Seven years ago today:
Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz May 31, 2003
….Q: Just a couple of questions on Iraq. I was just wondering as of today, where you consider the weapons of mass destruction to be and why the United Nations and weapons inspectors are still not being invited back into Iraq.
Wolfowitz: Well on the second point, they’re certainly welcome to come back and in fact I believe we’ve made some arrangements already for the IAEA to come back to do some checking on sites that are known. But bear in mind this regime had 12 years to develop very sophisticated methods of hiding things. We have found those biological vans that the defector in Germany told us about. They seem to be exactly what he said they would be. And I would think that would pretty well corroborate the rest of his story which is they were for the production of biological weapons.
We said all along that we will never get to the bottom of the Iraqi WMD program simply by going and searching specific sites, that you’d have to be able to get people who know about the programs to talk to you. And that’s why we gave the UN inspectors authorities they never had before to interview people.
It’s quite significant I think that Saddam never allowed any of his people to be interviewed without tape recorders present or monitors present, and we now have our hands on some small number of those people, and I think eventually with information that we get from people who know about the programs, we’ll get to the bottom of what was there and what happened to it….
Over five years later:
“…The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq,” Bush said. “A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.”
But he declined to speculate on whether he would have gone to war if the intelligence had said Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction….
My biggest regret is that at the end of 2000 I had to ask myself the question, “Did I do enough?” And almost ten years later I continue to be painfully reminded of the answer.