a single rationale. But a powerful rejoinder comes from Tony Blair, the British prime minister. "I have absolutely no doubt at all about the existence of weapons of mass destruction," Blair told reporters on Thursday. Asked if it matters whether they exist, Blair replied, "It matters immensely because the basis on which the war was sold to the British House of Commons, to the British people, was that Saddam represented a serious threat."

Good for Tony, I thought, at least he's sticking to his guns that the existence of WMD was vitally important as a justification for war.

Nope. Kaplan screwed up. That quote actually comes from Robin Cook, who opposed the war all along.

Blair, it turns out, was in Warsaw at the time, obviously getting a little bit sweaty and overtalkative about the whole situation....

Posted by Kevin Drum at May 30, 2003 07:45 PM | TrackBack


Comments

I guess a part of me is just brimming with schadenfreude, but in fairness to everyone involved, this is a Hobson's choice, assuming WMD's are not found: either there was willful deceit (yes, slanting reports to achieve an end not borne out by the facts is willful deceit), or the intelligence was not up to the task.

The question now is will an unquestioning public on both sides of the Atlantic give credence to subsequent claims against Iran or Syria?

Posted by: Randy Paul at May 30, 2003 08:15 PM | PERMALINK

Step right up folks, and place your bets! Assuming anthrax doesn't turn up in the next few days, WHAT is Tony's response?

1) Attempt to shift the focus to liberation?
2) Admit he was incorrect, and then go the silver lining route? (At least we removed an evil dictator...).
3) Claim he was given bad intel?
4) State he trusted Bush and America and even now can't understand how they can be wrong, so give it time?
5) Stammer a lot, and hope no one starts digging into who ordered the British dossier to be tarted up a bit...

Take your bets! Take your bets....House picks 4!

Posted by: Morat at May 30, 2003 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

or 6) All of the above

Posted by: boban at May 30, 2003 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you know, the Prime Minister was clearly trying to manipulate British public opinion by lying to them because he needed oil for American oil companies. I hear Blair also wanted to help out Cheney and Haliburton.....

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at May 30, 2003 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Sebastian, maybe you can spin this whole thing as one big liberal conspiracy! Maybe that will shift some of the focus from the massive deception that just led this country into war.

I'm sure that's what the righties inside the beltway will do. It will be trickier than usual, what with the incontravertable lack of WMD, and the incontravertable fact that Bush sold the war based on WMD, and controversial-but-still-highly-likely fact that Bush and the Pentagon pressured intelligence agencies to present selective and in some cases forged evidence... but the righties are very clever and have access to a gimp mouthpiece media machine, so I suspect they'll do all right.

Posted by: Realish at May 31, 2003 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Right Wing Attack Technique # 13a: The Hydra

Propose a rationale. When reality exposes the rationale as foolish, quickly propose two more.Repeat.

Posted by: tristero at May 31, 2003 03:38 AM | PERMALINK

tristero, you (or someone) should write a book. Rather than debunking each and every one every time it's thrown onto a blog board (as if at a wall, to see what will stick), we could just use numbers.

Actually, I'd love to see a site like the snopes site dedicated to debunking right wing talking points, things like, "Blix claimed there were weapons stockpiles too". Then each one could be responded to with merely a url. It wouldn't be a bad investment of some rich liberal's money; then we could all save a lot of time responding to the same lies and misrepresentations over and over, and start thinking about how we'll hold President Dean's feet to the fire.

And why don't I see Sebastian Holsclaw as a terribly credible source for articulating the arguments of the antiwar movement?

Posted by: Demetrios at May 31, 2003 07:01 AM | PERMALINK

But now the Big Lie has begun concerning those
two woeful trailers. Weeks from now the public
will forget the sight of the trailers, but aWol
will be quoted again and again about how WMDs
were found at the end of May.

Posted by: Bart at May 31, 2003 07:10 AM | PERMALINK

because he needed oil for American oil companies.

You know, there's British oil companies too.. Shell, for instance, and that little outfit called BP.

I'm going to leave determining the meaning of BP as an excercise for the student.

Posted by: John Yuda at May 31, 2003 09:15 AM | PERMALINK

According to Josh Marshall, the hawks are going to try to pin the WMD fiasco on Powell and the State Department.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/may0304.html#0530031111pm

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard at May 31, 2003 09:43 AM | PERMALINK

John Yuda writes, replying to Sebastian Holsclaw (who does not and cannot deserve any reply more sophisticated than "FUCK! YOU! COMPLETELY!"):

because he needed oil for American oil companies.

You know, there's British oil companies too.. Shell, for instance, and that little outfit called BP.

And a little outfit called the Carlyle Group. But Sebastian would rather pretend they didn't exist.

Posted by: Tuxedo Slack at May 31, 2003 09:44 AM | PERMALINK

OK, folks, keep it clean.....

Posted by: Kevin Drum at May 31, 2003 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian Holsclaw (who does not and cannot deserve any reply more sophisticated than [censored)

That's ridiculously unfair to Sebastian. He's one of the more honest debators on here, just because you disagree with him is no reason to treat him with that kind of dreck.

Posted by: John Yuda at May 31, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I remember pre-war, that Bush mentioned "regime change" as a casus belli, and this was big news in the Guardian and the Independent, enough so it began to disrupt the Anglo-American partnership. It seems that the UK made war solely on the basis of violations of the UN resolutions, and perhaps in order to disarm Iraq, but for no other (legal) reason. Certainly not humanitarian ones. Whatever humanitarian benefit might come from this (eliminated Saddam's rule) was comforting, only. Blair specifically said as much. Immediately prior to the war, the Chancellor (or some other high-up legal authority) gave his opinion to Blair that launching the war without a second UN resolution wouldn't be a war crime. That ruling was disputed, but not forcefully, at the time. I think that Blair isn't backing down because he can't without admitting that Government undertook illegal action. I could be wrong, but I'm certain Blair, perhaps any PM, will find it harder to fudge accountablility.

That's why they're the last English-speaking republic.

Posted by: Brian C.B. at May 31, 2003 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to see if many lefties would latch on to the 'Tony Blair is a pawn of the oil conspiracy' meme that I was thinking of putting out there. I would think that you guys would be to smart to latch on to something that ridiculous, but I was clearly wrong.
:)

So, anyone who isn't totally crazy want to explain why Blair signed up for the war if there wasn't a good reason to believe that WMD existed in Iraq? Is British intelligence as bad as the CIA?

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at June 1, 2003 04:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian:

Did Blair have any real choice? Look at how the Bush administration treats its detractors, or even anyone who doesn't fully sign on to its platforms. The entire "special relationship" between America and Britain would go down the tubes if Blair had not supported Bush.

And where would that leave Britain? For all that Blair supports being part of Europe, the EU is dominated by the French and the Germans, who historically have not been the best of friends with Britain. Blair wants to be part of Europe, but he wants Britain to have a large say in Europe, and it can't do that without the "special relationship".

So, really, did he have a choice?

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