Not having read this new Ron Suskind Esquire article on Bush to the end, I feel compelled to say something about this formulation. Kilo, this one’s for you:

And most recently I learned that the White House was apprised by the Iraqi intelligence chief in January 2003–well in advance of the war–that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed no weapons of mass destruction and had no such active weapons programs. The intelligence chief, in his secret back-channel meetings, also described the mind of Saddam–his fear of the Iranians finding out he was weaponless–which explained his odd prewar behavior.

You really don’t have to be Bush to not go along with Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti’s January 2003 account. Stipulate for the sake of argument that the facts of the situation are exactly as Suskind presents. If you’re Official X in Administration Y and you hear, "Guess what? The intelligence chief of the country that we’re about to invade assures us that our fact-based justifications for the invasion are groundless! Should we call the admiral and tell him to turn the fleet around?" you’d be like of COURSE he’s going to say that, jeez.

The deception around the war is manifest and well-documented. But there’s compounded tragedy in the apparent fact that people in positions to refute the WMD pretext were themselves prima facie untrustworthy.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman