Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Dates and times

Howard (and Henderson) say that before the war, everybody thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The trouble with this formulation is that it covers many years and many different periods. There was a time when everyone thought Saddam Hussein had WMD, and he did: that period ended when he was disarmed after the First Gulf War. There was a time when it was reasonable to think that Saddam Hussein might have WMD, even though he didn’t: that period ended when the UN inspectors were readmitted in November 2002. And then there’s the date that really counts; March 18, 2003, when the government's decision to commit the Australian Defence Force to Coalition operations in Iraq was announced; and at that time the UN inspectors had shown that Saddam didn’t have WMD and that any person who still said he did was lying. “Before the war” is a red herring. Let’s focus on March 18.

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