Thursday, January 29, 2004
WMDs, Iraq and the world's intelligence agencies: Weapons inspector David Kay testified before Congress yesterday and said little more than what he had told various media organizations over the past several days.
Some thoughts on the issue and things to remember:
Democrats and other associated leftists have argued that the failure of the U.S. to find WMDs in Iraq proves that Hussein wasn't an imminent threat. (Not that that argument was one the Bush administration ever made.) But Kay has reported discovering numerous programs to build bio/chem/nuclear weapons. Kay also discovered missiles under construction that were in violation of the range limits set by the U.N.
Several Democrat presidential candidates have argued that we were successfully containing Saddam Hussein and that there was no need to go to war. Unfortunately, these claims aren't accurate. Both France and Russia were working hard to push the U.N. Security Council to lift the sanctions against Iraq -- regardless of whether he ever met the requirements to verifiably rid himself of WMDs. The 1991 coaltion was falling apart as Hussein wooed the French and Russians with lucrative oil contracts once the sanctions were lifted. The status quo was not sustainable. Something had to be done -- either ousting Hussein or giving in. There was no third way.
CIA director George Tenet needs to go. He should have been sacked after the 9/11 attacks, but the failure of the CIA to provide the president with accurate information in the march toward war with Iraq is unacceptable. Weapons inspector Kay is correct when he says the intelligence community needs an overhauled. There is too much emphasis on technical intelligence -- spy satellites, unmanned drones, sat phone intercepts -- and not enough on people actually on the ground. However, don't forget that everyone was wrong. Not just the CIA, but Britain, France, Russia, the U.N. -- all believed Saddam still had prohibited weapons.
When this is all said and done, this still will have been worth it. This was good for fostering democracy in the Middle East. This was god for the people of Iraq. This was good for the world.