Decision on WMD review a smart one

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

President Bush’s announcement that he will appoint an independent panel to review the intelligence failures surrounding the war in Iraq is smart for a couple of reasons.

First, and most important, we need an inquiry that will help determine what went wrong &045; and how to fix it.

From questions about how we missed clues to Sept. 11 to concerns about the basis for why we went to war in Iraq, we have seen that we have serious holes in our intelligence gathering and analysis.

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We need to find out what went wrong so that we can fix it in the future.

Intelligence experts have said we need more spies on the ground, more human intelligence to help sort out the other information we receive.

But if anyone is wondering why Bush reversed course on the issue, politics is the likely answer.

Because the decision to appoint an independent review board is also smart for President Bush on a political level.

Appointing the board &045; which should be bipartisan and should be made up of independent analysts and experts &045; takes the issue off the table for this election year, somewhat.

Bush will surely still have to answer questions about why we went to war and whether it was the right choice, but his answer now is &uot;we’re looking into it.&uot;

The results of the panel’s investigation won’t be available until after the election &045; and we shouldn’t expect them before then if we want a true accounting of what happened and how to make it right.