The wires are abuzz with excerpts from a “Fox News Sunday” interview with Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. National Security Adviser, who insists President Bush had “very good intelligence going into the war” and that “nothing pointed to a reversal of Saddam Hussein's very active efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to have very good programs in weapons of mass destruction. It was very clear that this had continued and that it was a gathering danger.”
This is nonsense.
Before our recent Iraq war, the United Nations sent inspectors into Iraq in search of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. The inspectors found nothing. It was the United States, expressing impatience with the inspectors’ inability to find what it was convinced was there, that forced the end of inspections and the launch of the war.
In addition, the United States had the testimony of Hussein Kamel, who was Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law and had run Iraq’s weapons programs for a decade before his defection. Proponents of war used information from Kamel to discuss how large Iraq’s WMD programs were, or, rather, had once been -- without noting that Kamel had also said that “after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them,” according to a March 3 article in Newsweek.
Why were they destroyed? Because Saddam Hussein didn’t want U.N. weapons inspectors finding them.
Funny, isn’t it? Rice went on to say today, according to the Fox News transcript, that “Obviously, after the inspectors were kicked out (by Iraq in 1998), one source of information about his programs was lost.” But the United States clearly didn’t value inspectors as a source of information in 2003, instead deriding their efforts because they couldn’t find the weapons the Bush administration wanted them to.
Not only were the inspectors validated in finding no weapons of mass destruction; they apparently prevented Saddam Hussein from making any.
Almost as though the war was unnecessary -- at least for the reasons for which we were told we were fighting.