THOSE IRAQI DOCUMENTS….Marc Lynch is delighted that the Bush administration is finally releasing captured Iraqi documents, but then goes on to provide an obvious warning:
Their value depends entirely on their comprehensiveness, and that they are vetted on a nonpartisan and scholarly basis. If all the released documents support the administration’s case for war (like the infamous Feith memo of cherry-picked intelligence about Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda leaked to Steve Hayes), then the release becomes worse than useless.
One hates to be cynical so early in the morning, but seriously: what are the odds that these documents are going to be “vetted on a nonpartisan and scholarly basis”? Every single piece of intelligence ever made public by the Bush administration ? every single piece ? has been cherry picked for maximum partisan effectiveness. Surely no one seriously believes it’s going to be any different this time?
Along those lines, Marc provides both some sound advice and an almost certainly well-founded expectation that no one will listen to him:
The only prediction I’m confident making: a lot of people are going to dive into these things, and find what they’re looking for. Here’s a line in a transcript which proves, proves, that Saddam ordered 9/11! Here’s a document which proves, proves, that Saddam and Zarqawi never had anything to do with each other! Here’s one that proves, proves, that Saddam had nukes! Here’s one that proves, proves, that Saddam didn’t have nukes! I’d advise people on both sides of the issue not to get too excited over individual documents… cherry-picking seeming smoking guns to prove your pet issue might be irresistably tempting, but isn’t likely to be edifying in the longer term. I don’t expect anyone to take the advice, but there it is.
Neither do I.