“Rarely Pure and Never Simple”

I ran across this, from Peggy Noonan, in this morning’s WSJ newsletter:

Howard Dean, that human helium balloon ever resistant to the gravity of mature judgment, said of the administration that they lied us into war. He left no doubt that he meant they did it deliberately and cynically. But there seems to me a thing that is blindingly obvious, and yet I’ve never seen it remarked upon. It is that an administration that would coldly lie us into Iraq is an administration that would lie about what was found there. And yet the soldiers, searchers and investigators who looked high and low throughout Iraq made it clear they had found nothing, an outcome the administration did not dispute and came to admit. But an administration that would lie about reasons would lie about results, wouldn’t it? Or try to? Yet they were candid.

Wouldn’t it be good if our serious journalists and historians looked into what happened to weapons that Saddam once used and once had? He abused weapons inspectors who came looking, acting like a man who had a great deal to hide. And wouldn’t it be good for our serious journalists and historians to look into exactly how it is that faulty intelligence, of such a crucial nature and at such a crucial moment, came to America and Britain? It is still amazing. Oh, for journalists and historians who would look only for truth and not merely for data that justify their politics and ideology.

As long as I am exposing myself to the scorn of my more dovish friends anyway, I thought I might as well share this item. I don’t always enjoy Ms. Noonan; she is unquestionably an excellent writer, but manages sometimes to combine her natural haughtiness with an affected folksiness in a way that I find irritating. But she makes an excellent point here.

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