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David Bracewell



Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 41

Post Post subject: to David Ignatius of the Washington Post Reply with quote

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17489-2004Feb5.html

Ignatius' article "Missed signals on WMD"

David,

This is a bizarre new take on a weapons inspector's job. By not forcefully making the case that all weapons had been destroyed, they encouraged the march to war . There is, it has to be conceded, a tiny, element of near-truth here - in the punches pulled by Blix to accomodate a bellicose and nasty US president. Tiny. And yet we know that the US and UK were saying that they had irrefutable intelligence as to actual, existing, ready to use weapons of mass destruction. What is Blix to think in this case? How were inspectors to make this 'forceful' case related to the 1990s inspections when claims of 'irrefutable' secret evidence were pulled like a a rabbit out of the hat by the US at every opportunity? Let's admit it, the inspectors were browbeaten by 2 ugly political leaderships with false claims of hard evidence.

When will the sophistry end? When will you - the US press and you in particular - 'smoke out' the 'evildoers' of your own administration (to use this execrable president's hokesy vocabulary) instead of shifting your focus away to relative innocents?

Kamel's mid-nineties debriefing was simply ignored by the Bush administration. Ekeus' previous comments on the level of disarmament were as well. And ex-Chief Weapons inspector Scott Ritter? It would be interesting to know how loud he was expected to shout before anyone listened to him. This was the man who would know, I would imagine. Ever thought of having an interview with him? I don't recall anyone in the mainstream press being at all interested in interviewing him when it could have done some good.

"The mistrust was amplified by Hussein's antagonism toward the U.N. inspectors, whom he regarded as spies who might threaten his personal security...". Saddam was right, according to Ritter (whose track record in this area so far puts the US press to shame). CIA agents were filtered into the teams. But even this is irrelevant. Isn't it a baseline expectation that a dictator would be antagonistic in such a circumstance? And yet - Saddam in fact was pretty compliant. Jafar's initial point is ultimately this. Refer to Ritter again.

With all the evidence of sheer duplicity by the administration before your eyes, its hard to know how this interview with Jafar and its obfuscation of responsibility serve the purpose of your profession - to reveal hard and impalatable truths. Really, with all due respect, it is. Intelligence is NOT the story, administration misuse of it is.

Kind regards

David Bracewell
Nelson, BC
Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:06 am
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David Bracewell



Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 41

Post Post subject: David Ignatius , Washington Post, responds - Reply with quote

A brief answer to a good question: As a journalist, I felt a responsibility
to report what Jafar told me--not what I think he should have said. To my
surprise, he focused on the UN Inspectors. The more I have thought about
this, the more I have concluded he was making a useful, if contrarian,
point. The UN inspectors were the only ones in a position to call the US
and Britain on its misconstruction (or deliberate misuse) of the
intelligence. More to the point, since the role of UN inspectors in
proliferation issues is going to become more important, they need to find
ways to tell the world what they know.

David Ignatius
Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:56 am
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Michael Hardiman



Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Posts: 110

Post Post subject: A point ot make Reply with quote

David,
Should you continue your correspondence I think it might be worthy to ask the following question, to which i have yet to hear an answer. If we justify certain things with the argument that
Quote:
since the role of UN inspectors in
proliferation issues is going to become more important, they need to find
ways to tell the world what they know

we should ask not only how they can get information to the world but also who is doing the investigation, why they are doing it, and if they are equipped to decide who can have weapons of mass destruction. Remembering the words of Geoff Hoon the British minister for defense who claimed that Britain would use nuclear warheads if necessary leads one to the conclusion that those doing the searching are the very same people who are most likely to use WMD.

Interesting how he hid behind a rather limp wristed desire to improve the info getting out
while avoiding what is the scalding hot sunstantive issue for those in the world who want to peacefully go about our business.
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Michael Hardiman
Mon Feb 09, 2004 8:13 pm
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