Chris Matthews says it well.

"If the war in Iraq was going better, we wouldn't still be asking how we got into it. But it isn't, so we are. For some, the deciding argument for going to war with Iraq was self-defense...it was nuclear. If Saddam Hussein had the bomb or was about to [get it], we had to stop him.

How many times were we told the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud? How many times did the vice president tell us that Iraq had a nuclear program? Who can forget that the President himself used his State of the Union to warn of Saddam cutting a deal down in Africa? It was a smart, shrewd strategy...talking about mushroom clouds. It got people off the fence. It carried the undecideds. It shut down the opposition. It got us into Iraq. But it was based on faulty, bogus evidence.

Two years ago, with our forces fully engaged in Iraq, the nuclear threat was long seen as inoperative. Now a former Ambassador [Joseph Wilson], who had been sent to Africa before the war looking for evidence of an Iraqi uranium deal, said he came back empty. But he wasn't the first to try and knock down the nuclear argument. Intelligence agencies had been doing that for months, just as unsuccessfully.

The larger scandal in this White House/CIA leak story is not just who leaked the name of an undercover agent, but whether we were given a case for war---the deciding factor for many of us---knowing that it didn't hold water. As we work to find our way out of Iraq, we should focus a bit...on how we got in."

The Chris Matthews Show
July 24


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