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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, October 24, 2002
1:49 PM

And about that pathological liar.. best semi-takedown of that Dana Milbank story I've seen is from a correspondent to Andrew Sullivan:

His main thrust, that knowingly false statements were proffered, center on three statements concerning RPVs, Iraqi nuclear capabilities, and union obstructionism over homeland security: "And all three statements were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States; there was no such report by the IAEA; and the customs dispute over the detectors was resolved long ago." [that's a direct quote from Milbank]

Sullivan's correspondent continues:

Only an idiot would think an RPV had the range to hit the US mainland--obviously the President referred to US assets in the Persian Gulf region (or terrorist applications assuming other transport); Milbank later quotes the "no such" report by the IAEA--which states that Iraq was 6-24 months away from nukes at the start of the Gulf War (and Bush mangled less than Milbank did); and the union's silly dispute over radiation detectors was in fact indicative of why the proposed department of homeland security could do without union. Milbank's statements are, if anything, more dubious than the President's..

And speaking of Iraqi nuclear capability, what about this report I blogged last month:

LONDON, Sept. 9--Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon "in a matter of months" if supplied fissile materials from an outside source, according to a report released here today. Saddam Hussein's government also has an extensive biological weapons capability, a smaller chemical weapons stockpile and a small supply of missiles to deliver them, the report concluded.

The report called Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction "the core objective of the regime," and said it had pursued this goal relentlessly for the past 11 years--in defiance of its own commitments made in agreeing to a cease-fire and an end to the 1991 Gulf War. But the report, issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a prominent military and security think tank, stopped short of endorsing a military campaign against Iraq along the lines suggested by the Bush administration and its British allies.

This was a Post story by Glenn Frankel. In his column, Cohen says:

Bush also has said that Iraq was "six months away from developing" a nuclear weapon. This is news to every expert I've talked to or read about. It is just not the case -- or, if it is, the administration has not supplied the intelligence to support its claim. At the moment, Iraq is believed to be as many as five years away from developing a bomb.

Say, that's news to every expert I've talked to or read about.

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