A couple months ago

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December 2, 2003 12:10 a.m.

A couple months ago I was in a book store in New York leafing through the latest offering from Laurie Mylroie, a book called Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the book business of late and the all-important issue of timing. And with that in mind I couldn’t help chuckling when reading over the liner notes and seeing gems like this: “Combining important new research with an insider’s grasp of Beltway politics, Mylroie describes how the CIA and the State Department have systematically discredited critical intelligence about Saddam’s regime, including indisputable evidence of its possession of weapons of mass destruction.”

Indisputable evidence … Hmmm, you think, maybe this is a dust-jacket that could have used a touch of last-minute rejiggering.

(Amazon says the book came out on July 29 of this year. So you figure those lines were probably written a couple months earlier, just as they were tipping over the edge from mere foolishness to demonstrable ridiculousness, but not quite there yet.)

Of course, in some circles, the jarring nature of disconnects between claims and facts ain’t quite what they used to be. But whatever you think of Mylroie’s work (which posits Saddam’s role in everything from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the Oklahoma City bombing to 9/11 to the Anthrax attacks), it has been extremely influential with the war-hawks who were the primary architects of our Iraq policy. And that’s a frightening thought on a host of levels.

For more on Mylroie, her work and her influence, read Peter Bergen’s new piece on her in The Washington Monthly.

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