-- Never mind that the Brits still stood by the statement and that the CIA didn't say it was wrong, just that there wasn't sufficient certainty about it to include it in the speech. Never mind that the CIA vetted this SOTU speech and didn't recommend deletion of the 16 words and that Tenet even said Bush "had every reason to believe the statement was sound." Never mind that the statement was technically accurate and was probably accurate in fact.
-- Then, into their laps fell another gift: The administration apologized for the inclusion of the statement in the SOTU speech, not because it didn't believe it was true, but because it didn't meet the higher standard of proof normally required for SOTU speech assertions.
-- Now, Democrats had "proof" Bush hyped the intelligence.
-- Dems exploited many other morsels in the ensuing years, such as that Cheney met with the CIA. Never mind that bipartisan investigators, after interviewing hundreds of intelligence officers, concluded Cheney did not pressure the CIA to hype the intelligence.
-- Exploitable diversions are still raining from the sky. In his new book, George Tenet says, among other things, he didn't mean what everyone thought he meant when he said the evidence for Iraqi WMD was a "slam dunk."
This is getting so tiresome. The inescapable fact is that the CIA and 14 other U.S. intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of most other nations believed Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was trying to reconstitute its nuclear program. Coupled with Saddam's behavior toward weapons inspectors, his violations of treaties and U.N. resolutions, his failure to meet his burden of proving he had destroyed WMD we know he had and used on his own people, and his support and harboring of terrorists -- notwithstanding Dem diversions about the latter point as well -- Bush would have been irresponsible not to have taken action.
Are Democrats willing to commit to the position that they would not have attacked Iraq and that the world would be a safer place with Saddam still in power? If so, they should be forced to face the consequences of that position, as cogently illuminated by National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy: "a Saddam Hussein, emboldened from having faced down the United States and its sanctions, loaded with money, arming with WMDs, and coddling jihadists."
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