Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Let's call this an experiment in filters-off blog research. If it's interesting (not necessarily relevant) it makes the cut.

First: start with James Risen's article in today's NYT about how it's all the CIA's fault that the Bush administration thought Saddam had WMDs. Note the complete absence of names like 'Feith' and 'Perle', and words like 'stovepipe'.

Second: note how Timeswatch feels about Risen. Estimated time to tune-changing -- as soon as they wake up this morning.

Third: read a copy of Risen's piece about Iraq's possible last-minute desperate bid for peace. Note this passage:

The overtures, after a decade of evasions and deceptions by Iraq, were ultimately rebuffed. But the messages raised enough interest that in early March, Richard N. Perle, an influential adviser to top Pentagon officials, met in London with the Lebanese-American businessman, Imad Hage.

According to both men, Mr. Hage laid out the Iraqis' position to Mr. Perle, and he pressed the Iraqi request for a direct meeting with Mr. Perle or another representative of the United States.

"I was dubious that this would work," said Mr. Perle, widely recognized as an intellectual architect of the Bush administration's hawkish policy toward Iraq, "but I agreed to talk to people in Washington."

Mr. Perle said he sought authorization from C.I.A. officials to meet with the Iraqis, but the officials told him they did not want to pursue this channel, and they indicated they had already engaged in separate contacts with Baghdad. Mr. Perle said, "The message was, 'Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad.' "

So, err, the CIA was setting foreign policy, Richard? And that was OK with you? You didn't go over their heads to your White House buddies about this?

Makes you wonder who Risen's big inside source is, doesn't it?

Fourth: for laughs, read Hitch's attack on Risen's Iraqi peace appeal article, and worry for Hitch's sanity.

(JMM says the same thing, quicker, here.)

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