Debra J. Saunders

On another note, Hussein's miscalculations proved disastrous. After the Persian Gulf War, Hussein figured he would not have to comply seriously with U.N. weapons inspections. When Hussein realized he was wrong, he had weapons destroyed secretly -- without documentation.

In 1995, after a top official defected, Iraq released information on more weapons caches -- the intelligence committee noted that the regime believed the new information "would gain favor with the U.N. as a measure of goodwill and cooperation. Instead, the U.N. and U.S. intelligence community interpreted the new information as validation of their suspicions about Iraq's deception."

For good reason, too: Hussein wanted to end the U.N. sanctions so that he could resume making lethal WMD. In time, he would have become a danger to the world.

Or, as Rockefeller said before he voted for the war resolution, "We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." Rockefeller also said there was "unmistakable evidence" Hussein was working on nukes -- a statement the intelligence report does not back up.

Was Rockefeller trying to mislead people? Of course not. Like others in Washington -- including the Bushies and intelligence officials -- he lived in mortal dread that the government would miss information that could cost American lives.

Debra J. Saunders

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