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Missing the point

There's an old joke about the guy who defends himself against the charges of breaking and entering by citing his alibi: he was robbing a bank at the time. That comes to mind when reading the Washington Post's report about disputed evidence that Iraq is building nuclear weapons:

Since then, U.S. officials have acknowledged differing opinions within the U.S. intelligence community about possible uses for the tubes -- with some experts contending that a more plausible explanation was that the aluminum was meant to build launch tubes for Iraq's artillery rockets.
Launch tubes for artillery rockets? Well, then, no need to worry. After all, those rockets would just be used to kill mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus, right? So it's perfectly okay if Saddam builds them.

More importantly, citing the uncertainty over the use of the aluminum tubes is beside the point. We don't demand certainty because we can't achieve certainty. Given the position of Iraq, given the events of the last decade, there's no presumption of innocence here. If skeptics can show that these tubes couldn't be used in the development of nuclear weapons, that's one thing. But we can't afford to give Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt, to interpret ambiguous evidence in his favor. Ambiguity is not a reasonable argument here.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2002 7:27 AM.

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