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Iraq’s Docs

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Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard has the must-read piece of the day on the new Iraqi docs and tapes.

In a world of massive information flows, some journalists develop particular expertise on particular stories. Hayes knows the Iraqi document story, and the sub-stories of what those docs tell us about WMD and the al Qaeda-Saddam connection. Claudia Rosett knows the oil-for-food-for-tyrants-for-terror story.

What is clear about both of these massive stories is that we know only the smallest bit of the whole at this point.

Imagine a stranger to America and baseball being given partial sets of stats on three different seasons from the ’90s, a few tapes of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from the ’80s, two chapters of Ford Frick’s memoir, Games, Asterisks and People: Memoirs of a Lucky Fan, and the September and October, 2005 issues of the sports page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and then being asked to write up a history of the last 40 years of major league baseball.

The writer would get a lot correct, and almost certainly would produce a very distorted account full of gaps and also errors. Trying to reconstruct Saddam’s regime’s inner workings will puzzle scholars for decades, but we know this:

He had possessed WMD and had used WMD.

We thought he still had WMD.

He had sponsored terrorists and was still sponsoring terrorists.

He had had contacts with al Qaeda.

His regime was so deeply planted that it would never have evolved, and his nutters son were set to succeed him.

The continued exploitation of the vast set of documents holds nothing but interest for supporters of the invasion of Iraq, while every new release will force the left to bob and weave and qualify and denounce.


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