Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chicago Tribune article ("Did he mislead us?")

my critique of it


Here is my critique of the Chicago-Tribune article:

General criticism: leaves the analytical job to the reader without even giving them the information they would need to do such analysis.

Specifics (I'll just give them for what they gave as the first argument):

Biological and chemical weapons

re: 2002 CIA assessment: "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions."

OK�? That sounds like a truncated phrase, to me. It very likely had a qualifier before it. If not, what was the context around it? did the president take that phrase out of context? this is the kind of info you *need* to have if you want to decide, on your own or not, if the president *mislead* us -- the question is not 'did he flat out *lied* to us?'-- if that would have been the case... showing that he quoted actual sources would have been much more pertinent.

Re: 'Many, although not all, of the Bush administration's assertions about weapons of mass destruction have proven flat-out wrong. What illicit weaponry searchers uncovered didn't begin to square with the magnitude of the toxic armory U.S. officials had described before the war.'
Unbelievably vague at the factual level (and thus useless for analytical purposes), even more unbelievable in that it actually purports to draw a conclusion. Things the readers would *need* to know: what were the 'many' assertions that have 'proven' flat out wrong? what criteria does the writer use to conclude the assertions were 'proven' wrong? (to be fair to the president: just because whatever illicit weapons searches were done did not produce what would have been expected does not 'prove' anything -- too strong a word in this circumstance; again, to be fair to the president: what were the Bush administration's assertions that did NOT prove wrong?) . And again, were any of the assertions *misleading*? that's the QUESTION�

re: 'There was no need for the administration to rely on risky intelligence to chronicle many of Iraq's other sins. In putting so much emphasis on illicit weaponry, the White House advanced its most provocative, least verifiable case for war when others would have sufficed.'

Again, unbelievably vague and conclusory and it doesn't even draw the relevant conclusion... the question is: DID HE MISLEAD US?

Oops! I gotta go�(more to follow; it might take me a while...)


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