Saturday, January 31, 2004

A Short Essay by Mohsin Hamid, author of Moth Smoke...enjoy.

The Pathos of Exile
In Lahore for a wedding, Mohsin Hamid is seduced by the city's bright lights and wonders why he ever left

I am dancing with my cousin Omer. my hands and feet are on the ground; my rump is in the air. It is that kind of party—the kind all other parties are measured against. Around us are many of our childhood loves: Ajoo and O.H., Saad and A.T., Shahid and Nippy and Booboo. These are the boys we grew up with. The girls, our sisters and cousins and wives and fiancés, are standing back for a moment, letting us go at it. Our grins are infectious. Some of us are dancing with our eyes shut. Some of us are barely moving, just shaking a shoulder or arching an eyebrow to the beat. I am utterly happy.

Omer's mother was my mother's friend before she married my uncle. When our mothers were pregnant, my mother had a series of dreams. She dreamed she had two mangoes, then two apples, then two oranges. In all of her dreams, my mother gave the larger fruit to Omer's mother. "I know this," my mother told Omer's. "Whatever you have, boy or girl, I will have the same. Only mine will be smaller."

Omer was born a week before me. As a baby, he drank two bottles of milk and cried for more while I struggled to finish half a bottle. We grew up together, cousin-brothers, in a family with nine aunts and uncles and innumerable cousins. He turned out six inches taller, many, many pounds heavier and several shades darker than I. He held onto his hair better. We shared friends and many nights on rooftops, picking up bad habits from one another, smoking, talking. We left for college in the U.S. around the same time and returned to Pakistan when we were done.

Then I went to the U.S. again, to law school, and Omer stayed behind. I became a management consultant, living first in New York and then in London. Our lives followed different courses. And now, nine years after we ceased sharing continents, we are back together for his wedding in Lahore, his home and the city he lives in, my home and the city I left behind. We are dancing for the last time as single men. In two days, Omer will marry.

I leave the dance floor and step outside. A tent covers the garden, and a log fire burns in the night. I walk away, around my uncle's house, a house built when we were teenagers, and into the great lawn that curves around what was my grandfather's house. My body steams in the cold air. We played here as children, we cousins. There were more than enough of us at Friday family lunches for any sport that came to mind.

It is February, not long after the kite-fighting festival of Basant. Lahore's winter fogs have given way to the clear nights of spring, but there is still a chill in the air. I sit down on a bench, stroke the wet nose of a dog that comes to me and shut my eyes. This is the passage of time. I am a grown man now, 31, and I am in a place that will always be sacred to me as the place of my childhood. I feel an allegiance to this house, this family, this city, this country. It makes my eyes burn. I do not want to leave. But I know I am a wanderer, and I have no more choice but to drift than does a dandelion seed in the wind. It is my nature. It is in my soul, in my eyes.

Still, Lahore touches me. I am doing well in my career abroad, and I am able to visit often. But there is something about Lahore, something that makes me want to be part of this city's story. Even though I have moved away, this is where I evolved, where my basic notions of love and friendship were formed. A snow leopard can be taken to zoos in other places; it can perhaps even be well fed and content, but it will always wear a coat designed for the Himalayas. I see Lahore when I look in the mirror, and I feel the strength of my attachment at this moment, as my cousin prepares to marry.

My sister and I had arrived on a flight from London that morning. She busied herself with the many errands of the wedding: flower arrangements, tent and lighting designs, food preparations. I, typically and lazily, claimed exhaustion and jet lag as an excuse to go straight to bed. When I woke it was evening. My father was on the telephone from Islamabad, his voice full of excitement at the prospect of seeing me soon. I climbed up onto the roof of my parents' house to watch the sun set and to look out upon my city.

Lahore had changed and was changing. From this rooftop, where I spent many hours struggling to get kites aloft, one used to see only trees and the rooftops of other houses. Now bald patches had emerged where trees had died, and tall office buildings had risen up not far away, almost uniformly hideous in their architecture but robust and healthy signs of life, of growth. I watched them warily and wondered what my house would one day become. A shop perhaps. Or maybe a small museum.

