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Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate analysis

Bush in the September 30 debate:
Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming. Why should he? He had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. As a matter of fact, my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors.
No intention of disarming? Nothing took place?

Look, Saddam Hussein simply wasn't armed -- at least not with weapons of mass destruction! How could the UN further disarm someone without arms?

Likewise, how could the inspectors have been deceived if there were no weapons of mass destruction? He was disarmed. Period.

To quote David Kay, the President's hand-picked hawkish head of the Iraq Survey Group, "we were all wrong." Kay admitted that he expected to find WMD and simply did not. Lately, Kay says the President may be "delusional" for talking about the Iraqi WMD as if they existed.

Too bad Kerry didn't emphasize the point in this way. They may both have thought Saddah had WMD in October 2002, but Kerry was skeptical about the invasion by March 2003, and now recognizes the lack of WMD.

Personally, had I been debating, I would have pointed out that the major difference between Kerry's war vote and the President's decision to start fighting: The UN and IAEA had just reported that Iraq was actively cooperating. Indeed, the IAEA had conducted more than 200 instrusive inspections at over 140 sites and "found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq." The inspectors conducted interviews, reviewed newly provided documents, studied aluminum tubes and magnets, tested soil, air and water samples, etc.

Again, they "found no evidence or plausible indicaction of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq."

That's a pretty powerful statement, and the President himself acknowledged the ongoing importance of the IAEA in Iran. Has the administration, er, "flip flopped" on the way it views the IAEA...precisely because it was right about Iraq?

As anyone who reads this blog can guess, I also wish Kerry had taken on the "mixed messages" passage earlier and more directly, but otherwise I thought his performance was very good.

It was good to see Kerry take the gloves off and point out that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. It was sad to see the President of the United States do such a poor job.

It's time for Bush to lose his job.

Update: A slightly revised version of this post appears as an article on

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