The Case for War

THE CASE FOR WAR….Dan Drezner says he’s not too worked up about the uranium brouhaha because it wasn’t a big part of the reason he supported the war. Kieran Healy says fine, but it was a big part of the reason the president supported the war, and if the president’s case for war was built on a series of untruths then that’s something we should all get worked up about.

Today, Dan decides to take the afternoon off and let other people defend him, but he does say this:

I will, however, make one additional suggestion. The power of the critique against Bush would be strengthened if it could be shown that a significant fraction of the American public — as well as the legislative branch — supported action against Iraq only because of the claim that Hussein’s regime had an active nuclear weapons program.

Now, Dan’s skepticism on this point might be correct, although the Bush administration’s apparently obsessive desire to make sure the word “nuclear” got into his speech even as all the evidence of Saddam’s nuclear program was melting away leads me to believe that they thought it made a difference.

Still, there’s a much bigger point that Dan doesn’t address: we haven’t found any WMD. I’d say that a significant fraction of both the American public and the legislative branch did support action against Iraq because they thought Saddam had chemical and biological weapons that posed a significant threat. The importance of the uranium controversy, therefore, is that it is slowly getting people to look behind the curtain of the broader WMD charges, and what they’re seeing doesn’t look too good. If it turns out that the entire WMD edifice was built on shaky and panicky non-intelligence, that’s going to make all the difference in the world.

Of course, all the results on that aren’t in yet, and we may yet find something. I’m willing to give it until September.