I’ve said several times on this blog that the history of intervention in the Middle East is the history of unintended consequences. Well, this isn’t quite what I had in mind, but it does seem to qualify:
We have one question this morning for Sen. Rick Santorum, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, John Hinderaker, Roger Simon, Stephen Hayes, and a self-proclaimed “army” of right-wing bloggers.
Oh yeah, and President George W. Bush:
Why are you helping Iran to develop a nuclear bomb?
By now you may have seen the lead story in today’s New York Times. It turns out that the Bush administration’s unprecendented — and apparently foolish beyond belief — decision to agree to post thousands upon thousands of raw and in some cases unexamined or untranslated documents captured in the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the Internet had a very unintended consequence.
Some of the Baghdad papers, from before the first war in 1991, included the most detailed instructions for making a nuclear weapon ever placed on the Internet:
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.
Experts worry that the documents could have been very helpful to a rogue state trying to assemble a nuclear weapon.
Ray E. Kidder, a senior nuclear physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, an arms design center, said â€œsome things in these documents would be helpfulâ€ to nations aspiring to develop nuclear weapons and should have remained secret.
A senior American intelligence official who deals routinely with atomic issues said the documents showed â€œwhere the Iraqis failed and how to get around the failures.â€ The documents, he added, could perhaps help Iran or other nations making a serious effort to develop nuclear arms, but probably not terrorists or poorly equipped states. The official, who requested anonymity because of his agencyâ€™s rules against public comment, called the papers â€œa road map that helps you get from point A to point B, but only if you already have a car.â€
That’s the story, but the backstory behind how this happened is even more remarkable, in a way.
It happened because after the White House invaded a Middle Eastern country based upon a web of lies about weapons of mass destruction and phony ties to al-Qaeda, the neoconservatives were desperate for any shred of evidence that might belatedly prove they were right after all, and enlisted their blogger backers to become amateur WMD Sherlock Holmes’.
It happened because a so-called “army of Davids” — in reality, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, the folks who never met a war in the Middle East they didn’t like as long as there was someone else to enlist and take an IED blast for “the team” — wanted to wage war on the homefront, from the pajama-clad safety of their Hewlitt Packards.
And it happened because pandering politicans, including Santorum (who in what is already shaping up as one of the great political ironies of our time, is running an anti-Bob Casey ad with a nuclear mushroom cloud) and even the president of the United States, would rather listen to the mouth-foaming right-wing keyboarders from “the base” than the actual grownups who work for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
Read the whole thing.