"Never -- not once -- did it say, 'He has WMD.'" - General Zinni"General Zinni was alarmed that day to hear Cheney make the argument for attacking Iraq on grounds that Zinni found questionable at best:
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," Cheney said. "There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."
Cheney's certitude bewildered Zinni. As chief of the Central Command, Zinni had been immersed in U.S. intelligence about Iraq. He was all too familiar with the intelligence analysts' doubts about Iraq's programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction, or WMD. "In my time at Centcom, I watched the intelligence, and never -- not once -- did it say, 'He has WMD.'"
Though retired for nearly two years, Zinni says, he remained current on the intelligence through his consulting with the CIA and the military. "I did consulting work for the agency, right up to the beginning of the war. I never saw anything. I'd say to analysts, 'Where's the threat?' " Their response, he recalls, was, "Silence."
Zinni's concern deepened as Cheney pressed on that day at the Opryland Hotel. "Time is not on our side," the vice president said. "The risks of inaction are far greater than the risks of action."
Zinni's conclusion as he slowly walked off the stage that day was that the Bush administration was determined to go to war. A moment later, he had another, equally chilling thought: "These guys don't understand what they are getting into." - For Vietnam Vet Anthony Zinni, Another War on Shaky Territory (washingtonpost.com)
The Bush Administration didn't care, they wanted their War on Iraq, they ignored CIA warnings. C.I.A. Warns That a U.S. Attack May Ignite Terror
"There have also been questions about the public portrayal of intelligence by senior policymakers. Preliminary reviews indicate that public statements did not always portray the detailed caveats about Iraqi WMD that intelligence reports generally provided. In addition, questions about possible pressure on analysts to alter their judgments and about possible suppression of alternative assessments must be a central part of a thorough and detailed review."- Opinion from Congresswoman Jane Harman representative from California, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. WMD: What Went Wrong?
"Nuances, qualifications and caveats were dropped; a slam-dunk was the assessment relative to the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The CIA was telling the Administration and the American people what it thought the Administration wanted to hear." - Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich