From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Please read the Duelfer Report. In general, I think you have bought into the popular argument that since there was no mathematical accounting of WMD’s therefore equals a mistake in judgment for invasion of Iraq. No doubt, if 911 did not occur, Saddam would still be in power and we would be patrolling a *no fly zone* indefinitely perhaps without support from our allies. Pre-911; Saddam was on the verge of defeating UN Sanctions and was about to embark on his ambitions for acquiring WMD’s. Saddam was husbanding is scientists and dispersing his resources waiting for the day he could within a matter of months acquire WMD’s. Saddam had nerve gas before and after the Gulf War and had worked on weaponizing bacteria/viruses. However 911 changed the world. Post invasion intelligence (which more is being un-earthed as of today) indicates Saddam had a strong connection to terror groups, especially Palestinian terror cells. Imagine Saddam with biological weapons being able to furnish terror groups weaponized small pox. Does anybody think terrorists wouldn’t use these against Israel or the US? The historical view of Pre and Post 911 Iraq deserves calculus not simple algebra. The reasons for invasion are not a mistake but were to eliminate a growing threat to our country and the free world.
Your idea to “take a poll” in Iraq, weather we should stay or go, is quite contrary to the institution of a republic. Why did our founding fathers create a *representative republic*? Because they knew the public at any given moment does not have all the facts or can be swayed by emotion and events of the day. Their representatives are charged with the responsibility of debate and reason, counter balanced by three branches of government before laws are enacted or blood is spent. To take a *poll* then decide to act, is the same methods used by the Clinton administration to guarantee popularity, not sound governance nor military prudence.
Me: The first paragraph is exactly what I’m getting at when I say lots of readers are arguing with something other than the column I wrote. I wrote “The failure to find weapons of mass destruction is a side issue.” I don’t know how to say it any more plainly that.
As for his second point. I’m all in favor of republicanism when it comes to running a government. But the above argument strikes me as quite odd. I’m arguing for a vote in Iraq on the grounds that it will create the sort of consent from the Iraqi people to do what is necessary. It is hardly an argument for government by poll (something I’ve denounced for years).