Thursday, April 07, 2005


An Unprovable Assumption

Michael Ledeen takes on the Silberman-Robb Commission Report in "Intelligence Failures," in the current National Review Online.

Ledeen's biggest complaint about the Commission Report's findings is that "[Its] entire argument...rests on an unprovable assumption that is unnecessary and, alas, quite likely misleading."

What is this assumption? And why are so many people who should know better, blindly accepting that unprovable assumption?

Ledeen answers the former and hints at the latter:
Finally, the unprovable assumption I started with: that there were no WMDs in Iraq. The report says, over and over, that the assessment that Saddam had an active WMD program, and that there were significant quantities of WMDs, was “dead wrong.” But we don’t know that. Indeed, we can not possibly know it. All we know, at the moment, is that we didn’t find any, and the current wisdom has it that we didn’t find them because they weren’t there in the first place.

To which one must ask: Were all the intelligence services of the world “dead wrong”? Were the others as bad as we were? Did Brits, French, Germans, Russians, Israelis, Italians, Egyptians, Jordanians, and Spaniards, to name a few, all come to the same wrong conclusion? What are the odds on that? Why should anyone believe that? Aging readers of NRO may recall that, months before the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I wrote that WMDs were being smuggled to Iran and Syria. Others, including people on the ground, have said the same or similar things. On what basis are those hypotheses dismissed?

On no good basis is my conclusion. You can draw your own. It's likely none of us will know for sure until the Democratic tide sweeps away the tyrants in Syria and Iran.

Ledeen didn't say it, he was looking back, but looking forward, I'll say, "Faster please."

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