So there weren’t any bombs, after all …

By Margaret Poe 2004

David Kay has given up. Considering that Kay was the chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, our favorite cowboy (and nominee for re-election) has a lot of ‘splaining to do. Was it a “mission accomplished,” as Bush might say? Not so much. But at least Kay found a lot of Saddam’s big, bad weapons, right? Well, no, not really. At the very lest, he validated the United States’ preemptive strike on Iraq, didn’t he? Hmm … quite the opposite, in fact.

David Kay’s recent statements that Iraq contains no weapons of mass destruction are downright chilling. How can that be? After all, we went to war — went to war! — based on Bush’s solemn declaration that Iraq’s possession of these weapons posed a serious threat to our safety. We backed our president’s war because, after all, we didn’t want to be vaporized by a nuclear bomb. And now they’re telling us that they couldn’t find even a bottle rocket.

It seems this is most frightening in light of the two possible scenarios that led us into war. Now, I may not be a CIA insider (despite my appreciation for secret agent sunglasses), but I have been led to believe that these federal agencies are experts at things like, oh, weapons of mass destruction. And detecting them. These are intelligence agencies, after all. Our fate (and our reputation in the world) was in their hands, and it seems the agents were too busy trying on sunglasses and polishing their shoes to realize they were about to ruin the world. Oops.

We were all supposed to feel safer knowing that statues of Saddam no longer decorated Baghdad, that the regime was toppled. Indeed, it was heartwarming to think that we went up against a dictator and won. We though that Saddam’s huge stockpile of weapons would turn up any day, and America would, once again, garner respect. But our hopes have been dashed, and I’m not feeling so sage anymore. We are the United States, and mistakes about whether there are bombs in Iraq have gone undetected. Intelligent intelligence.

Then again, maybe I’m being took hard on the poor undercover folks at undisclosed locations in unmarked buildings. Perhaps fault lies more in the hands of a certain high-profile president in a certain white house in Washington, D.C. Could Bush, along with his henchmen, have simply lied about the weapons so they could get in on the action? They wanted to go to war, but they needed a good, solid reason to back themselves up. Maybe imaginary bombs were simply too tempting to resist.

As disturbing as it is to think that our intelligence agencies failed in determining that no weapons truly existed, this is a far worse alternative. If the administration lied simply so we could go to war, this (while boosting Kucinich’s appeal) makes the prospect of bad intelligence look better than a dip in one of Saddam’s pools after weeks in the desert. Wars should not be justified by lies.

Yet maybe they are. On Jan. 20, 2004, a mere four days before Kay’s resignation, Bush gave his Sate of the Union Address. Reexamining his words in light of this recent news gives an entirely new perspective. He said, “Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.” How could the report have identified “dozens” when Kay himself said, “I’m personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction.” It’s a paradox. Either Bush confused “dozens” with “none,” or eh thought that no one would care if he just said what he thought would most aggravate Ted Kennedy.

Well, he did a good job. Ted’s red in the face, and so am I. I don’t know if it was because of faulty intelligence, or if Bush was lying so he could get us into war, or perhaps both, but I look forward to finding out the truth. But the truth will be long in coming, as President Bush is appointing the committee investigating the matter. So even if they do disclose the truth, it won’t be until long after the election.

Whatever the reason, this is pretty pathetic for our country, and I, for one, am glad it’s an election year. If it weren’t for David Kay’s brave statement admitting he was wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, the truth (whatever it may be) might have never come out. Bush might have been making another State of the Union Address next year in which he talked about Saddam’s bombs. And that is something I do not want to hear.

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