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The Cliffhanger Ending Is Suspended

It's almost pointless, at this time, to comment on the fluctuating information about is there is or is there ain't WMDs. If you read today's slantedly titled Washington Post piece "Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq" closely, you find that the opener is a little misleading:

The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war.

What appears to have happened is that more of the information is disparate because of looting and fires, so the expert-heavy team is being replaced with a larger, less specialized force that will sort through the evidence. Nonetheless, the teams might not find an underground storage area filled to overflowing with nasty weapons — or whatever else would count as a "smoking gun." So what? We've already found mobile biological weapons labs, and if the old regime could loot its museum before the U.S. forces arrived, they could certainly have destroyed and/or hidden incriminating evidence in this case.

What I kept thinking while reading the rather long article was that, if Hussein had allowed a similarly intensive search a few months ago, he'd still be in power today... if there had been as little to find a few months ago.

"Smoking gun" — now there's a term that I hope to see retired after this whole thing is over!

Posted by Justin Katz @ 06:25 PM EST



I've perused on Mark Shea's blog your comments and those who disagree with you.

I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with you. I will also add those who were against the war will do everything they can to undercut the hugely successful campaign.

But....I do think George W. Bush held back information. I think he failed to tell us everything that crossed his desk. How could he? Is he go ever more gray because he lied about WMD'S? Hardly. He's going gray because he knew what we were and are up against. Thank God those who question him today didn't have to make the decison he did.

God bless,

Marc @ 05/12/2003 03:45 PM EST


Thanks for the vote of confidence. I realize that many of the loudest among those calling for proof of "justification" give the signs of hoping that none is found.

I also agree that the President has kept much to himself, and I still think that the government might hold on to its "smoking guns" for a bit to follow leads and to leverage the information.

I'm getting to the point of being unable to muster the outrage to disagree with these folks. In dealing specifically with Mark Shea's site, I'm starting to wonder what Jesus might have said in the case of a war that had ended with such relative ease and unprecedented success, leading to the freeing of an entire nation. Somehow, I don't think He'd have been scanning the news for snippets of information about WMDs.

Justin Katz @ 05/12/2003 04:06 PM EST


I too am failing to find the outrage sufficient to sustain an argument against those who never end in their quest to pick at those (Bush et al) who made decisions they (the foreign policy experts not in jobs as foreign policy experts) disagreed with. It's almost as if the naysayers want to bask in the light of being "maybe" right.

I haven't heard these experts bloviate about Saddam Hussein's honesty. Should he have been trusted? It really comes down to this: Who was telling the truth? Bush and his team or Hussein and his?

My money is with Bush.

By the way, I'm sure the Iraqi's who were tortured and those who have relatives that were care not a lick if any WMD's are found.

Best wishes,

Marc @ 05/12/2003 08:02 PM EST

If you believe that Saddam --had-- complied, then you have to believe he had some sort of death wish: He trashed rather than turn over any documentation, any witnesses, any recordings, any locations, etc. of the process whereby the WMD's were destroyed. He complied but wouldn't KOWTOW and provide verification of it. His formal report to UNSC was full of lies, contradictions, and omissions.

He complied? That is utter nonsense.

Patrick Sweeney @ 05/13/2003 01:07 AM EST


I think you missed my meaning. The fact that Saddam didn't allow such a search, even though it would have made it politically impossible for us to invade, suggests to me that something changed between then and now to diminish what was there to find.

Moreover, the idea of his still being in power ought to be intolerable, given what we now know. I was trying to subtly suggest that it's a good thing (particularly for the Iraqi people) that we had to oust Hussein in order to perform our search.

Justin Katz @ 05/13/2003 06:19 AM EST