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FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2005
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EDITORIAL

President's own team can't find reason for going to war

The White House quietly acknowledged Wednesday what most people have known for some time: President Bush misled the nation in taking America to war in Iraq.

The search for those weapons of mass destruction that the president said Saddam Hussein possessed is officially over and investigators simply cannot find them. Not even after nearly two years of desperate searching.

The president's backup reason for the war isn't as easily verified but it is subject to skepticism, too.

If he hadn't gone into Iraq, the president implies, the battleground would be here in the United States.

Al-Qaida hit Washington, D.C. Al-Qaida hit New York City. Al-Qaida crashed that jetliner in Pennsylvania.

Al-Qaida is in Iraq today, but there is no evidence it had close relations with Saddam. The war coalesced terrorist groups into much more than they were before 9/11, while the furtive terrorist Osama bin Laden continues to escape capture.

The Iraq Survey Group, made up of some 1,200 military and intelligence specialists and support staff, spent nearly two years searching military installations, factories and laboratories whose equipment and products might convert quickly to making weapons.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the administration has now given up hope of finding any weapons.

Democrats say President Bush owes the country an explanation of why he was so wrong.

Let's be clear that criticizing the president and the war is not lack of support for the troops. Those brave soldiers are often sitting ducks in warfare for which they are ill equipped, and in the type of war no army has yet figured out how to win.

It's a horrible mess into which our president led the nation on false evidence and one he sustains on the dubious premises that Iraqis want democracy and that fighting there means not fighting here.

Defense Secretary Colin Powell said this week that some troops will start coming home this year. Hopefully there are no caveats in that statement and they will come home quickly.

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