I have a new hero tonight: Dr David Kay. His report shows that President Bush acted on the best information available in going to war in Iraq. That some of the information turned out to be false is no reflection on President Bush. What is he supposed to do, go to Iraq personally to see whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? Any president, whether Democrat or Republican, must rely on intelligence gathered by various agencies. That's exactly what President Bush did. The focus now should be on why the intelligence was defective. That is cause for alarm. It should concern every American. Whatever went awry must not be allowed to recur.
In a better world, President Bush's critics would take a deep breath. They would ask not whether what President Bush believed was true, but whether it was reasonable for him to believe it. David Kay is saying that it was. I honestly believe that the incessant charges that President Bush "lied" about weapons of mass destruction will backfire on those who make them. Americans have a deep and abiding sense of fairness. They will imagine themselves in the White House with the information President Bush had at his disposal and ask what they would have done. I believe they will conclude that they would have done exactly what President Bush did. President Bush is an honorable man whose primary motive in going to war in Iraq was to protect Americans from a "gathering threat." Liberating the Iraqi people from a sadistic tyrant was a secondary (but important) motive, as was promoting democracy and liberal values in the Middle East.
Thank you, Dr Kay, for telling the truth--and for risking the wrath of the Bush-haters. I'm sure Paul Krugman will have nasty things to say about you Friday morning in The New York Times. Mark my words. Anyone who is not the enemy of Krugman's enemy, President Bush, is Krugman's enemy.