A story in the New York Times this morning reveals that captured, translated, and, finally, released Iraqi documents show that the Saddam Hussein regime was within a year of being able to build nuclear weapons.
This is in line with information that we obtained after the 1991 Gulf War and with inspector David Kay's report that Iraq under Saddam retained the capacity to restart its weapons of mass destruction programs. The Times attempts to pitch the story against the Bush administration and the conservatives who pressed for disclosure of the documents by arguing that they provided a recipe for others to use to make nukes.
But isn't that cat already out of the bag? North Korea has exploded a nuke, Iran is assuredly busily developing one, and A.Q. Khan spread his technology around lavishly. Complaints about disclosure of dangerous information are a little rich coming from the Times, which gleefully disclosed the NSA's surveillance of telephone calls from al Qaeda suspects abroad to persons in the United States and the entirely legal Swift bank program. The Times has been happy to publish stories that help terrorists in their efforts to destroy us.
On the whole issue of WMDs in Iraq, I keep coming back to the thought that no responsible American or allied leader could assume, before March 2003, that Iraq was not developing weapons of mass destruction. It had developed and used them in the past, and it refused to cooperate with weapons inspectors. If your duty is to protect Americans, what piece of intelligence could convince you that Iraq was not developing WMDs? In my view, there was no need to continue the inspection process in 2002 and 2003, and we evidently did so to get the support of Britain and other allies.
It's tragic that the failure to find much in the way of ongoing WMD programs has been used to delegitimize the overthrow of Saddam. But that's the prevailing meme in MSM.