Just a quick note.

I got a letter from my House Representative, Congressman Jerry Lewis (R CA 41st) in response to an email I sent to him a while back about the fact that we hadn’t found the WMDs in Iraq yet. His response was fairly well worded and did much to answer the question in a way that would end the discussion, at least with me.

However, there is one note that I have and may bring up with him in a further email.

Congressman Lewis notes that there was an important, missing piece of intelligence due to the “lack of support for long-term planning within the intelligence community that took place during the 1990’s.” The Democratic party is blamed for this undermining of “criticial ‘human intelligence’ development.”

I have no issue with this. Mostly because I can’t argue against having never paid attention much during the Clinton Administration and also because I don’t think he’s wrong in saying that a lack of funding woul d naturally give way to bad intelligence.

My question is, if the Democrats did such a bad job of funding these operations during the 1990’s, and it was something we didn’t just find out in the last month or two, why was the intelligence trusted by so many different people on both sides of the aisle in the first place?

Frankly, even if the argument is air tight, I don’t like how it looks to have a Republican stand up and blame the Democrats for the dramatically undermined intelligence that was acted upon by a Republican President. Really, it should be about more than this people.

Someone has messed up somewhere. If it was an elected official that I could vote for and they stood up, admitted they were wrong, and apologized, they would very likely have my next vote right then and there. And I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’m thirsty for a politician who isn’t concerned with being a politician and just wants to get the job of representing their constituency done well.

We’ll see what Congressman Lewis has to say, if anything, should I email him again.

UPDATE: Here is the email I sent.

Congressman Jerry Lewis,

Thank you for your letter dated April 8, 2004, regarding the weapons of mass destruction issue in Iraq. I appreciated your thoughts on the matter.

I have one question regarding something that caught my attention. You state that a lack of funding during the 1990’s caused the intelligence surrounding the issues in Iraq to be dramatically undermined, particularly in the area of “human intelligence” or human operatives in the region. Your blame for this lack of funding falls squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic majority during that time.

I would like to note that I do not disagree with this statement. I was not paying much attention to politics during the 1990’s and so cannot argue the point, even if I wanted to. Likewise, a lack of funding for programs will almost certainly lead to a less-than-desired product of those programs.

My question, though, is whether this lack of funding was known before President Bush made his case before the world that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. If so, why was the intelligence trusted at all if it was missing something as critical as information gained from operatives as your letter suggests?

I do not disagree that Iraq is arguably better off now than it was under Saddam Hussein. I seek merely to better understand the decisions made by my elected officials, particularly with the upcoming elections this fall.

Thank you for your time.


Robert Yocum