10 February 2004

Not Everyone Got it Wrong on Iraq's Weapons

The fact, independent of the findings of any commission, is that not everyone was wrong.

I, for one, was not. I did my level best to demand facts from the Bush administration to back up their allegations regarding Iraq's WMD and, failing that, spoke out and wrote in as many forums as possible in an effort to educate the publics of the United States and the world about the danger of going to war based on a hyped-up threat.

In this I was not alone. Rolf Ekeus, the former head of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, has declared that under his direction, Iraq was 'fundamentally disarmed' as early as 1996. Hans Blix, who headed UN weapons inspections in Iraq in the months before the invasion in March 2003, stated that his inspectors had found no evidence of either WMD or WMD-related programs in Iraq. And officials familiar with Iraq, like Ambassador Joseph Wilson and State Department intelligence analyst Greg Theilmann, both exposed the unsustained nature of the Bush claims regarding Iraq's nuclear capability.

The riddle surrounding Iraq's WMD was solvable without resorting to war. For all the layers of deceit and obfuscation, there existed enough basic elements of truth and substantive fact about the disposition of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programs to permit the Gordian knot to be cleaved by anyone willing to try. Sadly, it seems that there was no predisposition on the part of those assigned the task of solving the riddle to do so.

The everyone was wrong meme is a nice try, but does not really achieve much. There is a distinction between everyone went to war and everyone believed in WMDs. casting the net of those who made war to include those who believed in WMDs is a spectacular example of the fallacy of composition, but a fallacy all the same.

Responsibility lies with those who made the war. Their claim, shown here to be untrue, that everyone got it wrong does not absolve them.

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