The defining characteristic of partisan attacks on President Bush has been their unthinking and indiscriminate nature. For example, Bush is to blame for not halting the development of nukes by Iran and North Korea, but he’s also to blame for toppling Saddam Hussein due in part to his concern that Saddam was interested in and capable of developing nukes. Critics point to Iran’s rise as evidence that Bush misplaced his focus on Iraq, but they don’t consider how Saddam would have reacted to Iranian nuclear progress.
The New York Times now has carried unthinking Bush-bashing to a point beyond caricature. Today, as Tiger Hawk notes, it quotes with apparent approval “experts” who say that Saddam was as little as a year away from building an atom bomb. The Times does so in order to show that the Bush administration acted recklessly when it published captured Iraqi documents that describe that country’s WMD programs, because those documents might be used by another country in furtherance of building WMD.
Did the Times just say that Saddam’s Iraq was a year away from building a nuclear weapon? I guess so. Good thing Saddam’s no longer in power.
As Tiger Hawk puts it, “the New York Times owes Judith Miller an apology. Or at least a hat tip.” Not to mention President Bush.
See Jim Geraghty for more.
UPDATE: The New York Times story is so poorly written as to leave unclear whether, according to the “experts,” Saddam’s scientists were on the verge of building a bomb in 1991, at the time of the Gulf War, or in 2002. Here’s the key paragraph:
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990