Thursday, May 27, 2004
Before the war: we believed intelligence estimates and dissident reports about WMD and terrorist links
After the war: we jumped on the Administration for "lying" about WMD and terrorist links
Now: if we had thought more carefully about it before the war, we wouldn’t have believed intelligence estimates and dissident reports about WMD and terrorist links
Future: we will jump harder on the Administration for "lying" about WMD and terrorist links
A major hole in the "Bush lied" mantra has always been that he believed and said nothing different than many others from across the political spectrum. To believe that "Bush lied" was to imply that either everyone lied or he and his administration, unique among all others, "figured it out" and yet still clung to the party line. It looks as if someone at the NYT is trying to plug that hole by saying they could have known it was all "bunk" if they had just done their homework. By extension, it is possible that the administration really did know, but hid the truth. For some reason, I keep having visions of Pee Wee Herman falling off his bike and saying "I meant to do that".
What we really have in this article is the NYT trying to excuse their attacks on others for believing what they themselves believed as well. That they do so using two specific examples (Salman Pak and biological facilities) that either have independent corroboration or are unverifiable demonstrates just how difficult it would have been prior to the war to "know" the things they believe today. Perhaps I am too cynical, but I see little more than plausible deniability for harsher criticism of the Administration yet to come being masquerading as a humble admission of fault.