Tuesday, March 30, 2004

No News Is Bad News Department, a.k.a. When Does Absence of Evidence Become Evidence of Absence?

The search for WMD in Iraq is still on, of course. Overseeing the effort for the U.S. now is Charles A. Duelfer, who took over the reigns of the Iraq Survey Group from David Kay in January of this year.

The ISG's latest findings? New data but no weapons.

According to the New York Times, "a lack of cooperation from ousted Iraqi officials [is] thwarting American efforts to untangle the many remaining mysteries surrounding Iraq's suspected illicit weapons program."

Read Duelfer's testimony to Congress here. (Supposedly, a declassified version of the report was to be published today. I can't find it.)

For the founding of the Iraq Survey Group, go here. For the group's last report, issued under David Kay in October 2003, go here.

In the October report, presented to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Kay said: "We have not yet found stocks of weapons, but we are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone."

In January of this year, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay said, in his opening remarks: "Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here. . . . It turns out that we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing."

But regardless of whether or not anyone *ever* finds any WMD in Iraq, there is no denying that the Bush administration — in particular, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz — intentionally sought to mislead Americans (and the whole rest of the world as well) about the immediacy of the threat posed to us.

They said, 'The weapons are there and we know it; they are an imminent threat.' Rumsfeld even claimed to know the chemical and biological weapons' location, sort of: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." (March 30, 2003; bottom, page 16)

But you know what: They didn't know it; and they knew they didn't knew. That means they were lying. It's that simple.