It's funny that almost every blogger who stumbled acoss this story over the past day had the same immediate thought, which was of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman, you see, is famous for jetting first class around the globe to interview VIPs and then using his brief encounters with foreign cabbies as his reporting on what all the little people of the world really think. (Here's an example). Now we learn that taxi drivers are no longer just fodder for pointless newspaper columns, but a source of vital war intelligence:
An Iraqi taxi driver may have been the source of the discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could unleash weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a Tory MP claimed today.
Adam Holloway, a defence specialist, said MI6 obtained information indirectly from a taxi driver who had overheard two Iraqi military commanders talking about Saddam's weapons.
The 45-minute claim was a key feature of the dossier about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that was released by Tony Blair in September 2002. Blair published the information to bolster public support for war.
As tragic and deadly as the Iraq war has been, I think in the future we'll only be able to see it -- at least culturally -- as absurdist farce, a cross between "Catch-22" and "The Men Who Stare At Goats." One thing, though, about this anecdote, sadly humorous though it may be: We would not know about it were the British not trying to understand what went wrong and to hold people accountable -- something we're incapable of in the United States, as this ridiculous decision regarding John Yoo proves yet again.
Light blogging today, as I write for the newspaper on everybody's favorite Nobel laureate.