>In all fairness, I would like to set the record straight: President Bush did not lie to the American public nor to the world when he outlined the threat that Saddam Hussien posed. When John Kerry says President Bush misled the American public, I do not believe that is correct. At least, President Bush did not knowingly misled the American public.
Over the years, I have listened to a number of people speak on Saddam. Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector, visited Paducah two years ago. He made some very clear points. Saddam did have chemical and biological weapons. Did have. Past tense. The weapons he developed were not the same grade as the weapons the United States has within its arsenal. Chemical and biological weapons lose their efficacy, i.e. they have a shelf life. Weapons of the quality in Saddam’s inventory had an even shorter shelf life.
Two years ago, I listened to Dr. Khidir Hamza speak at the University of Tennesse-Martin, of all places. Dr. Hamza is more popularly known as, “Saddam’s Bombmaker.” He even has a book by the same title. Dr. Hamza seemed very insistent that Saddam was interested in nuclear weapons, but not having been in Iraq for 20 YEARS, he was not sure on the progress. He outlined a timeline that, if everything went according to plan, Saddam might eventually be able to construct a simple nuclear device.
Richard Clarke, the Terrorist Czar under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, tells a very interesting story in his partial autobiography, “Against All Enemies.” Interesting in that the book is entirely devoted telling the story of how no credible evidence of a tie between Saddam and Al-Qaeda could be discovered. I tend to believe nothing, then let the facts exposed themselves. The book is difficult not to believe to some degree as Clarke adds some details to facts that were readily available in most newspapers worldwide.
Bob Woodward tells a similar story from a different perspective. Woodward had unprecedent access to White House staff and transcripts, apparently. Also, he includes no commentary about the events; his story is one of creating the sequence of events that led to the initiation of war with Iraq. Throughout his book, it is clear that the war was based on INTELLIGENCE. Intelligence gathered by various sources, though no source was deemed to be very credible by anyone within the administration. George Tenet might be the possible exception here. And Dick Cheney. And Paul Wolfowitz. And Rumsfeld. Those fellows are interesting in that they themselves questioned the veracity of the intelligence (except Cheney, I think) many times along the way yet continued to forge ahead with drawing war plans. The advisors to the President put together several, intricately drafted reports on the threat of Saddam. They sold the President on the threat using these report. Their reports, however, were based on INTELLIGENCE.
For those that are not aware, INTELLIGENCE does not equal FACT. They are not synonymous. And bad intelligence is worse than no intelligence. Yes, that sentence does make sense.
To those of you that say the President lied, I submit that he did not. He based his judgement on the faith that those around him knew enough to give him the best information available. It is the people around him that need to be scrutinized.