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Coming Soon . . . Honest!

August 16th, 2003

Robert Novak, the lovable curmudgeon and conservative pundit, reported recently that we have found evidence of WMD in Iraq, and that the information will be released in mid-September. He claims that the administration is waiting for more discoveries to be made before revealing what they have. The information purportedly includes “substantial evidence of biological weapons in Iraq, plus considerable missile development.”

If such information will in fact be released in September, this raises natural suspicions about what is being done to the information and whatever evidence there may be in the meantime; it is unlikely that anyone outside Bush supporters will feel that evidence tampering could be ruled out, not to mention the unethical move of withholding vital evidence for political reasons.

The fact is that the Bush administration has botched the job. By lying so often to the people and the world, by pushing trumped-up evidence and claiming validation, by selling off Iraq profits not just to American industries but especially to those with ties to Bush and Cheney, and by refusing to allow any non-American weapons inspectors into Iraq, the administration would have to be fantasizing if they thought they will be believed by the world when they show up with anything of substance, even if it is real.

Of course, this is all assuming Novak has something here.

But personally, I have the strong feeling that there is nothing to this story at all. Why?

It’s been claimed before. Senators returning from a junket to Iraq claimed on July 3 that “there’s going to be breaking, positive news on that front in a very near term,” and urged Bush to release the information. Of course, nothing came out.

And then there are the news stories: parts for an atomic bomb program were dug up in an Iraqi scientist’s backyard (but were found to be older then the Gulf War and, instead, proof that the program was not reconstituted); two truck trailers were found which the administration told us were mobile labs for creating bioweapons (but it turns out no trace of bioweapons were found, though they would have been if the trucks had been used for that purpose).

We keep hearing these stories, that evidence is on the way or has been found, each time the story being reported wide, far and loud, and each time the fact that it is a bust being reported in a much smaller voice. And I don’t think that these are random errors.

I bet that if you performed a survey of all Americans and asked if we’ve found evidence of WMD in Iraq, that a sizable percent–not over 50%, probably, but still sizable–would say that we have. You spread rumors enough and people start to believe something is there.

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