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The Democratic Divide

It's not between pro-war and anti-war Democrats--it's between those who are willing to vote their semi-pacifist conscience and those who are not.

10:00 AM, Nov 21, 2005 • By PAUL MIRENGOFF
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Milbank and Pincus nonetheless argue that the administration was less than forthcoming with Congress because, although it did provide Congress with the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), it did not "share [its] most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief (PDB), with lawmakers." But the Silberman-Robb Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction found that the intelligence in the PDB and the NIE was essentially the same, except that the PDB included attention-grabbing headlines and a "drumbeat of repetition" that made it even more "more alarmist." The New York Times claimed that the administration sanitized the version of the NIE it presented to Congress to remove dissent. In fact, however, the NIE included the dissent by the assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research.

Given the weakness of the charge that the administration intentionally misled Congress about the existence of WMD, some media types have resorted to the claim that the administration exaggerated the likelihood that Saddam would use such weapons or provide them to terrorists. However, it's unlikely that, even now, Senate Democrats wish to argue that a Saddam armed with WMDs wouldn't have been much of a threat. They know that Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, invaded Kuwait, conspired to assassinate a former U.S. president, and subsidized terrorist attacks against Israel. They know, or should know, that there is substantial evidence linking Saddam to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, including the fact that Iraq harbored one of the terrorists involved in the attack. And they knew in 2002--though today they are rapidly forgetting--that in the post-September 11 environment we cannot make national security decisions based on optimistic assumptions about the intentions of a virulently anti-American dictator with a track record of supporting terrorism.

Paul Mirengoff is a contributing writer to The Daily Standard and a contributor to the blog Power Line.