Washington Post editorial, March 11, 2007:
Mr. ElBaradei has responded to similar problems by turning on Iraq’s accusers. In his first report to the council, Mr. ElBaradei argued against the logic of Resolution 1441, saying that inspectors could be used to contain Iraq even if Saddam Hussein didn’t cooperate. He has used his two subsequent presentations to dispute evidence offered by Britain and the United States, while coming close to declaring Iraq free of any nuclear program. Last Friday, Mr. ElBaradei made headlines by denouncing one secondary piece of evidence, about an alleged Iraqi attempt to obtain fissile material from Niger, as a forgery. But the allegation is not central to the case against Saddam Hussein, and it did not even form part of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s recent presentation to the Security Council. Such diversions have lamentably become the substitute for U.N. oversight of real Iraqi disarmament; weeks or even months more of them may help unify the international community, but can yield little else.
Fortunately, the president took the Post’s advice, ignored ElBaradei, and invaded Iraq, thus dismantling Saddam’s advanced nuclear weapons program leading to the deaths of tends — if not hundreds — of thousands of people at a price of hundreds of billions of dollars. The war also had the perverse consequence of speeding Iran’s nuclear weapons program, leading to today’s Post editorial slamming ElBaradei once again for, once again, failing to fall in line for the war parade:
Mr. ElBaradei was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war for debunking Bush administration charges that Saddam Hussein had restarted his nuclear program before the 2003 invasion. Emboldened, he has now set himself a new task: stopping what he considers to be the “crazies” in Washington who “want to say, ‘Let us go and bomb Iran.’ “
Hiatt just can’t imagine why anyone might regard the Bush administration’s Iran policy as anything other than a good-faith effort to resolve the nuclear standoff diplomatically.