At a Republican campaign lunch, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who once bragged about the memory pills he takes, told the audience that in hindsight, he would not have voted for Iraq war:
During a campaign stop for Kansas Republicans on Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that without the claim of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he said voting for the war would have been difficult.
And who, pray tell, was responsible for vetting those claims in the first place? That’s right, Pat Roberts and his colleagues. And 4 years later, he admits what I knew at the time, that the claims being advanced by the President and his lackeys were bogus. There were no WMD (certainly not a nuclear program, nor weapons that could strike America) nor was there any tie to al Qaeda.
My worst memory of that period was a call I made to Senator Brownback’s office. Whichever staff member answered the phone must have been tired of negative calls about the idea of invading, and decided to argue with me. At one point, he asked me whether I’d rather believe the President or the UN, and I answered that I didn’t want to have to choose.
The conversation wound down after that, but the point stands. The UN inspectors on the ground in Iraq were telling us there were no WMD in Iraq. I knew that, Roberts knew that, everyone knew it. But he chose faith over evidence.
A century from now, people will assign blame for the deaths – American and Iraqi – that resulted from the vote to invade Iraq. And the lion’s share of the blame will rest on people like Pat Roberts who had access to the intelligence, and chose to hide themselves from the evidence.