We were able to put U.N. weapons inspectors on the ground as troops were being deployed to the Iraq border. Here is where my question comes into play. The weapons inspectors, headed by Hans Blix, had checked numerous sites around Iraq, including presidential palaces and military installations. Mr. Blix reported to the media that no weapons were found at the obvious places to look, and that was not a surprise. The decision to go to war, which is the ultimate decision any president will ever make, had to be based on "our best intelligence at the time." Well, the problem with the decision, in my mind at least, that Mr. Bush made is that he and the national security team had to have known our best intelligence was questionable at best, and likely bogus. The reason I say this is because I, sitting in my living room every night watching the news, realized our intelligence was flawed. How? Because the weapons inspectors reported that they were checking flagged sites provided by various intelligence agencies, including the CIA and British intelligence services, and highly suspected sites had no WMDs (I am trying to find the exact date of an NPR interview with Hans Blix where he explicitly stated this).
In other words, if we were checking high-confidence sites provided by the CIA, and every one of those sites turned out to be free from any hint of WMD, how could the president have any confidence at all in our intelligence?
Is this why Mr. Bush rushed to war, and rushed the inspectors out well before they were finished with their mission? Because no WMDs were found, why would the president not allow inspectors to continue to check more suspected sites to try and collect convincing evidence that would justify war? It is obvious that the war was going to happen regardless of what evidence existed, and the American people were, simply stated, lied to about why our troops had to go to war with an enemy that was not in any way an imminent threat or perpetrator of 9/11.
I have posed this question to my Republican Congressman, Mark Kirk, to the White House, to local papers, to friends who are supporters of the war, and I have received no satisfactory answer at all.
At this point we need to complete the task at hand and place the Iraqis in position to try and establish the rule of law and run their country with a more or less democratic government. The Bush administration has finally found a reason, after three or four attempts, to justify the war beyond an, "oops, we were not quite correct" sort of reason. I hope this all ultimately works out for the best, so our 10,000-plus troops and the 100,000-plus Iraqis will not have died or been wounded for nothing. Of course we all want eventual peace and, ideally, democracy in the Mideast, but we cannot forget the questions stated above. We have set a dangerous precedent for going to war, and we cannot let this happen again or be lied to by our leaders when the stakes are so high.