Members spent a great deal of time talking about the parameters of what I often call the "Bush Doctrine," which uses the terminology of preemption to describe what many would ordinarily call preventive war.
It's bad enough to say that the US is going to war to disarm a state that has "weapons of mass destruction," even if there's no proof that the state and its weapons pose an imminent threat to the US.
It is outrageous to say that the US is going to war against states who have the intent to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Like Robin Dahl (phonetic), one of the citizens who asked a question in Friday's debate, I am still trying to parse the President's statement of October 7 about the reason for going to war in Iraq:
Chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has now issued a comprehensive report that confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there.Damn, Bush managed to emphasize Saddam's intent to develop weapons of mass destruction three times in just a few sentences.
The Duelfer report also raises important new information about Saddam Hussein's defiance of the world and his intent and capability to develop weapons. The Duelfer report showed that Saddam was systematically gaming the system, using the U.N. oil-for-food program to try to influence countries and companies in an effort to undermine sanctions. He was doing so with the intent of restarting his weapons program, once the world looked away.
Based on all the information we have today, I believe we were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison. He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means, and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction.
There's an obvious followup question: How does the US know if a state has the intent to develop WMD? It is very difficult to detect WMD capabilities, typically by national technical means. It likely requires tremendous human intelligence assets to determine a state's intent. Even then...it might not be possible.
Earlier this year, David Kay discussed states that had "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Remember?
How many potentially "evil states" lurk out there, wanting to pursue "weapons of mass terror," as President Bush commonly says.
Presumably, these would be the likely targets of an American attack, right?
This was an exchange between Senator Mark Dayton (MN) and David Kay, the first head of the Iraq Survey group, in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, January 28, 2004:
DAYTON: Just based on your general knowledge, how many countries would you say in the world today would qualify under the category of developing weapons of mass destruction-related program activities or having such activities?I repeat: It's bad enough to say that the US is going to war to disarm someone who has "weapons of mass destruction," even if there's no proof that those weapons pose an imminent threat. How bad is to say that the US is going to war against states who have the intent to develop weapons of mass destruction?
KAY: Senator Dayton, I hesitate to give you an off-the-cuff number because I know it'll probably is going to be like the 85 percent; I'm going to have to live with it for longer than I want to.
I would say that in the nuclear area, in addition to those that we know have possessed nuclear weapons, that includes India...
DAYTON: I want to go to the vernacular that we're using in this broader category.
KAY: The broader category. Oh, I suspect you're talking about probably 50 countries that have programs that would fall somewhere in that broader vernacular.