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TOWSON — John Kerry’s campaign strategy has been to attack George Bush’s credibility on two issues; one, that he lied about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction when he led this Nation into war, and two, that the avowal in his State of the Union address (January 2003), “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” was false.
Mr. Kerry bolsters his argument on the first point by citing claims of Hans Blitz and David Kay, former weapons inspectors, that they no longer believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. On the second, he relies upon former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s contention that information he gathered in Niger during February 2002 proved the president’s claim false.
After information surfaced that their candidate has a credibility problem, Democrats seized upon these allegations, hoping that damaging Mr. Bush’s credibility might level the playing field. The tactic failed. Both claims are untrue, and the public now knows it.
How chagrined Kerry supporters must have been when the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, a bipartisan group, concluded in July that President Bush neither exaggerated nor lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction but, instead, was given faulty information by the CIA.
The Committee also concluded that British, American and other intelligence agencies had substantial reasons to believe that Saddam Hussein had, indeed, sought uranium in Africa. The President had been right.
That should have ended the matter. It did not. Like a stubborn bulldog, Mr. Kerry continues to charge the President with lying, while his surrogates trumpet that Republicans, who mostly cite Mr. Kerry’s flip-flopping statements and Senatorial record, are resorting to personal attacks.
While exonerating Mr. Bush, the Senate Committee excoriated the intelligence community’s failure to obtain and accurately assess information, stating that the intelligence services of France, Germany, Israel and America were guilty of a group-think mentality in analyzing intelligence about Iraq.
After U.N. inspectors were expelled in 1998, human intelligence in Iraq was essentially nil. But the intelligence community continued to assume that Saddam would step up WMD efforts after inspectors left, and that his refusal to comply with U.N. resolutions requiring him to reveal his arsenal and disarm, was done to hide possession of existing stockpiles. Even Saddam’s generals believed he had battlefield nuclear weapons, after receiving orders from him at the beginning of hostilities, to use them in specified circumstances. The Senate Committee, however, concluded that this was a mere “hypothesis in search of evidence.”
The difficulty in obtaining accurate intelligence from Iraq was caused, in part, by emasculation of intelligence budgets during the Clinton presidency. Guess who championed cuts in CIA and NSA funding during those years? John Kerry!
Regarding Ambassador Wilson; for a year he loudly accused the President and Vice-President of twisting the truth, even calling Mr. Cheney “a lying son of a bitch” during a campaign appearance for Mr. Kerry in December 2003. However, the Senate report thoroughly discredited Wilson’s claims, finding that “it was reasonable for analysts to assess that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, based on CIA reporting and other intelligence.” It not only validated the President, but listed instances where Mr. Wilson made false claims about the Niger affair.
One should recall that Tony Blair’s opponents also accused him of lying about Iraq’s WMD to justify British involvement. He, too, was recently cleared of that charge by a bipartisan Parliamentary Commission headed by Lord Butler.
At this point it’s useful to ask, what is meant by weapons of mass destruction? Some define WMD as only nuclear bombs and rockets, an extremely narrow definition. Chemical and biological weapons are capable of killing massive numbers. Saddam used poison gas on the Kurds, murdering upwards of 3,000 in the late ‘80s. He used it again during the Shi’a uprising shortly after the first Gulf War. And what of those missiles — their range defied U.N. restrictions on defensive weapons — discovered and destroyed by inspectors after the fall of Baghdad? Given those events, the Presidents broader definition, which includes chemical and biological weapons, is justified.
When the commander-in-chief is given evidence, developed by intelligence agencies, that a dictator has used such weapons before, has invaded a neighboring country, probably has such weapons now, and is in defiance of U.N. resolutions to reveal his weapons programs and disarm, he cannot be faulted for acting on that information.
Kerry supporters fail to understand something else. A Christian with the commitment to his faith displayed by Mr. Bush over the years will not lie. His relationship with Jesus and his respect for truth will not permit it. How refreshing!
Anthony J. Sacco, a writer, licensed private investigator, and author of two novels; The China Connection, and Little Sister Lost, holds degrees from Loyola College of Maryland and the University of Maryland Law School. His articles have appeared in the Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, Voices for the Unborn, the Catholic Review, WREN Magazine and the Wyoming Catholic Register. E-mail him at AnthonyJSacco@hotmail.com and visit his website at www.SaccoServices.com.