Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.Resolute. Notice the lack of doubt.
Bush, June 21, 2003:
The intelligence services of many nations concluded that he had illegal weapons and the regime refused to provide evidence they had been destroyed. We are determined to discover the true extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, no matter how long it takes.Creeping doubt? No matter, everyone knew Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Bush, November 12, 2003:
"I think our intelligence was sound; I know the British intelligence was sound. It's the same intelligence that caused the United Nations to pass resolution after resolution after resolution. It's the same intelligence that was used by my predecessor to bomb Iraq. I'm very confident we got good intelligence."Maybe some doubt, but still firm.
Bush, January 27, 2004:
There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a gathering threat to America and others. That's what we know. We know from years of intelligence -- not only our own intelligence services, but other intelligence gathering organizations -- that he had weapons -- after all, he used them. He had deep hatred in his heart for people who love freedom. We know he was a dangerous man in a dangerous part of the world.Firm and resolute again...though he's completely reframed the threat.
Mr. President, where are the WMD?
Bush, July 9, 2004, on the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report:
there has been some failures -- listen, we thought there was going to be stockpiles of weapons. I thought so; the Congress thought so; the U.N. thought so. I'll tell you what we do know. Saddam Hussein had the capacity to make weapons. See, he had the ability to make them. He had the intent. We knew he hated America. We knew he was paying families of suiciders. We knew he tortured his own people, and we knew he had the capability of making weapons. That we do know. They haven't found the stockpiles, but we do know he could make them. And so he was a dangerous man. He was a dangerous man.Failures? But nothing personal.
Bush, August 2, 2004:
Knowing what I know today, we still would have gone on into Iraq. We still would have gone to make our country more secure. He had the capability of making weapons. He had terrorist ties.OK, now the President is just being stubborn.
Bush, August 5, 2004:
He [Saddam Hussein] was a threat, and we saw him as a threat.Wait a minute everyone, it's John Kerry's fault that we went to war. He saw the same intelligence and voted for the war resolution.
Now, the United States Congress looked at the same intelligence I looked at, the exact same intelligence, and came to the same conclusion. Members of both political parties looked at the intelligence. My opponent looked at the very same intelligence and came to the same conclusion.
Except, of course, Kerry didn't see the evidence or situation in the same way. By March 2003, as I've written before, the IAEA and UNMOVIC had been on the ground for months, virtually unimpeded, and they were not finding WMD. None. Iraq was very close to full compliance and bright people like Kerry were not ready to go to war, partly because few of America's major allies were prepared to go to war given the realities on the ground.
Literally dozens of countries, by the way, actually have stockpiles of WMD (mainly chemical weapons) and many of them are ruled by leaders who hate the US and have links to terrorism.
What's the standard for going to war?
John Kerry says repeatedly,
As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system – so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.Strong national security policy depends on more than just a reckless willingness to shoot from the hip.