I keep hearing more and more comments and debate on the Iraq war as it relates to our initial justification for going in. Was there WMD? Did our intelligence think there was? The left seems far too focused on the point of the missing weapons. The right too focused on the faulty intelligence which vindicates the president for them.
That is missing the point. It does not matter how good or bad our intelligence was. What matters is that there could have been no threat to the United States even if there were weapons. We are simply too far away. If there were not, then we would be sending our youth in to what would be a protracted and ugly war – no matter what Rumsfeld says about roses being thrown at our feet as liberators!
Pre-war there was a concerted effort to do inspections and determine the state of Iraq’s weapons programs. This should have been allowed to continue in the light of intelligence that was not certain. That is the responsibility of the President. He does not get a free pass now based on after the fact knowledge. It is his job to know and make the right decisions. He jumped the gun and got us into a war that was not fully justified given the intelligence. We were too 911 jumpy and it has cost us over 2000 US lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (each of those as important in the larger sense).
Good or bad intelligence does not matter in this. We should stop arguing about it.