So a new report says Iraq had a clear intent to produce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons if the U.N. sanctions were lifted.
Fortunately, there's a "but" - the report finds no evidence that Iraq had begun any large-scale program for weapons program.
Unfortunately, Bush has all he needs in the sentences that come before the "but."
Before it's tomorrow and we have the official talking points on this, let's consider reality for a moment. You're the leader of a country targeted by the United States. The U.S.'s leader has said, unequivocally, that he's going to come after any perceived threat. The moment the U.N. backed off - guess what - I'd probably arm the hell out of myself too. Hey - notice that the article (I wrote "report" originally, but I haven't read the actual document - so I'm trusting the NYT on this) says their plans were to act "if" sanctions were lifted.
"If." Not "in spite of."
The NYT article includes this bit of insightful analysis:
With the presidential election campaign in its final weeks, Republicans and Democrats are likely to seize on separate aspects of the report in an effort to score political points.Uh-huh. Thanks, we kinda figured . . . .
President Bush, who has said Iraq posed a threat to the world whether or not it possessed illicit weapons, will probably draw attention to the conclusion that Mr. Hussein sought to acquire illicit weapons. His political opponent, Senator John Kerry, who has accused Mr. Bush of misleading the country into war, will probably highlight the conclusion that Iraq had not begun a large-scale production program.
But here's where we make the leap from reason to wishful:
In trying to untangle the mystery of why no illicit weapons have been found in Iraq, Mr. Duelfer's report is expected to look more closely at the issue of Iraq's intentions. The document will stop short of offering a final judgment about Iraq's weapons program, the officials said, and will not completely close the door on some possibilities, including the still unsubstantiated theory that illicit weapons may have been moved to other countries.I am willing to allow for a later discovery of sand-covered silos, racks of scary test tubes, etc. I also know that much information exists about which we may never know. However, it seems fairly safe to say right now that - regardless of intent, or possibility - Iraq has no illicit weapons. So that first sentence there - about untangling the mystery of why no weapons have been found - they haven't been found because they aren't there to find. So, please, look more at "intentions." Let's get 'em on thoughts. (I knew I should've paid more attention during the inchoate crimes part of crim law).
The "report will not completely close the door" on the great WMD search. Good. I was worried about running out of material . . . .