Created: Tuesday, 18 January 2005 Written by monsvenerisIt seems the only people left in the world who still think Saddam Hussein was an imminent global threat and had Weapons of Mass Destruction are the frauds, fanatics and liars in the White House.
No WMD = No RFW (Reason For War!). Published on Friday, January 14, 2005 by the Toronto Star
Empty Hands in Iraq
"Saddam Hussein ... told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them."
With those alarmist words, U.S. President George Bush signalled his intention to invade Iraq in March 2003, at a terrible price.
So far, 20,000 Iraqis have died. Some 1,350 U.S. troops have been killed and 10,000 have been wounded. The U.S. has spent $100 billion, and has 150,000 soldiers in the field.
While Bush promised peace and security, Iraq seems to grow more violently chaotic by the day as the Jan. 30 election draws near.
The war has deflected Washington from tracking down Osama bin Laden. It has damaged its credibility and has strained ties with allies.
As they contemplate this fiasco, Americans must also finally confront the bitter truth that Saddam had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Except, that is, for people like Vice-President Dick Cheney, who asserted "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Or of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who warned of "a mushroom cloud."
They were wrong. America was spooked to war on an untruth.
After an exhaustive search for weapons, Charles Duelfer's 1,700-strong Iraq Survey Group has quietly abandoned its fruitless quest and will issue a final report next month.
It comes home empty-handed.
Still, Bush insists "Saddam was dangerous and the world is safer without him in power."
But United Nations military and economic sanctions had effectively contained Iraq before the U.S. invasion. The "pre-emptive" U.S. attack, launched without United Nations' approval, was uncalled for.
Americans have been slow to recognize that reality. Sadly, fully 2 in 5 still believe the weapons were there.
For Canadians, who never bought that claim, the formal winding-up of the weapons hunt is a vindication, and a reminder there is more than one way to view the world.
Bush got it spectacularly wrong on Iraq, and U.S. intelligence proved disastrously inadequate.
The Security Council got it right, asking the U.S. not to attack until inspectors could probe more deeply.
And former prime minister Jean Chrétien was justified in refusing to lend Canada's support for America's first reckless venture into preventive war, despite pressure from Bush.
As Prime Minister Paul Martin works to deepen the Canada/U.S. political and security partnership, the Iraq Survey Group's starkly empty hands are a reminder that Washington does not have all the right answers, all the time.
© 2005 Toronto Star
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