Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asks readers to respond via e-mail to a series of questions each week. To participate in Project: Reader Reaction, contact Editor David Stevens at: email@example.com
A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked if President Bush exaggerated the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Some responses:
“This question of ‘Where are the WMDs?’ has been out there since the start of our efforts in Iraq. I continue to go back to at least 1998, when then-President Clinton requested and received approval from Congress to remove Saddam Hussein from power by any means necessary in an effort to stop his use of WMD on his own people or his neighbors.
“… Is Bush overstating the facts? I don’t think so. I think President Bush — as a result of 9/11 — decided that we as a nation would no longer be held hostage to terror states that could potentially threaten our nation. I think the only factor that has changed since 1998 is the man sitting in the Oval Office.” — Joan McCarty, Clovis
“I don’t know if (Bush) exaggerated or just made a bad decision without requiring good/complete intelligence. Either way, it concerns/scares me. U.S. soldiers are still dying and the president and a majority of the electorate have moved on to other issues: The “Road Map for Peace,” tax cuts, Medicare drug coverage, which all lead to fund-raising for the president’s re-election.” — Auggie Jones, Clovis
“There were chemical/biological weapons in Iraq. President Bush did not exaggerate, and he still believes that investigators and/or informers will find the evidence.” — Bill Gaedke, Clovis
“I believe the WMDs did exist and that the president acted appropriately. However, Iraq had more than enough time to hide and relocate the WMDs prior to our efforts to locate them. If we look across the border into Syria, I think we will find what we are looking for. … If we fail to be aggressive enough in our quest, those weapons may be used against the USA and its allies.” — Bob Baker, Clovis
“I think the weapons are buried somewhere in Iraq or were transported into another country as the U.S. and U.K. were fighting to put the dictatorship down. I don’t think the president was exaggerating the threat, but I think there were military members behind him encouraging him to fight this war.” — Ardyth Elms, Clovis
“We have already confirmed the existence of the most dangerous (WMD) — all of the hidden cash we’ve stumbled on. I don’t think President Bush exaggerated the threat, I just think that the American public must learn that government officials tend to speak metaphorically.” — Raymond Atchley, Clovis
“I find it hard to believe (U.S. officials) were unable to convince other members of the United Nations if they had proof positive. … My opinion is that part of the reason to attack was for his father, but that is my opinion.
“What is making us the ruler of the world? Now (Bush) is saying he will not tolerate nuclear weapons in Iran. Are we going there next? The old saying ‘walk softly but carry a big stick’ (does not mean) to go and tell other countries what they should do or how they should live their lives.” — Dan Toledo, Clovis
“Unlike his predecessor, our president doesn’t need to lie or exaggerate to cover his own personal ambitions.” — Carolyn Spence, Clovis
“No sane human being can assume anything other than Iraq possessed WMD. In view of … overwhelming evidence, a prudent leader has to error on the side of caution. President Bush would have been remiss in his duties as the … leader of this country if he had not placed this threat at the highest possible level.” — R. L. Render, Clovis
“We already know Iraq had weapons of mass destruction because Saddam used them on his own people. President Bush gave Iraq nearly three months notice we were coming, thus giving Saddam plenty of time to pack up and move such weapons. Saddam is crazy but not stupid! The WMDs are likely still sitting in trucks and trains in Syria at this very moment!” — Jeff Gray, Clovis
“Whatever proof President Bush had probably disappeared before the weapons inspectors ever got there. President Bush did not exaggerate. I’m sure his decision was based on what his advisors told him. The biggest threat though was not whether Saddam had these weapons, but Saddam himself.” — Michael Williams, Clovis