I went down to my room, showered and shaved, slipped on a well-worn pair of brown cords and a brown shirt and a secondhand blazer, and headed out to the party with my sister, who asked me what I had been up to.

"Just thinking," I said.

"Yeah," she replied with a grin. "As usual. While the rest of us were working."

At 3 in the morning, after half an hour of sitting on the bench by myself, I rise up and return to the party. It is still going strong, but people have begun to leave. I linger until there are just a few of us remaining, the boys, standing around the speakers with our eyes shut, hardly able to move. Then even the boys disperse, and I head back to Omer's room for a chat and a cousin sleepover, an old tradition between us.

The lights are off, and we're under the sheets. Omer's fiancé, Natasha, is a warm, lovely woman, with a doctorate in microbiology and a ready smile. Still, I ask Omer if he's nervous about getting married. I imagine I'd be terrified. But he tells me that it doesn't feel like a big deal, that it just seems natural, what was meant to be. "I'm calm," he says, "calm and happy." Ah, I think, calmness and happiness. Signs of home. Very welcome to a transcontinental mongrel like myself, soothing me as I drift into sleep.

We're woken by my aunt banging on the door. "Omer! Mohsin! Do you know what time it is?" We could be 10 years old again. Omer covers his face with his pillow. I yell that we're already up. She opens the door and turns on the lights. "Up? You're never up. It's 1 o'clock. There are a million things to be done." And the preparations continue.

My father arrives from Islamabad that afternoon, and I meet him at the airport. He gives me a hug, I pick up his bags and we make our way to the car. He is an economist, and on our drive home our talk turns, as usual, to economics. Things in Pakistan are improving, he tells me. Reserves are up. Property and stocks are soaring. But people are still holding back from investing in new industries. There's a lot of uncertainty and people don't know what's going to happen, so they're waiting and seeing. And while they wait and see, millions of young men and women are trying to enter the workforce every year.

My father takes off his glasses and cleans them with a white handkerchief. His eyes are soft and unfocused, but he seems pleased, perhaps because my sister and I are here. "You know," he tells me. "A year ago, you could see troops passing through the city, heading for the border. Trucks would go by during the day, full of equipment and supplies. And they would come back at night, empty. Our driver used to drive tanks. He was mobilized with the reserves. It was a frightening time." He puts on his glasses. "But things are better now. Let's hope they stay that way. Peace is a blessing."

Later that day, my cousin Omer comes by for tea at our place, grabbing a quick break from the hectic preparations. Omer designs and manufactures furniture. With population growth, he tells me, comes housing growth, and with housing growth comes furniture growth; so he is sitting on many more orders than he can handle. "You know one thing I really like about what I do?" he says, dipping a samosa in ketchup. "I get to meet all kinds of people. I mean, everything from types like us to families that do full purdah, where you can't even see the women. Sometimes I'll be talking to some guy about furniture he needs and he'll be so nervous, because he's trying to get exactly what his wife wants and she won't come to the showroom and he's terrified of making a mistake."

"What happens if he buys something and she isn't satisfied?" I ask.

"I let him return it. Customer service, bro. You have to keep the clients happy."

I think about this, about families with husbands who are terrified of wives who don't go out in public, and I try to imagine the sight of Omer, in his shorts and T shirt, reassuring earnest young men with beards.

Lahore has had a difficult decade and a half since I graduated from high school. Many of those who could leave have left, like O.H. and Nippy and I, who have flown in for the wedding from jobs far away. Most of the gang who used to go every summer to the mountains, where we went to flee heat and parental supervision, now live abroad. But we are a tiny minority. And many of those who could not leave have struggled to find work. Some of them now wear the physical uniforms and hard expressions of religious intolerance. I see them on the streets, in the markets, in front of the mosques. They worry me. They are frown lines of disappointment on the face of the city.

I think about why so many of my friends left Lahore and why so few of us returned. None of us seemed to think, at the time, that we were going away for good. The universities were in bad shape, and we went abroad for a better education. But as the economy stagnated and as law and order declined, we delayed our homecomings. We began to work. We began to settle into new lives. And as the years passed, it became harder and harder for us to think of what we would do if we went back to Lahore. The city changed and we changed, and somehow we became voluntary exiles. But at least in my case, the homesickness that resulted from exile, although not fatal, has remained uncured.

