When U.S. Secretary General Colin Powell finished his presentation to the United Nations about the wrongdoing of Saddam Hussein's regime, many debates started about the validity of his evidence.
While some took the presentation as a clear sign of what the Iraqi leader was doing, others argued that if the United States wanted to provide compelling evidence, it would've been only fair to expose their intelligence gathering capabilities as proof.
Others whined that what was presented did not seem to provide basic information, such as GPS co-ordinates, and of the time shots taken, the quality was dubious. And it's true, when you consider that you can get better quality satellite imaging off of the Internet for free (http://www.spaceimaging.com/).
There are two things people fail to understand in regards to Powell's presentation.
The first is that identifying the means in which information was obtained has several potential risks. To start, it puts those secret agents working for the United States in direct danger from the Iraqi Government. The Government of Iraq has the means and the will to do horrible things to their political opponents. Mentioning the type of information and/or how it was obtained would allow Saddam's regime to track down who the possible traitors were and have them dispatched to the great beyond.
Also, revealing to the world the means of which a country does their espionage means revealing the level of technological advancement their spying techniques are at. When the newspapers reported that United States had been able to track down the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden via his satellite phone, he simply stopped using it.
You also risk the enemy using the systems you've been exploiting to feed you false information rendering your systems useless.
But the real point behind Powell's speech was, aside from obtaining the support from the American population, was to shift the responsibility of proof to Iraq. The United States was expected to justify its actions. Even if the evidence may be considered ridiculous, it shifted the hot potato to Iraq, who now has to prove that what was said is not true.
While it is true that the U.S. Government put Saddam Hussein in power (just like Noriega, the Taliban and Pinochet to name a few) and has the tendency of not minding its own business, look at which countries are arguing the most against American's stand: France, Germany, Russia and China.
France, who only a decade ago did unsanctioned nuclear tests in the Pacific, and despite international protests, sending troops to the Ivory Coast. And of course, despite sanctions on Iraq, they still do business with them.
Germany, the same country that less than half a century ago elected a leader that, had it not been for the might of the United States armed forces, would've made Europe look like Utah.
Then you get Russia and China. The former just recently changed from their original regime of tyranny--and yet tries to make a stand on moral grounds. The latter is a still-living example of imperialism that doesn't seem to have much notion as to what freedom is for either its citizens or countries it currently has occupied.
There seems to be some strong irony--if not downright hypocrisy--that the same countries that are accusing the United States of being imperialistic bullies forcing their actions down the throats of others are the same that displayed various forms of foreign and domestic oppression as well as strong imperialism. America needs their actions to be approved by these guys?
The Unites States doesn't need any type of proof to wage war on Iraq. After all, they still have the receipts to Saddam's arsenals.