Accuracy in Media

Who said that Saddam Hussein was attempting to develop nuclear weapons? And that it was developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents? It was Senator John Kerry. Who said that he was never in doubt about the evil of Saddam Hussein or the necessity of removing his weapons of mass destruction? That was Howard Dean.

These quotes comes to us courtesy of the liberal group, Institute for Public Accuracy, which has been trying to hold President Bush accountable for his claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and says that Democrats have to be held accountable as well. For instance, Senator John Edwards declared that Saddam “has chemical and biological weapons,” while Wesley Clark stated categorically that Saddam “does have weapons of mass destruction.” When asked, “And you could say that categorically?” Clark responded: “Absolutely.” Clark predicted the weapons “will be found. There’s so much intelligence on this.”

The Institute for Public Accuracy notes that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a Democratic Party response to Bush’s State of the Union speech and said that Bush “led us into the Iraq war on the basis of unproven assertions.” But she had herself said that “Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that.”

The media have given prominent play to weapons inspector David Kay’s statement that his group found no evidence Iraq had stockpiled WMD before the U.S.-led invasion in March. This news was portrayed as a setback for the White House. Senator Kerry, who had agreed that Saddam did have such weapons, now tells Fox News that, “It confirms what I have said for a long period of time: that we were misled?misled not only in the intelligence, but misled in the way that the President took us to war.” On Meet the Press, Wesley Clark , who was convinced the weapons existed and that they would be found, now says that the Bush administration played politics with intelligence.

Less attention was paid to Kay’s statement that, “Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat.” Kay now says the intelligence was wrong, and that intelligence agencies owe Bush an explanation. Other countries’ intelligence agencies shared the U.S. conclusion that Iraq had WMD.

Kay told Reuters in an interview that there had been “some restart” of the banned Iraqi nuclear program but that it was “rudimentary.” He has told several news organizations that some materials possibly connected to Iraqi WMD programs were moved to Syria shortly before the Iraqi war, that there was “a constant stream of trucks, cars, rail traffic across the border.” But the Syrian government will not explain what was sent there. Syria is a member in good standing of the United Nations and had a temporary seat on the highest U.N. body, the Security Council. Perhaps Democrats should urge their good friend, U.N. boss Kofi Annan, to ask Syria about this matter. But that won’t get them votes in the Democratic primaries. They’d rather bash Bush.

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