The whole discussion about Iraq yesterday filled my inbox with interesting emails this morning. Ben, Mister Bling and Jeff also made some excellent comments that are worth reading as well. You can view those here. Jeff has a beautiful way of putting things into historical perspective, and I think you'll agree that his comments are thoughtful, balanced and fair, a stark contrast to what you're used to from this website.
A couple of people who sent me email defended On the Mark's statements about the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. One individual pointed out that in McClellan's Press Release from January 12th, (cited below) the Press Secretary's statements reflect a change in intelligence strategy and not the end of the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. This person goes on to make the point that McClellan leaves the door open for further investigations of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, as intelligence gathering needs change.
First of all, to quote Dick Cheney "That's a complete distortion of the facts.". It's the equivalent of being caught in a lie, and using the excuse that under future circumstances the lie may become true, if circumstances change. But, I can see how using a conservative's flawed logic, grasping for straws, you could read McClellan's statement and get that out of it.
Then, as if summoned from above, the CIA released a report, unambiguously titled "Iraq: No Large-Scale Chemical Warfare Efforts Since Early 1990s.", that indicated that Iraq stopped it's chemical weapons program in 1991. You can read about it in an LA Times article here. The article also points out that intelligence officials anticipate additional reports specifically pertaining to revisions of previous CIA statments regarding biological and nuclear weapons programs in Iraq.
Let's see, we have the President's Spokesperson and the CIA both admitting that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. Who else has to come out and say it before these people accept that Bush's entire rationale for a first strike against Iraq without support from the UN was flawed?
Conservatives everywhere are saying "Yeah, but we ousted Saddam and gave the Iraqi people a democracy." Ok. You also lied, sacrificed our international reputation, sank billions of US dollars and thousands of soldiers into a country where you didn't have a plan, and all because the President was too damned impatient to wait for support from the UN. The same thing could have been achieved with less US money, less dead US servicemen and women, and our international reputation intact.
It's truly impossible to speculate about how things may have been different had we waited for the wheels of progress to turn at the UN, so I won't do that. What we do know is that the President is a liar, and most of his vocal supporters are so loyal they can't admit when they're completely wrong. You've all recently seen me admit when I've been corrected or when I've been completely wrong. It's time for the President and Republicans to extend the same courtesy to the rest of the world.