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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Woodward Was Certain of Iraq WMD

Bob Woodward may be (partly) known for his several books on George W. Bush and his handling of the Iraq war, but he is rarely connected to the pre-invasion press cheerleading as it went down, partly because he was not a White House or Pentagon reporter back in early 2003.  So I was a little surprised to find this nugget as I was going over my book So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq as it appeared as an updated e-book this week.
The day after Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the U.N. Security Council Wednesday,  TV commentators and newspaper editorials, and even many liberal pundits, declared their support for  the Bush administration's hard-line stance on Iraq.    CNN’s Bill Schneider said that “no one” disputed Powell’s findings.   Bob Woodward, asked by Larry King on CNN what happens if we go to war and don’t find any WMD, answered: “I think the chance of that happening is about zero.  There’s just too much there.”
I also found this, much worse, when Howard Kurtz belatedly did a review of The Washington Post's deeply flawed prewar coverage:   “(Bob) Woodward, for his part, said it was risky for journalists to write anything that might look silly if weapons were ultimately found in Iraq.” Woodward was an editor at the Post and therefore influenced and at times helped decide the handling of some of its key coverage.  Woodward later admitted, "I think I dropped the ball here. I should have pushed much, much harder on the skepticism about the reality of WMD."  No kidding.

UPDATE:  My new piece at The Nation explores Kurtz piece and Post misconduct. Also see my new post on David Brooks' column, ten years ago, backing Iraq invasion and mocking critics.

Greg Mitchell's influential book "So Wrong For So Long," on the media and the Iraq war, was published today in an expanded edition for the first time as an e-book. 


Dr Billy Kidd said...

Can we get over this idea that everyone believed there were weapons of mass distruction in Iraq before Bush invaded? The invasion was about getting the oil. U.S. Tiger Teams inside Iraq reported that Sadam's computer banks held nothing about WMD. All the higher ups knew that bin Laeden and Sadam were blood enemies and that bin Laedin offered to go in and kill him as an alternative to the first Gulf War. Everyone also knew that bin Laeden attacked in order to get the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, which Bush did immediately after 9/11. Can we move on from this fantisy that everyone was afraid of Saddam?

John Rohan said...

We did find WMDs in Iraq. I was there. But you don't have to take my word for it:



What was not found was any WMD manufacturing capability. That is an important distinction.

Anonymous said...

People forget that Bob Novak consistently reported that the evidence for WMD in Iraq was slim to non-existent. Someone was telling him that -- someone in the military, in the CIA, somewhere. Who was it? There were clearly informed voices out there who were willing to talk, but very few were willing to listen. And now the people who refused to listen pretend that "everyone" was on the same page. No. "Everyone" was not.

Anonymous said...


when your source is world nut daily your argument is a trite thin. I think they are still looking for the birth certificate.

Anonymous said...

John Rohan,
How about reading the article you cite. Degraded (read: useless) chemical weapons are not WMD's.

From TFA : “This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991,” the official said, adding the munitions “are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war.”

Unknown said...

To Anonymous 2: hotair.com is NOT World News Daily. Actually, I believe that a lot of the WMDs that Sadaam Hussein had were smuggled into Israel (by either the US or the Israelis themselves) and used on the Palestinians in Gaza in 2005 during Israel's offensive against them....