Mona Charen

 Were Democrats tricked into supporting the Iraq War? The New York Times, lead soloist in the left-wing chorus, claims that Democrats were deceived because the president's daily brief (PDB) was so much more comprehensive than the intelligence provided to the Congress in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). A number of Democratic senators have made the same claim, and it seems plausible on the surface as everyone knows that the president gets the very best intelligence available. But the bipartisan Robb/Silberman commission reported that the intelligence in the PDB was, if anything, more alarmist than that in the NIE. In other words, if the NIE said, "Saddam may be reconstituting his nuclear weapons program," the PDB would have said, "Saddam is almost certainly reconstituting his nuclear program." So if the Congress had seen the exact same reports the president saw, it would only have strengthened, not weakened, the case for war.

 Nor did the commission find any evidence that intelligence was manipulated, distorted, or, as the left-wing Brits alleged against Tony Blair, "sexed up." The report noted that the intelligence had proved faulty, but then added, "These errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs." Poor tradecraft? Could that possibly mean that the CIA screwed up royally? Why do the liberals avoid this obvious conclusion and substitute fantasies of Bush lies and distortion?

 The Clinton administration was as adamant that Saddam had WMDs as the Bush administration. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared in 1998 that "what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." [Emphasis added.] Liberals acknowledge the Clinton position but hasten to remind us that "Clinton didn't go to war." No. Because the Democrats are the party of talk, endless negotiations and U.N. resolutions. Even when faced with potentially catastrophic threats, they will not act militarily.

 And now, in the midst of a grave conflict, they stoop to any lie to discredit a president who did not lack the courage to act.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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