Doubting Rockefeller's Intelligence, and Mine
Jude Wanniski
October 29, 2003


Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Letters from my critics

The memo on the margin I posted Tuesday, Rockefeller’s Intelligence on Iraq, drew an unusual number of hostile letters from folks who apparently came across my commentary on, where it was posted by Joe Farah’s team. Most of our “regulars” know how I arrived at my conclusion early this year that the United Nations diplomacy on Iraq was working and there was no call to go to war to disarm an Iraq that had already been disarmed of all weapons of mass destruction. For people new to my views, I guess I came across as a leftwing looney. Here is a letter I got from a Naval officer who seemed to think along those lines, and my response to him. I’ve added some other general thoughts trying to address some of the other letters that came in from the worldnetdaily folks:

From: "Forkin, J CDR (NCWG2 N2)"
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 09:25:58 -0500

At 09:25 AM 10/29/2003 -0500, you wrote:


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Dear Commander Forkin:

Please tell me where diplomacy was not working, sailor. In their last report to the UN Security Council, the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspection teams reported finding no traces of chemical, biological or nuclear WMD after investigating several hundred suspected sites, including several dozen sites provided by the Pentagon and CIA. Not a trace. The missiles said to be in technical violation of UNSCR 1441 were being systematically destroyed and UNMOVIC's Hans Blix said only a few minor discrepancies in precursor materials had to be resolved... and that UNMOVIC had Baghdad's complete cooperation on this process. He indicated the process could be brought to a conclusion in another few months. Everything that has occurred since the end of military operations in Iraq has confirmed in spades the diplomatic success in disarming Iraq. Indeed, it now seems clear Iraq had by November 1991 effectively eliminated its WMD as required by the UN. You may not be "partisan" in the sense you are a committed to one party of the other, commander, but you surely have a strong bias toward the Pentagon in general and the Navy in particular. That's as it should be. Still, it will be very hard for you to ever come to terms with the fact that President Bush was manipulated into going to war unnecessarily, and that hundreds of American servicemen have lost their lives and thousands maimed or injured as a result, with no end in sight. As for Iraqis, the total number of military and civilian deaths is now estimated at 55,000.

Jude Wanniski

PS I am a registered Republican who voted for George W. Bush and every other GOP presidential nominee from Nixon in 1968 onward. (I did vote for JFK in '60 and LBJ in '64). I could vote for Mr. Bush again next year, but not unless he replaces the security team that misled him. Even then it would be difficult, as I see no possibility he would ever acknowledge his monumental blunder, one that has actually decreased our national security at an enormous cost in blood and treasure.

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Here is my favorite letter of the day, from a senior who clearly did not think much of my Rockefeller memo:

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 12:42:35 -0600
Subject: You are so stupid
From: "Eric Shelander"

You and the rest of the Left Wing Idiots trying to ruin our President and destroy our country are headed for defeat and failure. Jay Rockefeller, Hillary the Bitch Clinton, Bill the sex addict Clinton, Al I invented the internet Gore, People for the American Way the ACLU and all the rest of you commie pinkos who want to live with Sadaam go right ahead, leave we don't want you in this country anyway. Back when I was younger there was a term we used a lot, America, Love it or Leave it.

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A number of readers wrote to complain that I failed to mention the recent report of David Kay’s Iraqi Survey Group, which searched all the nooks and crannies of Iraq and quizzed all the scientists, and still found no weapons of mass destruction. The readers focused on those parts of the Kay report where traces of old weapons programs were found which had not been reported as required. I responded by noting this was such trivial stuff that it explained why Senator Rockefeller, who voted for the war resolution last fall, could now say he would not have done so if he knew then what he knows now. Here is the memo on the margin I wrote on the Kay report:

In his press conference yesterday, President Bush grasped at the Kay Report’s trivia as justification for the war: “David Kay continues to ferret out the truth. This is a man -- Saddam Hussein is a man who hid programs and weapons for years. He's a master at hiding things. And so David Kay will continue his search. But one of the things that he first found was that there is clear violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441. Material breach, they call it in the diplomatic circles. Casus belli, it means a -- that would have been a cause for a war. In other words, he said, it's dangerous.”

Earlier in the press conference, the transcript – which you can find at, the President talks about the need to rebuild Iraq’s economy, “an economy that has been wrecked by Mr. Saddam Hussein. I mean, he just destroyed their economy and destroyed their infrastructure, destroyed their education system, destroyed their medical system, all to keep himself in power.” Even at this late date the President does not seem to know that it was the United Nations embargo that destroyed Iraq’s economy. The embargo should have been lifted a decade ago when inspectors could find no weapons of mass destruction, only remnants of programs that had been abandoned even prior to the Gulf War. It was the United States that insisted on keeping the UN embargo in place, with the ability to veto any resolution by the other Security Council members who argued that case, but who understood all along that Washington was not going to do so as long as Saddam was in power.

It remains a widespread belief that the Baghdad government was squandering its oil money as Mr. Bush still suggests when none of the oil money was going to the Saddam’s regime. The United Nations itself was collecting the oil revenues and parceling it out for the food and medicine that did get to the Iraqi people after 1995, when the program began.

So much for the mail bag today.