President-elect Barack Obama, on "60 Minutes," defended the financial bailout package.
Yes, said Obama, the economy continues to suffer, but "I think the part of the way to think about it is things could be worse. … So part of what we have to measure against is what didn't happen and not just what has happened."
Interesting. Why not apply the "what didn't happen" standard to the unpopular Iraq war?
Obama calls the Iraq invasion a "dumb war." Never mind that all of his Democratic presidential nomination Senate opponents -- Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen./VP-elect Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards -- voted for the war. At the time of the invasion of Iraq, more than 70 percent of Americans supported the war. Intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Jordan and Egypt -- just to name a few -- assumed that the dictator of Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
So, but for the Iraq war, what would have happened?
After 9/11, polls show that between 80 and 90 percent of Americans expected another hit within six months to a year. It didn't happen. One could argue that deposing Saddam Hussein staved off another 9/11 or perhaps even something bigger. Our government dispatched "weapons hunter" David Kay to Iraq, a caricature of whom appeared in Oliver Stone's anti-Bush movie, "W." Kay found no stockpiles of WMD. He did, however, say that Saddam retained the intention and the capability of resuming his WMD program, a resumption that seemed likely upon the removal of the then-imposed economic sanctions.
Kay said he and his team discovered: "A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing (chemical and biological weapons) research. A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of (biological weapons) agents, that Iraqi officials … were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN. Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons. New research on (biological weapon)-applicable agents … and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN. Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation."