Debra J. Saunders

As proof, some point to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report which found that Iraq's weapons programs did not pose "an immediate threat to the United States, to the region or to global security" and that the intelligence community "misrepresented" Iraq's WMD threat.

Au contraire: While critics argue that Bush said Iraq presented an "immediate" or "imminent" threat, Bush said the opposite in his 2003 State of the Union address: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

My guess: Shortly after the cognoscenti decide there are absolutely no WMD in Iraq, some weapons will surface. The Bush administration -- wrongly, we now know -- believed that Iraq was so WMD-rich that Blix and his inspectors had to be incompetent not to stumble onto caches of weapons. Now, the Bush haters, when they argue there are no such weapons, seem poised to make their own version of the same mistake. The truth will be in the middle.

The "Bush-lied" crowd also points to Secretary of State Colin Powell's admission last week that there was no "smoking gun" linking Osama bin Laden and Hussein. (As if the administration ever claimed it found a smoking gun -- the Bush administration, in fact, argued that those who waited for a "smoking gun" were asking for a mushroom cloud.)

Here is more of what Powell said: "I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did."

Powell also reminded reporters how this war came to pass. "The president took the case to the international community and said: For 12 years, you have been defied. What are you going to do now? It's time for us to act."

Enter a real Hussein-al Qaeda nexus: U.N. inaction in Iraq (despite Hussein's flagrant violations of Resolution 1441) plus U.S. failure to rout Hussein loyalists after winning the Persian Gulf War together emboldened extremists to believe that they could act with impunity and without consequence.

Debra J. Saunders

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