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"What I want to know, Captain, is what you hope to gain by making up this preposterous story."

We threw him out of the camp and went back to Okinawa on the sixth of June, 1964, the 20th anniversary of D Day in Normandy.

In October the revolt happened. We had not been the only team that knew it was coming. Some teams handled it well, some not so well. A lot of Vietnamese and a few Montagnards were killed. The Montagnards took over the radio station in Ban Me Thuot (now Buon Ma Thuot).

The Montagnards got a lot out of the revolt. They got slots for their better leaders, including Cowboy, to their officers candidate school. They got eligibility for passports. They got title to many of their ancestral lands, and the Vietnamese Ministry of Ethnic Minorities was formed.

But they might have achieved all of that without bloodshed if the CIA had believed us.

So I am not outraged that the Bush administration cooked the books on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As far as I know, every book is always cooked. At the least it is spun.

As far as I am concerned, Saddam, at one time, had WMD. It was not up to the United States or the United Nations or anybody else to prove that he had none. It was up to Iraq. They couldn't do so, because they had no credibility. But that was their own doing.

Weapons of mass destruction may well turn up yet. We're talking about a country the size of California, made mostly of sand. How hard is it to bury barrels under sand?

Assuming that Iraq did, in fact, destroy all of its WMD, this was obviously done because the U.S. was building up to invade, and they were trying to pre-empt the invasion by getting rid of the ostensible cause for it. It seems logical that, had they succeeded, as soon as the U.S. military left Kuwait, the WMD programs would be back on the front burner.

The real spin, in my view, the real cooking of the book was that we invaded Iraq, not because it had WMD, but because we needed a win, and we needed it badly. American morale was in the toilet because of 9/11. Afghanistan was changing from partial payback into a permanent running sore. Even our client states in the Arab world hate us for our support of Israel. We had been hurt, and the Arab world was pretty happy about it.

Meanwhile, the War on Terror was going well, but not in any public way. It was a shadow war of 3:00 a.m. arrests and confiscated bank accounts. We needed a large public win.

So we invaded Iraq because it's large, obviously evil, and we could actually find it. The fascinating thing is that it seems to have worked. Americans don't feel impotent anymore. We are no longer merely hated but also feared in the Arab world.

We can all feel so much better now.

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