Ah, the Ol' WMD Canard By Mike Rosen, The Rocky Mountain News February 18, 2005 'Weapons of mass destruction was the sole pretext for the war against Saddam - and Bush lied about that!" This has long been the Democrat mantra and overworked debating point. The "lied" part, of course, is just partisan, mean-spirited theatrics. It's been well documented that not only our intelligence agencies but those of the French and British as well believed that Saddam still possessed WMD and was intent on making more. And there's no question that he had WMD and used them in the past. Those intelligence agencies, Presidents Bush and Clinton, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and members of Congress, like Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy - who are on record as sharing this belief - may all have been mistaken, but that doesn't mean any of them "lied." That requires the intent to deceive, and the burden of proof is on the accuser. But how about WMD as the sole justification? Sen. Barbara Boxer trotted out that canard in her shrill interrogation of Rice during the confirmation hearings for secretary of state. "Well," she huffed, "you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote." "WMD period"? Oh, really? Perhaps Boxer should reread the text of the Joint Congressional Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, passed by the House and Senate in October 2002. Either she failed to do so then or she's forgotten. (Could she be "lying"?) Preceding the "resolved" part, there were 23 separate "whereases," citing the justifications for war. Only nine of them made specific reference to WMD. As space permits, here are some of the 14 that didn't: "Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq; "Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait; "Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the U.N Security Council; "Whereas members of al-Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq; "Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act \[passed under President Clinton] expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime; "Whereas the President and Congress are determined to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations; "Whereas it is in the national security of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region . . ." You get the point. Were WMD part of it? Sure. And so is oil, the lifeblood of international, industrial societies, as well it should be. And then there's the "vision thing" that pacifist lefties are blind to. For years the left has been attacking neo-cons, not about WMD, but for their foreign policy agenda and their influence over George W. Bush. The Bush/neo-con big picture is a reconstituted Iraq as a model for a democratic, stable Middle East. It's an ambitious mission whose outcome remains uncertain. But it's worth our best effort, which is what we're giving right now, while shortsighted liberals are still protesting the Vietnam War.