The case against Saddam Hussein was strong. He invaded his neighbours; slaughtered and suppressed his own people; funded terrorists; built weapons of mass destruction, and never told the UN what he did with them. The facts were on our side. No exaggeration was required. Why then did the White House insist on pushing the uranium claim into the President's speech despite the CIA's consistent opposition? Were other facts trumped up or left out? Why has no one been held accountable - why not a single person fired?
In the months leading up to the war, many of us urged the President to prepare for the challenges that would follow Saddam in Iraq. To be ready to deploy teams to secure suspect WMD sites. To build international partnerships to keep the peace and help to rebuild. To start assembling an interim Iraqi government and guaranteeing Iraq's control of its own oil. The Administration replied with reassurances - but its plans were inadequate. Today we are paying the price. The worst weapons may have slipped on to the open market. Few nations have come to our side. American soldiers are being killed with painful frequency.
It didn't need to be this way. But the Bush Administration chose not to look ahead and not to listen to the experts - including many who wear the uniform of the US military. That was wrong, and it has hurt.
I call upon President Bush to take the kind of the buck-stops-here responsibility for the lapses of leadership we've seen - to stop the dodging and weaving and replace it with the openness and honesty America needs in this time of crisis.
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