Monday, May 17, 2004

Refuting the Stupid Arguments of Your Wingnut Friends, Part II... a continuing series.

Cindy from Sacramento writes:
Dear Goldstein,

Luv your blog. I'm a senior in high school in Sacramento, CA. We've been discussing the war in Iraq in civics class lately, and I keep hearing the argument from my pro-war friends that EVERYBODY thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, not just President Bush. I guess President Clinton thought so too, and most of our representatives in Congress. If this is true, why are you so hard on the President? I think he's doing his best.
Thanks for writing, Cindy.

There are two very simple and straightforward responses to the "everybody thought so" argument. First, there were indeed many people who thought Saddam Hussein harbored stockpiles of WMDs, but only the "President" and his advisers felt certain enough to launch a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. As you know, they were tragically mistaken.

But there is a second, even more compelling response to the "everybody thought so" dodge. You see, Cindy, it didn't matter what anybody thought prior to March 7, 2003, because on that date we learned something very important about what we thought we knew about WMDs in Iraq. We learned that every piece of intelligence we had about Iraqi WMDs was WRONG.

On March 7, 2003 Hans Blix, the head U.N. weapons inspector, reported to the United Nations that that UNSCOM inspectors, provided with full and unimpeded access to all suspected Iraqi WMD sites, conducting unannounced inspections and armed with intelligence from the CIA indicating where these alleged arms could be found, reported that no WMDs had been found - none at all. CIA director George Tenet testified to Congress before the war that the CIA had provided the best U.S. intelligence to UNSCOM on over 100 sites where U.S. intelligence indicated WMDs may be found, including approximately 20 different sites the CIA referred to as "high probability" sites. UNSCOM searched these sites for WMDs, and as of March 7, 2003 UNSCOM had determined that not one of these sites contained WMDS or any evidence of WMDs.

Cindy, as of March 7, 2003 any prior assessment of the likely existence of Iraqi WMD caches or the reliability of U.S. intelligence regarding WMDs had to be radically revised. It was incumbent upon anyone who previously had been certain that Iraq had WMDs to honestly revisit that assessment, and desist from starting a war until that assessment had accounted for the vast gulf between the UNSCOM findings and U.S. intelligence. But the President didn't do this, Cindy. He accelerated our rush to war and invaded Iraq just 12 days later, even though he knew that he didn't know what he thought he'd known.

This was a terrible, terrible thing the President did, Cindy, and he will rot in hell for all eternity for it. So remember to tell your friends, Cindy, that Mr. Tenet gave Mr. Blix every bit of U.S. intelligence regarding Iraqi WMDs, and Mr. Blix checked it out and it was all wrong, and Mr. Blix told the President of that on March 7, 2003.

Cindy, I'm sure the President tries very hard. But he's the biggest piece of walking slime ever to occupy the Oval Office.

Say Hi! to your civics class, Cindy, and congratulations on your impending graduation!


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