Date: November 5th., 2005
Sent to but not published by NewsHour

Comment on Brooks and Shields, November 3rd. 2005

Your commentator, David Brooks, did us all a disservice in his, almost hysterical, diatribe against Democrats for their insistence that Bush led us into a war under false pretences. He said that everybody -- former President Clinton, the French, the Germans, etc --knew that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

That was true in September-October 2002 when negotiations for the return of Weapons Inspectors to Iraq were under way. The Iraqis were stalling and proposing unacceptable exceptions to the reach of the inspectors until the passage of the War Resolution by Congress on October 10th 2002. That gave the President the leverage he (and the United Nations) needed. Within six weeks the inspectors were in Iraq on the ground with no restrictions on their movements. By February 2003, the inspectors reported that they had found no evidence of a large scale WMD program. The causus belli was shattered.

That did not impede the Bush administration's inexorable rush towards war and hostilities began on March 20th.

Mr. Brooks failed to mention this complex exercise of realpolitik. Nor did Mr. Lehrer or Mr. Shields point out this omission. They should have.

The American (and British) mistake was not to call for a second Congressional (Parliamentary) resolution about Iraq once it became clear from the weapons inspectors that the initial intelligence was probably incorrect.

NewsHour owes us an amplification.