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Searching for answers in Iraq - Billy Corriher

Now that former chief weapons inspector David Kay has gone public with his belief that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, President Bush will order an investigation of U.S. intelligence failures, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

The AP reports that Democrats and Republicans have been calling for such an investigation. It seems that everyone wants to know how our intelligence could have been so wrong.

(Former CIA agent Robert Baer's book "See No Evil" is an insider's account of how intelligence gathering in the Middle East was thrown out the window after the Cold War and before Sept. 11, 2001.)

Even if Bush's investigation concludes (as I think it inevitably will) that the intelligence community is to blame for the confusion, Bush and the neo-conservative's entire doctrine of pre-emptive war is now going to be called into question.

The existence of WMD's in Iraq was a major rationale for going to war, and now we've learned that they didn't exist. Bush pushed the country to war on a lie (perhaps an inadvertent one, but a lie nevertheless).

Thousands of Iraqi civilians and hundreds of American soldiers have died in this war, and despite all the good that it has accomplished, Saddam Hussein was not the threat to U.S. security that Bush made him out to be.

How can neo-conservatives argue for pre-emptive war when they can't be 100 percent sure they know all the facts? Shouldn't our president be absolutely certain that a country poses a threat to us before he decides to launch a pre-emptive war?

The United Nations weapons inspectors said they didn't find any weapons, but other countries believed they were there. It made sense that Hussein was hiding them.

But now it appears that the world's assumptions about Hussein were dead wrong.

It's too late to do anything about it, to take back this war, but I hope the incident will make Americans examine the reasons for this war more closely.

Bush presented scant evidence of Hussein's ties to terrorism leading up to the war, but relied heavily on the idea that he had WMD's that posed a threat to our security.

And now the hawks in the Bush administration are going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Billy Corriher covers county government for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 or bcorriher@news-daily.com.