In light of weapons inspector David Kay's recent statements, it is mystifying to me that President Bush and Republicans aren't claiming vindication and challenging Democrats for exploiting the issue. Some observations about this:
1. Kay did say we didn't discover major stockpiles of recently developed WMD in Iraq, but almost everything else he said supports the president's position, exposing his opponents as wrong and reckless. Kay said or implied that:
A. "The intelligence community owes the president (an apology) rather than the president owing (one to) the American people."
B. The administration did not pressure the intelligence agencies to overstate the WMD threat.
C. While Bush relied on possibly erroneous intelligence, so did Saddam himself and his generals, the Clinton administration, France, Germany and Britain.
D. "What we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war."
E. Iraq was a magnet for international terrorists who were free to operate there, and plan and conduct their deadly mischief.
F. Saddam was flagrantly violating U.N. resolutions in a number of respects and feverishly trying to do so in others. While there were supposedly no major WMD stockpiles, there were probably WMDs, some of which may have been removed to Syria in the weeks preceding our invasion. Saddam was trying to weaponize the deadly agent Ricin, and he was clearly developing missile systems in contravention of the resolutions.
G. Saddam's scientists may have duped him about their progress in developing WMD.
2. Bill Clinton recently said that when he ordered the bombing of Iraq's suspected WMD sites, we couldn't be sure whether we (and Britain) destroyed all of them, 50 percent or 10 percent -- because we didn't have inspectors on the ground to determine the extent of the damage. While Clinton was trying to take credit for possibly destroying Iraq's WMD, he inadvertently exposed his party's hypocrisy. Did Democrats complain that he bombed these sites when we didn't even know if WMD were there? Did Democrats complain about weaknesses in our intelligence because we never learned whether we struck pay dirt with those bombing attacks? Did they call for an investigation?
3. It's a little hard for me to swallow the idea that just one of Saddam's scientists deceived him, much less a network of them who would have had to discuss their lies conspiratorially, increasing the chances that they would be exposed (and then murdered).
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