When you get done calling me an asshole in one of the earlier “Hanoi Jane” threads (that ought to get the party started- after all, us “Red State Racists” have to leave Dick Cheney’s bunker ever now and then to call a liberal a traitor), the hunt for WMD in IRaq has begun anew, and this time the administration wants you to look for them:
American intelligence agencies and presidential commissions long ago concluded that Saddam Hussein had no unconventional weapons and no substantive ties to Al Qaeda before the 2003 invasion.
But now, an unusual experiment in public access is giving anyone with a computer a chance to play intelligence analyst and second-guess the government.
Under pressure from Congressional Republicans, the director of national intelligence has begun a yearlong process of posting on the Web 48,000 boxes of Arabic-language Iraqi documents captured by American troops.
Less than two weeks into the project, and with only 600 out of possibly a million documents and video and audio files posted, some conservative bloggers are already asserting that the material undermines the official view.
On his blog last week, Ray Robison, a former Army officer from Alabama, quoted a document reporting a supposed scheme to put anthrax into American leaflets dropped in Iraq and declared: “Saddam’s W.M.D. and terrorist connections all proven in one document!!!”
Not so, American intelligence officials say. “Our view is there’s nothing in here that changes what we know today,” said a senior intelligence official, who would discuss the program only on condition of anonymity because the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, directed his staff to avoid public debates over the documents. “There is no smoking gun on W.M.D., Al Qaeda, those kinds of issues.”
All the documents, which are available on fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/products-docex.htm, have received at least a quick review by Arabic linguists and do not alter the government’s official stance, officials say. On some tapes already released, in fact, Mr. Hussein expressed frustration that he did not have unconventional weapons.
So get to work- we need to find those WMD!
All snark aside, I think this is actually an interesting idea, but I can already see where it is heading. There is no such thing as a verifiable fact or a certainty anymore, and by the end of the week there will be 55,000 right-wing blogs stating something or other in the documents justifies the invasion. There will be no smoking gun found, yet someone wil misread or misinterpret something, and the blogosphere will ignite into a flurry of speculation.
Before that happens, let me remind you of one thing- we have been in Iraq for over three years, and we have not found one WMD.