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Friday, November 14, 2003

Brad Delong
"I thought last winter that the Bush administration would not be doing this without *hard* evidence of serious nuclear weapons programs. I--hard as this may be for some of you to believe--trusted them. No more."

I think Brad might consider following his advice to Daniel Luskin by suing himself for libel. Luskin's claim that Luskin is a stalker is probably not libelous because it is true. There is no such defence for DeLong's claim that DeLong trusted the Bush administration.

At very great length I comment

Dear Brad

I find your mea culpa unconvincing. I recall our semi heated e-mail debate about invading Iraq in March 2003. I don't recall your mentioning nuclear weapons. If you had, I would have pointed out that the "evidence" presented by the Bush administration was simply proof that they had no evidence (the point that the Niger documents were extremely obvious forgeries was public knowledge as was the point that the aluminum tubes were clearly rocket casings). I recall you argued for invading (only with UN approval) based on Saddam Hussein's depravity (and I admit I wasn't sure the invasion would be a mistake). How did trusting Bush come to be the explanation of your view ex poste ?

Now on chemical and biological weapons, I assumed that the Bush administration didn't have any secret evidence to speak of thingking that, if they had evidence they would have shared it with the UN inspectors ? I was also 99% sure that Iraq had gas and biological weapons. The reason is not that I overestimated Bush but that I overestimated Saddam Hussein. I knew he was a depraved idiot but I didn't think he was enough of a depraved idiot to allow his country to suffer sanctions to hide the fact that he had nothing to hide. The evidence which convinced me, you and I'm sure Bush that Iraq had gas and biological weapons was Iraq's resistance of inspections during the Bush Sr and Clinton Administrations.

I know you Brad and I don't believe that you could have trusted Bush. You are too smart to do that.

I have another theory, if I may be so bold. I will consider a hypothetical smart person with dovish inclinations who was in favor of invading Iraq (with UN approval) (ahspwdi for short). I think ahspwdi internalised political calculations or maybe Ahspwdi waw swayed by herd psychology. Ahspwdi knew that it would be politically highly costly to say that ahspwdi opposed invasion even with UN approval. In order not to feel like a hypocrite, ahspwdi decided made himself or herself believe what ge or she thought the Dems should say for political reasons.

I, in contrast, live in Italy and have yet to hear someone say they are in favor of invading Iraq (as opposed to reading on the web or in newspapers) except on TV (maybe not sure of that). So following the herd and with the exact same opinions you had about WMD I was opposed to invading.

Now I might add that I was not then and am not now sure I was right. I am not at all sure it was a bad idea to invade Iraq. As I have explained, on my blog for example, the absence of WMD, for me, tends to convince me that the invasion was not as bad an idea as I thought.

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