As I dash from one friend's house to the next, avoiding wedding chores while catching up with people I haven't seen in a long time, I can't help thinking of Lahore as the girl I first fell in love with. I have fallen in love with other cities since: with New York, the girl I will always lust for but who left me exhausted; and with London, the girl who bored me at first but whose company I have come to savor. But my heart will always have a special place for my first love, for Lahore, the love of my childhood and teens and early 20s.

She has hardened, become more cynical, angrier. She has lost some of her looks. She is less complacent than she was then, less sure of her enduring centrality in her universe. But Lahore is still a charmer, and she is more urbane and cosmopolitan than she was in the days when the opening of a new ice-cream parlor was enough to get her excited for months. Lahore is speckled with Internet cafés, with billboards offering broadband connections, with advertisements for health clubs featuring personal trainers. The students of the National College of Arts have helped restore parts of Anarkali market and a bit of the old city now called "Food Street"—they look like glamorous backdrops for a period film. The restoration of the palace in the Lahore Fort is also nearing completion, as is the construction of the rather chic new airport, done in a style someone described to me as "modern Mughal."

No, Lahore is no longer the same girl she was when we parted ways. And I am no longer the same boy. But even after all these years, even with the scars and frown lines she has acquired, she still makes my heart race, and I can't help wondering what would have happened if we hadn't broken up, what would have happened if I had stayed.

I get a glimpse of it that night. The boys agree to gather after the dancing and ornamental henna-painting activities of the mahndi for a late session at my place. I arrive home with my parents, who begin to play cards in the living room while I work with Rahman, a servant I have known for most of my life, to set up the study. We carry cushions up the stairs, move the old boom box in from my bedroom, fetch ashtrays and glasses and ice. I put on a Joe Satriani CD we listened to on our first big trip to the mountains. Then I sit down in the gentle light, surrounded by books and wood paneling, and wait for my friends to arrive.

They come one by one, stopping to chat for a while with my parents and then clumping up the staircase. The study fills. Shahid and Nippy and I discuss women woes, or more specifically my women woes, and the most recent disaster in my romantic life. Booboo and Saad argue about Pakistan's role in the so-called war on terror. Ajoo tells O.H. about his latest hunting outing. A.T. gets on his mobile to his wife. The room grows smoky. The music switches to Neil Young. I settle back into my cushion and relax.

This is the magic of Lahore. Maybe because of the heat or the big families or the social restrictions or the relative lack of money, Lahore is a place where bands of friends tend to form and hold together. I would not trade this evening in my long-disused study for a party in the coolest nightclub in SoHo or on the swankiest yacht off Portofino. There is far more pleasure and sustenance to be had here, and I gorge myself on it tonight.

The next day I wander around the city, dropping in on places I once visited often. I buy a pack of cigarettes from the paan shop in Main Market, and I'm recognized by Saleem, the kid who used to take my orders and let me run a tab when I was a teenager. He comes over to say hello and ask how London is treating me. "How did you know I was in London now?" I ask him. He shrugs. From my cousins, he tells me, from my friends, you know, word moves around.

The shopkeeper at the bookstore in the corner of Liberty Market recognizes me, too, and he tells me that my novel is still selling well. "Yeah, but all your copies are pirated," I say. He assures me, smiling, that this isn't true, and he also points out that being read is more valuable a reward than being paid.

That evening, I turn on the water in my shower, but the pressure is low because my sister is taking a shower in her bathroom and my mother is taking a shower in hers. I turn off the water and wait. This is what life would have been like if I had stayed, I think: less convenient, perhaps, but more connected to the people I love.

After we have dressed, we meet in the living room, my mother and sister in saris, my father and I in suits. A cousin appears just in time to take our photo, and then we are off to Omer's house, where some of the boys have gathered in a corner of the veranda, smoking. I join their circle. Omer makes his appearance, looking nervous at last and sweating slightly even though the weather is cool.

