Now that former CIA Director George Tenet has begun his pile-on of the beleaguered Bush administration on the very issue (WMD) he helped the administration formulate, be prepared for a new round of “Bush lied, people died” propaganda. Since Democrats are forcing us to deal with this issue, yet again, couldn’t we just once put them on the ropes?
The entire WMD issue has been a Democratic diversion from the get-go. It has allowed Democrats immeasurable cover for their irresponsible absence of policy on Iraq and has provided endless fodder for their libelous claims against the administration.
The Democrats’ behavior over the last six years reminds me of that of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team.” Since the blood evidence against O.J. was overwhelming and the defense had no case, it had to create sinister diversions to discredit the evidence gatherers and paint police investigators as racists. Happily for the defense, certain anomalies fell into its lap that it could exploit to confuse and incite a racially charged jury.
Similarly, until recently, Democrats have had no policy since 9/11 began, other than to try to poke holes in the administration’s policies and actions — and to inflame the passions of the electoral “jury” against the Bush Administration and the Iraq War. Unfortunately, anomalies have fallen into their laps as well: little things that appeared wrong that they could blow up and distort to discredit the administration and the war effort. Consider:
— Dems say Bush lied about, hyped, distorted and manufactured the WMD intelligence to trick them into supporting the war. Never mind that they are on record independently making similar claims even before Bush’s alleged misstatements.
— Never mind that Democrats wouldn’t conceivably have relied on the Bush administration for something this important, since, from the beginning, they have proudly distrusted everything it has said.
— Never mind that Democrats received intelligence briefings compiled not by the Bush White House, but our intelligence agencies, which were less alarmist about Iraqi WMD than the presidential daily briefings provided to the White House. Yet these Democrats still voted for the Iraq War resolution.
— But into their laps fell the report that the CIA began to have some doubts about the 16-word State of the Union speech statement that the British had learned that Saddam had tried to acquire yellow cake uranium from Africa. The CIA had even caused that statement to be removed from a presidential speech in Cincinnati three months earlier. (If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit).
— Never mind that the Brits still stood by the statement and that the CIA didn’t say it was wrong, just that there wasn’t sufficient certainty about it to include it in the speech. Never mind that the CIA vetted this SOTU speech and didn’t recommend deletion of the 16 words and that Tenet even said Bush “had every reason to believe the statement was sound.” Never mind that the statement was technically accurate and was probably accurate in fact.
— Then, into their laps fell another gift: The administration apologized for the inclusion of the statement in the SOTU speech, not because it didn’t believe it was true, but because it didn’t meet the higher standard of proof normally required for SOTU speech assertions.
— Now, Democrats had “proof” Bush hyped the intelligence.
— Dems exploited many other morsels in the ensuing years, such as that Cheney met with the CIA. Never mind that bipartisan investigators, after interviewing hundreds of intelligence officers, concluded Cheney did not pressure the CIA to hype the intelligence.
— Exploitable diversions are still raining from the sky. In his new book, George Tenet says, among other things, he didn’t mean what everyone thought he meant when he said the evidence for Iraqi WMD was a “slam dunk.”
This is getting so tiresome. The inescapable fact is that the CIA and 14 other U.S. intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of most other nations believed Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was trying to reconstitute its nuclear program. Coupled with Saddam’s behavior toward weapons inspectors, his violations of treaties and U.N. resolutions, his failure to meet his burden of proving he had destroyed WMD we know he had and used on his own people, and his support and harboring of terrorists — notwithstanding Dem diversions about the latter point as well — Bush would have been irresponsible not to have taken action.
Are Democrats willing to commit to the position that they would not have attacked Iraq and that the world would be a safer place with Saddam still in power? If so, they should be forced to face the consequences of that position, as cogently illuminated by National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy: “a Saddam Hussein, emboldened from having faced down the United States and its sanctions, loaded with money, arming with WMDs, and coddling jihadists.”