On War and WMDs


In Michael Barone's "Rethinking the Iraq Critics" [May 19], he purports to illustrate the "liberal fallac[ies]" that gird the criticisms of the Iraq War.

Instead, he gives us a compendium of conservative fallacies with which Bush apologists still endeavor to turn the Iraq catastrophe into a positive. To the claim that the administration politicized intelligence, he says flatly, "Not so," yet there is ample evidence that it not only politicized intelligence, it manufactured it. Take for instance the many references made of Saddam's (nonexistent) nuclear capacity. (My personal favorite—Cheney: "[Hussein has] been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons.") Barone's chief error is his willingness to accept as gospel every word in Douglas Feith's new book—this in spite of the fact that that as one of the architects of the Iraq War, Feith has a vested interest in defending this failed policy. Still, I must give Barone points for chutzpah. Comparing Feith to Churchill and attempting to spin the Duelfer Report—in essence a repudiation of the Bush rationale for war—into support for the invasion, were awe-inspiring stretches. I'm sure Barone's piece will convince those already convinced of the rightness of Bush's War, but for the rest it will only confirm that this war—this costly tragic war—was commenced on the basis of a horribly flawed ideology.

Thomas W. Muther, Jr.

Topeka , Kan.  

Despite the testimony of several Iraqis, America still doesn't get it. There were weapons of mass destruction. In his book, Saddam's Secrets, General Georges Sada describes the method that Iraq used to transfer WMDs to Syria under the noses of UN inspectors. Apparently Saddam used the cover of providing emergency aid to Syria following a dam collapse and flooding to send tens of thousands of WMDs out of Iraq using trucks, planes, and even ambulances. Others have reported the transfer of fissile materials to Iran. Evidently it's more politically expedient to believe that "Bush lied, children died," etc.

Otis H. Willoughby

Cedaredge , Colo.  

Barone points to unpublished documents and contemporary memorandums in the Pentagon that show that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein before the Iraq invasion, and that there was "abundant evidence of contacts between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups." This appears to be wishful thinking from an ardent neocon. It was clear fact that the UN inspectors were having trouble finding evidence of WMD in Iraq in the months and days leading up to the invasion. Mohammed ElBaradei had concluded that there were no nukes, and Hans Blix was quoted in an interview at U.C. Berkeley saying "There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction." This was the situation on the ground in Iraq, not the guesswork being done in the Pentagon. Also I recall seeing Donald Rumsfeld himself state roughly two years after the invasion that there were no contacts between Saddam and al Qaeda. Barone's neocon heroes: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and, I suppose John McCain, had only two motivations in executing this war—callous pride and arrogance. Their stone cold hearts to this day do not register the amount of grief they have caused.

Joe Smongeski

Shrewsbury, Mass.