Then the order is given, everyone disperses to their cars, and we form a massive convoy with the groom's flower-bedecked vehicle in front. We drive slowly, hazard lights flashing, and we block traffic at busy intersections for many minutes at a time. No one honks at us. In Lahore, no one would. Weddings are sacred in this place of bonds, moments for the city to bind itself together even more strongly.

We arrive and pass through a reception line of flowers. Some of the cheekier, and unmarried, girls on their side flick their flowers at some of the cheekier, and unmarried, boys on ours. Then we are inside the tent, which is holding up well against the light rain that is falling. I wander about saying my hellos and thinking how strange it is that just a few nights ago I was working on a PowerPoint presentation in my office in Piccadilly.

The bride and groom sit on a stage, surrounded by family and friends. I stand with my parents and my aunt and uncle. My uncle looks at me, and we share a moment of silent understanding. His son and my cousin, the closest person I will ever have to a twin, is marrying. My uncle's face is full of emotion, and I wink at him to hide the moistness in my eyes.

When I watch Omer walk out of the tent with his wife, I smile, happy for him and for his life, a life much like one I could, perhaps, have led. A wave of nostalgia rises up in me but I wait for it to subside, and I focus on savoring the moment.

I am a wanderer. Soon I will again have left Lahore. There will be time enough then to think about the past. For now, I accept the blessing of the present. This is the gift my city has always given me, a sense of home to sustain me on my travels.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Music That Moved Me in 2003 - part 1

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief - The "media" touted this as Radiohead's return-to-rock album… I wondered why come back? …and wouldn't you know it there's still the electronica fusion present, the experimentation is still stimulating, and Radiohead is still pouring complex music into a funnel of simplicity, ambiguity, and delight. I love the fact that there's a band on this planet that will draw me to the record store to wait in line for a copy at 12am of the release date.

The first things I noticed about "Hail to the Thief" was the overall balance of the album. There's the cold ambiance of "Where I End and You Begin," and "The Gloaming," the layered flurries and intensity of "2 + 2 = 5," "Myxomatosis," and "Scatterbrain," and the warm and groove based feel of "Sail to the Moon" and "A Punchup at a Wedding." This is what good albums do, either focus on one sound or give you a variety of songs showcasing the many reasons why they are the shit.

After listening and absorbing I realized this album is a logical step in the tradition of Kid A and Amnesiac, still incorporating the "Rock" departure mentality but definitely relying more upon Rock's golden axe, the Guitar, as well as the piano, analog keys, and live drums. Where as the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions produced brilliant music relying heavily on software, machinery, and sampling, "Hail to…" is Radiohead re-embracing the tools of the trade. From the opening song, "2 + 2 = 5" there's already rock sections that miraculously don't use space age techniques. "Sail to the Moon," is the short-hair power ballad that has beautiful arrangements, smooth change-ups, and Thom Yorke wailing simple melodic verses. Then you have "Go to Sleep," "Where I End and You Begin," and "There There" which are just great rock songs that only Radiohead can do. "There There," my personal favorite has a simple guitar riff locked in with the toms that even staunch haters in my crew couldn't deny (we know who you are fool). "There There's" energy and sound glows with rebellion as we scream with happiness that "we are all accidents waiting to happen." Conceptually, "There There" is a microcosm of the odd dynamic omnipresent in "Hail to…," an alarmist expose put to excellent music and made to sound beautiful and crafted; basically a finely packaged revolt. "There There" makes me want to get into bar fights or at the very least, do push-ups.

Moving more toward the morph/hybrid section of town are "Sit down. Stand up," which displays a fine blend of piano notes and chords with blips, blaps, and electronic rhythms before promptly exploding into a drum and bass sermon. "The Gloaming," which has several sampled rhythms ranging from vinyl hiss to digital crickets, as well as ambient textures, all juxtaposed with Thom Yorkes's soft voice producing the feeling of moving fast and slow simultaneously. And "Myxomatosis," which is a power-driven experience fully equipped with charged sounds, hard percussion and breaks, and content with the essence of "Animal Farm." It's amazing that the mix of sounds in washing machine movement doesn't hide Thom's voice or that the empty parts don't sound too empty.

