The former lead inspector?s comments are particularly stinging, though, given his past public statements. After testifying before Congress this July, Kay told reporters, ?We have made significant progress in identifying and locating individuals who were reportedly involved in a mobile program.? And in October, Kay told Congress, ?Iraq concealed (dozens of WMD-related program activities) from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002.?
Kay?s credibility also has another question mark.
Giving ammunition to those who question his motives, Kay admitted to NPR, ?I hope there is a book out there sometime.? It?s possible that Kay is trying to ignite a bidding war among deep-pocketed publishers, but people who know him say it?s not in his character.
Taken together, however, Kay?s statements actually provide a compelling justification for going to war in Iraq.
The only reason Kay has been able to make the determination he did was because he had 1,400 people combing through documents and examining facilities in a way that simply would not have been possible during Saddam?s reign.
It?s not exactly as if Saddam?s Iraq was a weapons-free zone. Halfway through his team?s search, Kay had already found substantial evidence of WMD-related programs and believed he would uncover hard ?proof.?
Add to that the intelligence before the war?that Saddam had WMDs?and the simple fact that Saddam had used chemical weapons against both Iran and his own people, and Bush?s decision was the very definition of reasonable.
Even in a world of uncertain intelligence?probably a permanent reality until God decides to spy for us?a president?s job is to guard against the worst potential scenarios. Right up until the war, Saddam was developing WMDs, the intelligence community thought he had stockpiles, and history shows that he has used them.
Intelligence failures in Iraq point to the need for reform, but they do not alter reality: then?and now?the war not simply just, but necessary.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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