A. "The intelligence community owes the
president (an apology) rather than the president owing (one
to) the American
B. The administration did not pressure the intelligence agencies
to overstate the WMD threat.
C. While Bush relied on possibly erroneous intelligence, so
did Saddam himself and his generals, the Clinton administration,
France, Germany and Britain.
D. "What we learned during the inspection
made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact,
it was even before the war."
E. Iraq was a magnet for international terrorists who were
free to operate there, and plan and conduct their deadly mischief.
F. Saddam was flagrantly violating U.N. resolutions in a number
of respects and feverishly trying to do so in others. While
there were supposedly no major WMD stockpiles, there were probably
WMDs, some of which may have been removed to Syria in the weeks
preceding our invasion. Saddam was trying to weaponize the
deadly agent Ricin, and he was clearly developing missile systems
in contravention of the resolutions.
G. Saddam's scientists may have duped him about their progress
in developing WMD.
2. Bill Clinton recently said that when he ordered the bombing
of Iraq's suspected WMD sites, we couldn't be sure whether
we (and Britain) destroyed all of them, 50 percent or 10 percent
-- because we didn't have inspectors on the ground to determine
the extent of the damage. While Clinton was trying to take
credit for possibly destroying Iraq's WMD, he inadvertently
exposed his party's hypocrisy. Did Democrats complain that
he bombed these sites when we didn't even know if WMD were
there? Did Democrats complain about weaknesses in our intelligence
because we never learned whether we struck pay dirt with those
bombing attacks? Did they call for an investigation?
3. It's a little hard for me to swallow the idea that just
one of Saddam's scientists deceived him, much less a network
of them who would have had to discuss their lies conspiratorially,
increasing the chances that they would be exposed (and then
4. But, if Kay is correct that Saddam was duped, how can we
say we had an avoidable failure of intelligence? If a dictator
with unchecked power has faulty intelligence about his own
regime, how can our intelligence agencies be blamed for having
that same info?
5. Intelligence is at best, an inexact science. It is hard
to stomach all these armchair quarterbacks demanding perfection
from the very intelligence organizations they and their like-minded
predecessors emasculated in previous decades. If there were
intelligence failures, they were probably not technological
ones, but those of human intelligence (HUMINT), which is precisely
what liberals weakened.
6. I question Kay's assertion that "you cannot have pre-emptive
foreign or military policy unless you have pristine, perfect
intelligence." Since much intelligence depends on the
human factor, which is inherently imperfect, we will often
not be completely certain about our intelligence. Yet, as even
Kay admits, it was imperative that we act anyway. The only
way we could prevent Saddam from developing and using WMD or
sharing them with terrorists was to remove him from power forcibly.
7. And with all due respect to Mr. Kay and
others, we did not, as I've written many times before, have
the burden of
proving Saddam had WMD. He had the duty of proving he had destroyed
them and his programs. This he deliberately and defiantly failed
to do. Our "preemptive" attack was justified with
or without the continued existence of WMD. In this sense, it
wasn't even preemptive; it was to enforce already violated
8. President Bush has been pressured to conduct an independent
investigation even though we don't know for sure that there
was truly an intelligence failure that could realistically
have been avoided. But as important as intelligence is in our
war on terror, we can greatly benefit from a comprehensive
review, provided its purpose remains constructive -- to expose
and solve problems -- rather than to find a convenient scapegoat.
9. It doesn't make sense that Bush would have
lied about WMD knowing that his lie would be exposed when
we defeated Iraq.
It's time for Democrats to "move on."