In his reply to my letter of Dec. 18, Gil Russell said that "Brian Cooney repeatedly asserts that the president of the United States is a 'liar'." In fact, my only use of the lword was in reference to the indictment of President Clinton. When Mr. Russell used quotation marks around "liar," he was incorrectly claiming that I used that word. A six-year veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency should be more careful in reporting what someone has written.
What I said in my letter is that President Bush and Colin Powell made numerous "false claims" in support of going to war. "False" means the opposite of "true." Bush and his assistants repeatedly claimed they "knew" that Iraq had WMDs even though, as we have since learned, the CIA was unsure. Perhaps the president sincerely believed what he wanted to believe. He tried to frighten us with images of Saddam using atomic bombs and poison gas against our people. Yet, after eight months of intense searching by a 1,400-strong American team, no trace has been found in Iraq of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, or even of an active program to develop them.