Friday, March 05, 2004

David Kay's Interview with The Guardian

The following excerpt from WMD inspector Kay's interview highlights the point that we can't just let George Bush hope we forget the fiasco in Iraq.

When David Kay walked into the US Senate in late January, the question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had become entangled in a thick forest of evasions...George Bush's administration and Tony Blair's government insisted that some evidence of weapons had been found by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which Kay had led for seven months, and that much more would be uncovered. At the same time, some US officials were market testing a new line - that the administration had never claimed there were Iraqi weapons stockpiles in the first place, just weapons programs.

Kay sat down in front of the Senate microphone on January 28, and with a few blunt words, swept all that carefully calibrated verbiage away. "Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here," he told the open-mouthed senators.

It was a mea culpa - he had been convinced since his days as a UN inspector that Saddam Hussein was concealing a potentially devastating arsenal - but it was much more than that.

In simply stating that there were no stockpiles, Kay declared that the would-be emperors on both sides of the Atlantic had no clothes. His call for a full inquiry ultimately tipped the balance in Washington and led to the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the intelligence fiasco.

Kay is now calling on the White House to come clean about its mistakes and defend the war instead as a liberation of an oppressed people.

There are no signs of the administration following his advice. Even after Kay's testimony, vice-president, Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld have continued to insist that weapons may still be found. A week after Kay's senate appearance, Rumsfeld referred dismissively to the "theory that WMD may not have existed at the start of the war".

Kay clearly admires Bush... Nevertheless, he thinks the president has to go further to regain public trust. "It's about confronting and coming clean with the American people, not just slipping a phrase into the state of the union speech. He should say: 'We were mistaken and I am determined to find out why'."

"And the other thing is it makes it very difficult for relations with allies. I think we lost the credibility of our intelligence. The next time you have to go and shout there's fire in the theatre people are going to doubt it," Kay says.

This stark challenge is all the more painful coming from a man the administration had handpicked to lead its search for hidden weapons. Of all the experts to emerge from the UN inspections in the 90s, Kay had the clearest record of denouncing the Baghdad regime for deception and harassment of the inspectors.

The amazing thing about the whole interview is that Kay still believes Mr. Bush acted honorably throughout the whole Iraq decision making process, and that the president must have been misled by intelligence agencies.

Mr. Kay - you are still too close to the events yourself to understand that the word "Leadership" means something - it means that you have accountability, as president, for the actions of your advisors and your team, and that you have responsibility for your decisions. Mr. Bush possesses neither of these characteristics. Therefore, none of us are waiting breathlessly for him to "come clean."

Just because you think your boss was sincere in his actions, Mr. Kay, it still doesn't change the fact that he was, and is, sincerely wrong.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link