The combination of music and message is what always attracts me to groups like Radiohead and Radiohead and Radiohead. They operate in a class of their own, blending and distorting genres, fearlessly innovating Rock, and still having the presence of mind to make music that can be appreciated by nerds or casual observers for its soulful and catchy songs. While the political nature of this album was a focal point for many observers, I've always felt that conscious people will have art reflect reality. Radiohead follows this equation without being preachy or paranoid. All in all, "Hail to the Thief," is another chapter in Radiohead's storied existence that serves as the DNA of all other works. The album provides a clear window looking into their remarkable catalog and at the same time functions with its own identity outside of their "other" worshipped projects.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Arms Issue Seen as Hurting U.S. Credibility Abroad

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 19, 2004; Page A01


The Bush administration's inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- after public statements declaring an imminent threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein -- has begun to harm the credibility abroad of the United States and of American intelligence, according to foreign policy experts in both parties.

In last year's State of the Union address, President Bush used stark imagery to make the case that military action was necessary. Among other claims, Bush said that Hussein had enough anthrax to "kill several million people," enough botulinum toxin to "subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure" and enough chemical agents to "kill untold thousands."

Now, as the president prepares for this State of the Union address Tuesday, those frightening images of death and destruction have been replaced by a different reality: Few of the many claims made by the administration have been confirmed after months of searching by weapons inspectors.

Within the United States, Bush does not appear to have suffered much political damage from the failure to find weapons, with polls showing high ratings for his handling of the war and little concern that he misrepresented the threat.

But a range of foreign policy experts, including supporters of the war, said the long-term consequences of the administration's rhetoric could be severe overseas -- especially because the war was waged without the backing of the United Nations and was opposed by large majorities, even in countries run by leaders that supported the invasion.

"The foreign policy blow-back is pretty serious," said Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board and a supporter of the war. He said the gaps between the administration's rhetoric and the postwar findings threaten Bush's doctrine of "preemption," which envisions attacking a nation because it is an imminent threat.

The doctrine "rests not just on solid intelligence," Adelman said, but "also on the credibility that the intelligence is solid."

Already, in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, China has rejected U.S. intelligence that North Korea has a secret program to enrich uranium for use in weapons. China is a key player in resolving the North Korean standoff, but its refusal to embrace the U.S. intelligence has disappointed U.S. officials and could complicate negotiations to eliminate North Korea's weapons programs.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the same problem could occur if the United States presses for action against alleged weapons programs in Iran and Syria. The solution, he said, is to let international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency take the lead in making the case, as has happened thus far in Iran, and also to be willing to share more of the intelligence with other countries.

The inability to find suspected weapons "has to make it more difficult on some future occasion if the United States argues the intelligence warrants something controversial, like a preventive attack," said Haass, a Republican who was head of policy planning for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell when the war started. "The result is we've made the bar higher for ourselves and we have to expect greater skepticism in the future."

James Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration who believed there were legitimate concerns about Iraq's weapons programs, said the failure of the prewar claims to match the postwar reality "add to the general sense of criticism about the U.S., that we will do anything, say anything" to prevail.

Indeed, whenever Powell grants interviews to foreign news organizations, he is often hit with a question about the search for weapons of mass destruction. Last Friday, a British TV reporter asked whether in retirement he would "admit that you had concerns about invading Iraq," and a Dutch reporter asked whether he ever had doubts about the Iraq policy.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he had the intention, he had the capability," Powell responded. "How many weapons he had or didn't have, that will be determined."

Some on Capitol Hill believe the issue is so important that they are pressing the president to address the apparent intelligence failure in the State of the Union address and propose ways to fix it.

"I believe that unanswered questions regarding the accuracy and reliability of U.S. intelligence have created a credibility gap and left the nation in a precarious position," Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a speech last week. "The intelligence community seems to be in a state of denial, and the administration seems to have moved on."

Since last year's State of the Union, the White House has established procedures for handling intelligence in presidential speeches by including a CIA officer in the speechwriting process. The CIA is also conducting an internal review, comparing prewar estimates with postwar findings, and the final report will be finished after inspectors in Iraq complete their work.

