Questions for Rice

Article excerpt

"Dr. Rice, nice to see you again. Congratulations on your appointment. We Democrats on the committee are certainly in no position to block your nomination. In any event, you are the perfect choice to represent this President overseas. After all, you've been involved in all his foreign policy blunders during the past four years. So I'd like to use the little time I get to ask a few questions. Let's see if we can clear up some things for the record.

"First, why did the President say before the war there were 'stockpiles' of biological weapons in Iraq? Where did he get that from? Even the overstated National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq said only--and this was an exaggeration--that Iraq had research programs in this area. Oh, yes, I forgot, the White House said that neither you nor the President read the NIE before deciding to launch the war. Why was that? As you might have read in the papers, the NIE did contain opinions of analysts who disagreed with the conclusion that Iraq was loaded with WMDs. Were you and the President not interested in these views? And while we're at it, after the invasion you said, 'The President took the nation to war to depose a bloody tyrant who was building a weapons of mass destruction program and had weapons of mass destruction.' The Duelfer report tells us Saddam Hussein had no weapons and no active WMD programs. So, then, did the President take us to war for invalid reasons?

"You've also said, 'We do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing nuclear weapons.' The Duelfer report and international nuclear inspectors tell us he was not. …