No WMD and no explanation

It’s official: There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What many have been suspecting for some time now was officially confirmed by the Bush administration on Wednesday. The declaration came coupled with the statement that further search for such weapons would not be pursued.

Questions remain about what happened in the run up to the war. At best, the false information that was used to justify a military strike against the sovereign nation of Iraq was the biggest intelligence blunder in U.S. history. At worst, it was a declaration of war under false pretenses, knowingly deceiving the citizens the government was sworn to represent. Either way, it is not acceptable.

Even though it is clear something went wrong, no high-ranking officials are being held responsible. The Bush administration made it quite clear that former CIA head George Tenet, who once referred to the case against Iraq as a “slam dunk,” was not “fired,” but retired due to personal reasons. Outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell is not leaving the administration because he lobbied for war, but rather because he was against it — hardly an improvement.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, were quite eager to take out Saddam Hussein’s regime. They put pressure on the intelligence community to come up with facts that would justify a strike. Furthermore, facts that questioned the existence of WMDs in Iraq were intentionally withheld from Congress. If it was to be proven that either Bush or Cheney did so intentionally, it would likely be the end of their presidency. It is therefore understandable that the administration is staying tight-lipped.

Nevertheless, it is vitally important that an investigation to answer the questions that remain be at least attempted. It is simply unacceptable that such an important chapter of recent American history remains so dubious.