Which didn't even happen! What now becomes of Rich's judgment that the destruction of the museum constitutes ``the naked revelation of our worst instincts at the very dawn of our grandiose project to bring democratic values to the Middle East''? Does he admit that this judgment was nothing but a naked revelation of the cheapest instincts of the antiwar left--that, shamed by the jubilation of Iraqis upon their liberation, a liberation the Western left did everything it could to prevent, the left desperately sought to change the subject and taint the victory?
Hardly. The left simply moved on to another change of subject: the ``hyping'' of the weapons of mass destruction.
The inability to find the weapons is indeed troubling, but only because it means that the weapons remain unaccounted for and might be in the wrong hands. The idea that our inability to thus far find the WMDs proves that the threat was phony and hyped is simply false.
If the U.S. intelligence agencies bent their data to damn Saddam, why is it that the French, German and Russian intelligence services all came to the same conclusion? Why is it that every country on the Security Council, including Syria, in the unanimous Resolution 1441, declared that Saddam had failed to account for the tons of chemical and biological agents he had in 1998? If he had destroyed them all by 2002, why did he not just say so, list where and when it happened, and save his regime?
If Saddam had no chemical weapons, why did coalition forces find thousands of gas masks and atropine syringes in Iraqi army bunkers? And does anybody believe that President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and General Franks ordered U.S. soldiers outside Baghdad to don heavy, bulky, chemical-weapons suits in scorching heat--an encumbrance that increased their risks in conventional combat and could have jeopardized their lives--to maintain a charade?
Everyone thought Saddam had weapons because we knew for sure he had them five years ago and there was no evidence that he disposed of them. The WMD- hyping charge is nothing more than the Iraqi museum story Part II: A way for opponents of the war--deeply embarrassed by the mass graves, torture chambers and grotesque palaces discovered after the war--to change the subject and relieve themselves of the shame of having opposed the liberation of 25 million people.
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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