But Bush and his aides have largely sought to divert attention from the issue. White House aides have said they expect this year's State of the Union speech to look ahead -- to the democracy the administration hopes to establish in Iraq -- rather than look back.

Officials also have turned the focus to celebrating Hussein's capture last month and repeatedly drawing attention to Hussein's mistreatment of his people. Officials have argued that if Iraq's stocks of weapons are still unclear, Hussein's intentions to again possess such weapons are not. Thirteen years ago, when the United States was a backer of Hussein, Iraq used chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war.

The administration "rid the Iraqi people of a murderous dictator, and rid the world of a menace to our future peace and security," Vice President Cheney said in a speech last week. Cheney -- and other U.S. officials -- increasingly point to Libya's decision last month to give up its weapons of mass destruction as a direct consequence of challenging Iraq.

Bush, when asked by ABC's Diane Sawyer why he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when intelligence pointed more to the possibility Hussein would obtain such weapons, dismissed the question: "So, what's the difference?"

The U.S. team searching for Iraq's weapons has not issued a report since October, but in recent weeks the gap between administration claims and Iraq's actual weapons holdings has become increasingly clear. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that U.S. investigators have found no evidence that Iraq had a hidden cache of old chemical or biological weapons, and that its nuclear program had been shattered after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. A lengthy study issued by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace also concluded the administration shifted the intelligence consensus on Iraq's weapons in 2002 as officials prepared for war, making it appear more imminent and threatening than was warranted by the evidence.

The report further said that the administration "systematically misrepresented the threat" posed by Iraq, often on purpose, in four ways: one, treating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as a single threat, although each posed different dangers and evidence was particularly thin on Iraq's nuclear and chemical programs; two, insisting without evidence that Hussein would give his weapons to terrorists; three, often dropping caveats and uncertainties contained in the intelligence assessments when making public statements; and four, misrepresenting inspectors' findings so that minor threats were depicted as emergencies.

Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment and co-author of the report, pointed to one example in a speech delivered by Bush in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002. U.N. inspectors had noted that Iraq had failed to account for bacterial growth media that, if used, "could have produced about three times as much" anthrax as Iraq had admitted. But Bush, in his speech, turned a theoretical possibility into a fact.

"The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount," Bush said. "This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for and is capable of killing millions."

Mathews said her research showed the administration repeatedly and frequently took such liberties with the intelligence and inspectors' findings to bolster its cases for immediate action. In the Cincinnati example, "in 35 words, you go from probably to a likelihood to a fact," she said. "With a few little changes in wording, you turn an 'if' into a dire biological weapons stockpile. Anyone hearing that must be thinking, 'My God, this is an imminent threat.' "

Steinberg, who was privy to the intelligence before President Bill Clinton left office, said that while at the National Security Council he saw no evidence Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program, but that there were unresolved questions about Hussein's chemical and biological weapons programs. "Given his reluctance to address these questions, you had to conclude he was hiding something," he said, adding that given the intelligence he saw, "I certainly expected something would have turned up."

"I think there are [diplomatic] consequences as a result of the president asking these questions [about Iraq's weapons holdings] and the answer being no" weapons, said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, who believes the ouster of Hussein justified the war. "The intelligence could have been better."

Richard Perle, another member of the Defense Advisory Board, said the criticism of the Bush administration is unfair. "Intelligence is not an audit," he said. "It's the best information you can get in circumstances of uncertainty, and you use it to make the best prudent judgment you can."

He added that presidents in particular tend not to place qualifiers on their statements, especially when they are advocating a particular policy. "Public officials tend to avoid hedging," he said.

Given the stakes involved -- going to war -- Mathews said the standards must be higher for such statements. "The most important call a president can make by a mile is whether to take a country to war," she argued, making the consequences of unwise decisions or misleading statements even greater.

Indeed, she said, the reverberations are still being felt, even as the administration tries to put the problem behind it. A recent CBS poll found that only 16 percent of those surveyed believed the administration lied about Iraq's weapons. But she said there is intense interest in the report's findings, with 35,000 copies downloaded from the think tank's Web site in just five days. "It is too soon to say there was no cost" to the failure to find weapons, she said. "I think there is a huge appetite for learning about this."

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