Check Your Facts

Fact Number 1: Iraq had no WMDs, didn't have the ability to create WMDs and apparently hadn't even the ability to pursue the pieces to start making BLTs. How do I know? Check out this report, from the top US arms inspector:

Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 American lives, the top U.S. arms inspector said Wednesday he found no evidence that Iraq produced any weapons of mass destruction after 1991. He also concluded that Saddam Hussein's capabilities to develop such weapon had dimmed — not grown — during a dozen years of sanctions before last year's U.S. invasion.

Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush and top administration officials, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, said Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.

The findings come less than four weeks before an election in which Bush's handling of Iraq has become the central issue. Democratic candidate John Kerry has seized on comments by the former U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, that the United States did not have enough troops in Iraq to prevent lawlessness after Saddam was toppled.

The inspector's report could boost Kerry's contention that Bush rushed to war based on faulty intelligence and that United Nations sanctions and U.N. weapons inspectors should have been given more time.

But Duelfer also supports Bush's argument that Saddam remained a threat. Interviews with the toppled leader and other former Iraqi officials made clear that Saddam had not lost his ambition to pursue weapons of mass destruction and hoped to revive his weapons program if U.N. sanctions were lifted, his report said.

"What is clear is that Saddam retained his notions of use of force, and had experiences that demonstrated the utility of WMD," Duelfer told Congress.

Of course, the "notion" that Saddam was dangerous wasn't a reason to go to war. It would have been a reason to create a true coaltion against him, to bring an accurate account to the UN and gain their support, and to press further sanctions upon his country. But, I guess that's water over the bridge, right?

Second, take a look at the "inaccuracies" from Cheney and Edwards tuesday night. Here's just a sampling:

Cheney Overstates Iraq Resolution

Cheney repeatedly said Edwards had voted "for the war" and "to commit the troops," when in fact the Iraq resolution that both Kerry and Edwards supported left the decision to the president and called for intensified diplomacy.

The resolution for which Edwards and Kerry voted said, "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate."

And Edwards made clear in a statement at the time of his vote that he hoped to avoid war by enlisting broad support from the United Nations and US allies:

Edwards ( Oct. 10, 2002 ): I believe we should act now for two reasons: first, bipartisan congressional action on a strong, unambiguous resolution, like the one before us now, will strengthen America's hand as we seek support from the Security Council and seek to enlist the cooperation of our allies.

If the administration continues its strong, if belated, diplomacy, backed by the bipartisan resolve of the Congress, I believe the United States will succeed in rallying many allies to our side.

Second, strong domestic support and a broad international coalition will make it less likely that force would need to be used.

In fact, not even Bush himself characterized the resolution as a vote "for war" at the time. Speaking at the White House Rose Garden Oct. 2, 2002, Bush said:

Bush (Oct. 2, 2002): None of us here today desire to see military conflict, because we know the awful nature of war. Our country values life, and never seeks war unless it is essential to security and to justice. America's leadership and willingness to use force, confirmed by the Congress, is the best way to ensure compliance and avoid conflict. Saddam must disarm, period. If, however, he chooses to do otherwise, if he persists in his defiance, the use of force may become unavoidable.

I just wish there was some way for us to get that out to all the people out there who somehow still believe that John Kerry, "voted for the war before he voted against it."
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