Making Shit Up

In my latest column I continue to wonder whether anyone has actually read the SSCI Report or paid any attention to what it says. “True Lies: Why pressure analysts when making stuff up is so much easier?”

But what did that have to do with Iraq? “If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year,” said the president.

We had good reason, in other words, to put other priorities on hold: We were less than a year away from the date on which Iraq would explode a nuclear weapon on our soil. Leave aside the fact that even were such a weapon to be constructed, Iraq would have no means of delivering it — even still, this is a pretty good rationale. But it’s not what the intelligence said. Or, rather, as is often the case with this president, he said something that was technically true, but utterly misleading. Saying that Iraq could build a bomb if it had highly enriched uranium is like saying, “If I had $2 million, I could buy a really nice house.” All that’s missing is the two million bucks. Iraq didn’t have any highly enriched uranium — it’s hard to get! — and had no prospects for getting any. And unlike my ephemeral millions, you can’t win HEU in the lottery.

And so on. Although I think a highly-enriched uranium lottery might be fun.