I am on the E-mail list of former New York Mayor Edward Koch and read his commentary and even his movie reviews with interest. I thought he made an excellent point in his most recent E-mail and hereby pass it along:
On March 12, the New York Times published the first of two articles on "Saddam's Secret Strategy." The Times reported that "the Iraqi dictator was so secretive and kept information so compartmentalized that his top military leaders were stunned when he told them [in December of 2002] three months before the war that he had no weapons of mass destruction, and they were demoralized because they had counted on hidden stocks of poison gas or germ weapons for the nation's defense."
This information was provided to a CIA task force called the Iraq Survey Group by Tariq Aziz, who had been deputy prime minister of Iraq. The survey group was established "by the CIA after the second gulf war ended to investigate what happened to Iraq's weapons programs." The Times article continues, "To ensure that Iraq would pass scrutiny by United Nations arms inspectors, Mr. Hussein ordered that they be given the access that they wanted. And he ordered a crash effort to scrub the country so the inspectors would not discover any vestiges of old unconventional weapons, no small concern in a nation that had once amassed an arsenal of chemical weapons, biological agents, and Scud missiles, the Iraq Survey Group said."
If the Iraqi generals believed that Iraq had WMD up until they were informed by Saddam Hussein three months before the war started, and the U.N. was unaware of how and where the weapons of mass destruction had been dispersed or destroyed, it is not surprising that the CIA, with few, if any, agents in Iraq before the war, also believed that Iraq still had WMD.
Will the New York Times editorial board and the radicals on the left like MoveOn and the ACLU, all having for years accused the Bush administration of lying to the American people on Iraq's possession of WMD, now admit error? Will the ACLU run another full-page ad in the Times admitting that it was wrong when it accused the president of lying about Iraq's possessing WMD [and] thereby committing high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment?
The self-appointed watchmen of our society, including those I mentioned, and the many media commentators and politically active citizens, e.g., Cindy Sheehan, Harry Belafonte, Michael Moore, Times columnist Bob Herbert, and so many others who have made wild charges against the president, will undoubtedly continue to do so. They have injured the country in the eyes of the world. I do not expect them to admit error in their wild charges and apologize, no matter what the facts show.