Let’s start with you, Marco
In the snippet Chris showed you, Charlie Rose asked you a question.
If you look at the Iraq war, after finding out there were no weapons of mass destruction, would you, if you knew that, have been in favor of the Iraqi invasion?
Can you spot what is wrong with his question?
“…no weapons of mass destruction…”
Here’s how you answered:
Well, not only would I not have been in favor of it. President Bush would not have been in favor of it, and he said so.
Here’s how you should’ve answered it:
Just so I understand you, Charlie, help me with some clarification:
What do you mean by “weapons of mass destruction”?
I’m guessing that in your alone moments—when you’re not under the pressure of an interviewer’s questioning—you yourself know what “weapons of mass destruction” means.
But it didn’t look like it when you answered Rose’s question.
Here’s something I recommend you study before your next interview. It’s the FBI’s definition of “weapons of mass destruction”:
What are Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are defined in US law (18 USC §2332a) as:
“(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title (i.e. explosive device);
(B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
(C) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those terms are defined in section 178 of this title)(D) any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.”
WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE). These are weapons that have a relatively large-scale impact on people, property, and/or infrastructure.
If you want to simplify it so even an interviewer can understand it, here’s a ready definition available on Google:
weap·on of mass de·struc·tion
plural noun: weapons of mass destruction
- a chemical, biological or radioactive weapon capable of causing widespread death and destruction.
From now on, why don’t you make them ask specifically which weapon of mass destruction was missing?
Not only will you slow down those interruptions (we’ll get to you in a moment, Chris), but you’ll force the conversation into shedding light instead of blowing smoke.
Because, as you know, there were weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Quite nasty ones, in fact.
Which is what Assad was using in Syria. That’ right. President Obama’s famous red line.
Did you notice this guy’s tweet? He’s been on a tear lately on this topic, and rightfully so.
The report my friend is referring to was published in the February 15, 2015 New York Times (C.I.A. Is Said to Have Bought and Destroyed Iraqi Chemical Weapons).
I remember it creating a stir.
Then suddenly—like a rock.
Marco, before we get to Chris, here’s John Hinderaker’s take (Iraq Had WMDs After All)—Chris, I’d like you to take notes on this as well:
Some have tried to disparage the importance of munitions like the Borak warheads on the ground that they are “old” WMDs, manufactured before 1991. But this is wrong. One of the chief concerns about Iraq’s WMDs always was whether it had actually destroyed its vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons, as it claimed. One of the principal tasks of the UNMOVIC inspections that were carried out until 2002 was to try to verify that these “old,” but still lethal, weapons had actually been destroyed. Thus, UNMOVIC wrote in its January 27, 2003 briefing to the U.N. Security Council:
One of three important questions before us today is how much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991; and, possibly, thereafter; the second question is what, if anything, was illegally produced or procured after 1998, when the inspectors left; and the third question is how it can be prevented that any weapons of mass destruction be produced or procured in the future.
In my opinion, the revelation that more than 400 Borak rocket warheads armed with sarin were still extant after the 2003 war is of a different quality than prior reports of old stocks that were encountered here and there by American troops. These rockets were not, it appears, dispersed randomly in dumps and forgotten storage depots. One individual was able to produce more than 400 of them, suggesting that they most likely were stored and inventoried by the Baathist regime. If that is the case, the conventional belief that the world’s intelligence agencies were wrong, and Iraq did not possess significant stockpiles of WMDs prior to the 2003 war, is incorrect. One shudders to think what a terrorist group could accomplish with 400 sarin-equipped rockets.
The Times article itself cites scary, previously unknown fact:
The analysis of sarin samples from 2005 found that the purity level reached 13 percent — higher than expected given the relatively low quality and instability of Iraq’s sarin production in the 1980s, officials said. Samples from Boraks recovered in 2004 had contained concentrations no higher than 4 percent.
The conventional thinking has been that no WMDs were found in Iraq, or that whatever was found was weak sister, half-spent leftovers.
Clearly the conventional thinking was wrong.
And yet this thinking continues to pollute all media discussions about Iraq, pre-war intelligence, and shoulda wouldas to this day.
So it’s important, Marco, that you make your interviewers be very, very specific as they ask you about mistakes and WMD.
It’s especially important that you don’t keep parroting their lines.
They’re interested in The Narrative.
Your interested in the truth.
We’ve gone on a while here.
Let’s take a break and pick this up when we get back.
Just saw this tweet. If it’d been posted yesterday, I would’ve led with it (h/t Glenn Reynolds—@Instapundit).
Good question, sir.