Monday, February 02, 2004

from Maureen Dowd, NYTimes 2.1.04

Saddam, [Condeleeza Rice] told Matt Lauer, had secretively refused to account for missing stockpiles of botulinum toxin and anthrax, even though he knew he would face serious consequences: "I don't know how you could have come to any other conclusion but that he had weapons of mass destruction."

A conservative, ice-skating Brahms aficionada from Birmingham had assumed that a homicidal, grenade-fishing Sinatra aficionado from Tikrit reasoned just like her.

Bush officials, awash in the vice president's Hobbesian gloom, deduced that Saddam would not hide if he had nothing to hide. Even after all their talk about a Bernard Lewis clash of civilizations and a battle of good versus evil, they still projected a Western mind-set on Saddam.

Ms. Rice argued that the U.S. was right to conclude that Saddam had W.M.D. and attack him because the dictator was not behaving rationally. But why did she think someone President Bush deemed "a madman" would behave rationally?

Cheney & Company were so consumed with puffing the intelligence to try to connect Saddam with 9/11, Al Qaeda and nuclear material, they failed to challenge basic assumptions....

Even Paul Wolfowitz observed last May that it was important not to assume that foes like Saddam "will be rational according to our definition of what is rational." Interviewed by Sam Tanenhaus for Vanity Fair, Mr. Wolfowitz said bad intelligence came from mirror imaging — assuming people would behave like us: "The kind of mistake that, in a sense, I think we made implicitly in assuming that anyone who was intelligent enough to fly an airplane wouldn't commit suicide with it."

Read more here.

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