Photo: AP/Shutterstock During the run-up to the Iraq war, the Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to support its preferred conclusion that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Since Iraq was a totalitarian state that had resisted international demands for transparency, its behavior provoked suspicion that both encouraged Bush administration officials to suspect the worst and made their manipulation of intelligence appear more plausible. In keeping with its apparent commitment to repeating all the abuses and failures of the last Republican presidency, along with inventing many new ones, the Trump administration is running the same play, this time with China. The New York Times reports the administration is pressuring intelligence officials to find evidence that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan. The bulk of scientific evidence points to a different conclusion — that the coronavirus was transmitted from animals to humans. The lab theory remains theoretically possible but unlikely and difficult to prove. Conservatives have obsessed over the lab theory for strange reasons. It seems to fulfill an elemental impulse to recast the coronavirus as a moral struggle against communism — the kind of problem conservatives instinctively grasp and can use as a bludgeon against liberals — rather than… Read full this story
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