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We’ve now come to the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and it appears that the story of that event isn’t being clarified, but simply smoothed over. Yes, we must focus on the world today and look forward to what lies in the future. But unless we are clear minded about what happened in the past, unless we understand what went wrong and why, we’ll be making the same errors again.
Despite the fantasies of Vice President Dick Cheney, there was no connection between the terrorist attacks of September 11 and Saddam Hussein. And despite the repeated announcements by President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, there was never any credible evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and planned to use them against the United States.
There was, of course, a lot of vague speculation and fanciful rumor about Saddam’s presumed biological and chemical weapons. And intelligence services of friendly nations with a common interest tend to reinforce each other. But intelligence estimates are only estimates; they are never absolute statements rendered with certainty. As a matter of fact, investigators sent into Iraq in the days just prior to the war found no such weapons, and objective reports from our own personnel found no reason to believe the weapons existed. That part of history seems to have been erased from the page. (more…)