With David Kay's testimony on the fruitless search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the time has come for an accounting.
In a more reasonable environment, politicians and opinion-makers would absorb the new facts and make the needed reforms. Reasonable people cannot avoid the conclusion that our intelligence agencies were badly mistaken.
But are the Democrats reasonable? Their preposterous interpretation of events has become mainstream. It goes as follows. No stockpiles of WMDs were found in Iraq therefore: a) George W. Bush knew that there were none to be found and b) took the nation to war on false pretenses.
Let's examine the logic. The Democrats claim that Bush wanted war in spite of the fact that there were no WMDs. Why? To put himself in political jeopardy when this fact was discovered? And if he knew that there were no WMDs, why did he speak about them so often and so forcefully? Also, how many times must we remind the Democrats that the president never argued that the threat was "imminent?" He urged, to the contrary, that it would be reckless to wait until a threat was imminent.
But the most amazing thing about the Democrats' argument is its glaring disregard of very recent history. Everyone -- the Democrats, the French, the Republicans, the Clinton administration, the Russians, the United Nations Security Council -- believed that Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs. It wasn't disputed by anyone. Here is a small sample of quotations from leading Democrats on the matter:
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." -- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983." -- Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Clinton, Feb. 18, 1998.
"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction program." -- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry and others, Oct. 9, 1998.
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Dec. 16, 1998.
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2002.