Now We Know: Bush Did Not Lie About WMD in Iraq
Remember the debate about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction? It’s back for an encore, thanks to Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, who remarked at a hearing recently that whatever went wrong in the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi disaster, it wasn’t as bad as the Bush administration’s insistence that those weapons existed.
The blogosphere swiftly picked up the refrain, and so, once more, we have been treated to angry denunciation of the supposed cover-up of the true intelligence about Iraq’s weapons programs. A bracing challenge to this view is provided by “The Art of Betrayal,” Gordon Corera’s enthralling history of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, popularly known as MI6.
Corera, a widely respected British Broadcasting Corp. journalist with impeccable sources in the clandestine world, devotes a good deal of his narrative to the question of what went wrong in Iraq. But the wider focus is on the shadowy, yet colorful, figures who have populated the agency since the dawn of the Cold War.
The book is worth reading for Corera’s detailed recounting of largely unexamined swaths of secret history, which I will discuss in a future column. For the present, let us consider only what he has to say about Iraq — and, in particular, about the notion that U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and their staffs fabricated the evidence of weapons of mass destruction.