Robert Kagan has a good editorial in The Washington Post taking an objective report of Iraq’s WMDs – or the lack thereof. As many have mentioned, the idea that Iraq had WMDs was used in 1998 by Clinton and was echoed by the UN. It is exceptionally hard to believe that Iraq never had weapons when there is a mountain of evidence that it did coming from sources other than the Bush Administration. Secretary Powell’s strong words against critics of the Bush Administration also shows that the government is sticking to its story.
Like all extraordinary claims, critics of the Bush Administration need to be held to a high standard of proof. In order to show that the Bush Administration willingly and knowingly lied to the American people critics would also have to prove that President Clinton and the UN lied in 1998. They would also have to prove that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction and that the Bush Administration knew that was the case. In other words, while it is possible that the Bush Administration was wrong (even though that seems unlikely despite the fact that the weapons have not been found), it is highly unlikely that there was some conspiracy to hide the truth for war. It is as unlikely to rationally suggest that the Bush Administration would be able to hide some ulterior motive for Iraq as it would to suggest that they could cover up aliens in Roswell. Like all conspiracy theories, facts can be twisted to fit the theories, but closer examinations quickly dispell such theories.
If there was a failure of intelligence, then it needs to be examined and investigated. At the same time, such an investigation must necessarily be closed to the public to preserve national security and the safety of our intelligence operatives. Some Democrats and others want such an investigation to be a show trial for the Bush Administration. It is fair to suggest that the Administration needs to show proof of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. What they don’t need are more political attacks and weapons of mass destraction while they do so.