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Still fighting over the war's start

June 19, 2008

Re "The White House didn't lie about Iraq," Opinion, June 16

James Kirchick's Op-Ed article claims the Senate Intelligence Committee report says that "Iraq-Al Qaeda links were 'substantiated by intelligence information.' "

However, Page 71 of the report states that "statements and implications by the president and secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and [Al Qaeda] had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided [Al Qaeda] with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence."

Either Kirchick never read the report or he has, in his own words, committed an "act of deliberate, not unwitting, deception."

It's sad that apologists for the Iraq war continue to fall back on misinformation to justify this national catastrophe.

Lawrence Rotunno

North Hills

I agree with Kirchick that President Bush did not deceive the American people or Congress. I think the president truly believed there were stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and was probably the most surprised person on the planet when nothing turned up after the invasion.

However, like most apologists for this administration, Kirchick neglects one small, inconvenient fact: Before the invasion, U.N. inspectors were coming up empty. I think that intelligence did not fit into Bush's paradigm and was therefore heavily discounted. Belief and instinct trumped data. Belief and instinct were dead wrong.

Bruce Trotman

Palos Verdes Estates

If Kirchick really does believe in the president's innocence, then he should have no problem calling his detractors' bluff. Democrats have just handed the president's supporters a golden opportunity for vindication. Thirty-five articles of impeachment are awaiting action, with articles one through four screaming loud and clear that Bush lied us into a war against Iraq.

Why not write an editorial that challenges the Democrats to open impeachment hearings immediately? Demand expert witnesses and subpoena key administration figures.

One Op-Ed article will not be enough to restore this good man's reputation and ratings; we need to hear from people on the inside who are in the know. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, they say. Prove them wrong. Go for it.

Steve Fine

North Hollywood

Kirchick is absolutely right -- no investigation has found evidence that the Bush administration lied. Of course, lying has never been the issue. The issue is coercing the intelligence community to support a predetermined decision to invade Iraq.

The administration puffed up shreds of evidence with nightmare predictions of mushroom clouds, then had its congressional lap dogs schedule a vote on the resolution just weeks before mid-term elections -- when no self-serving Democrat wants to look soft on defense.

Of course the Robb-Silberman report found no indication of distortion by the intelligence community. The distortion came from the president and his accomplices. The Robb-Silberman commission was prohibited from investigating them. The recent Senate investigation was not.

Dale Kutzera

Los Angeles

It was refreshing to note The Times' printing of Kirchick's Op-Ed article regarding the American entry into the Iraq war. Kirchick accurately clears Bush of lying, while indicting Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the Intelligence Committee chairman, on the highly partisan report.

Indeed, there are plenty of liars in Washington, but let's keep the record straight.

Jim Downs

Oceanside

Depending on one's point of view, Bush either started or escalated a war. It seems to me the question of whether or not he lied to do so (it depends on where the meaning of "lies" lies) is profoundly disrespectful of all who have suffered the evils of that war.

Those who call themselves the right are free to believe whatever makes sense to them, but isn't war as great a violation as any lie?

Daniel Brooks

Los Angeles

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