We knew WMD intelligence was flawed, but there was a larger failure of officials, media and public to halt the neocon juggernaut

by Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson
guardian.co.uk
Wednesday 27 February 2013


US Secretary of State Colin Powell holding up a vial that could be used to hold anthrax, in his presentation to the UN in February 2003, ahead of the Iraq invasion. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/EPA

It has been 10 long years since “Shock and Awe” – the opening bombardment of Baghdad – lit up the skies above the Tigris. A decade later, we know far more about the case the Bush administration made to the world to justify its war of choice to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Books like Hubris by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, and British commission and US Senate reports have catalogued the extent to which intelligence was misused to mislead the public.

Yet, even as the intervening period has brought profound change for the United States and its role in the world, have we learned the lessons of that disastrous period? And what were those lessons?

For nearly a year prior to the invasion, President Bush and his administration peppered the airwaves with serious accusations against Saddam Hussein, including claims of aluminum tubes that could be used in centrifuges to enrich uranium, and of Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium yellowcake from Africa. The intelligence supporting the claims was either not believed or was highly disputed by the experts. But that did not stop senior government officials from repeating them incessantly; nor did it prevent the powerful neoconservative ideologues who were the war’s most fervent supporters from parroting them with menacingly jingoistic passion.

Read more