As the US confronts Iran over its nuclear program, many Americans can’t help but flash back to 2003, when Colin Powell made a compelling case before the UN that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Is the uproar over Iran’s Qom facility the same kind of smoke and mirrors, asks the New York Times. Not exactly. This time, the White House isn’t beating the war drums, and there is less dispute over the facts.
America’s intelligence officials say they’ve been extremely cautious and apolitical this time. “We’d let the country down” in Iraq, says one former intelligence honcho. “We wanted to make sure it would never happen again. Now, it’s much more of a transparent tussle of ideas.” But critics see the similarities: The administration claims, without proof, that a hated regime is seeking nuclear weapons. And as in 2002, it seems naïve to disagree.