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Denial, Defense and WMD

-- Harold Williamson

Wheeling, Ill.

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_____News From Iraq_____
Iraq Disk Prompted Warning to Schools (The Washington Post, Oct 9, 2004)
Two Trouble Spots for Bush: Iraq and the Philly Suburbs (The Washington Post, Oct 9, 2004)
British Hostage Beheaded in Iraq (The Washington Post, Oct 9, 2004)
More News from Iraq
Terrorists' Candidates? (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
Switching Stories (The Washington Post, Oct 7, 2004)
Voters Excluded in Iraq -- and at Home (The Washington Post, Oct 6, 2004)
More Debate Questions (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
Weapons That Weren't There (The Washington Post, Oct 7, 2004)
Cheney vs. Edwards (The Washington Post, Oct 6, 2004)

Yours is one of the few accurate and insightful editorials I have read about President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. Your editorial points out that on the eve of Bush's decision, most western intelligence agencies estimated that Iraq held large stockpiles of dangerous weapons. Also, as your paper stated, no president then could have known what we know now. Furthermore, Saddam Hussein -- an aggressive dictator who had launched wars against Iran and Kuwait and murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraq's Kurdish minority, many with poison gas -- controlled those suspected weapons and was resisting weapons inspections.

The president faced an ambiguous situation. Should he continue to wait for developments, even though no one could confidently predict Hussein's intentions? Or should he eliminate a potential threat to the United States and other countries of mass murder by finding the weapons and removing the dictator?

Most important, your editorial underscored the possibility that the next president will be forced to make a decision about preemptive action if intelligence indicates -- but cannot absolutely confirm -- evil intent on the part of the rulers in Iran or North Korea, both of which are pressing toward a nuclear capability.

I should also say that I found more significant news in the editorial than I did in the Oct. 7 front-page story, which devoted its major headline to "news" that we already knew -- that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Oh, incidentally, according to the front-page story, Saddam Hussein still "aspired" to build the bomb once he got the United Nations inspectors off his back. This in the ninth paragraph on Page A34.

-- James W. McCulla


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