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The Knight Ridder revelations raise, once again, the nettlesome issue of where the U.S. government left off and the Times began, or vice versa, in making the case for Iraqi possession of WMD. There remains the more disturbing question of whether a Times reporter served as a cat's paw for the neo-con policymakers in Washington with whom she had close ties.
Yesterday, the Times scored a scoop of its own in Richard Oppel's "U.S. to Halt Payments to Iraqi Group Headed by a Onetime Pentagon Favorite." Noting that Ahmad Chalabi had played a crucial role in persuading the Bush administration that Hussein had to be removed from power, Oppel wrote that the INC leader had since become a lightning rod for critics of the administration "who say the United States relied on him too heavily for prewar intelligence that has since proved faulty. ... Internal reviews by the United States government have found that much of the information provided ... before American forces invaded Iraq last year was useless, misleading or even fabricated."
The irony of this scoop appearing in the Times seems to have escaped the newspaper's editors.
“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz
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