Debra J. Saunders

 And: "Those around Saddam seemed quite convinced that once sanctions were ended -- and all other things being equal -- Saddam would renew his efforts in this field." ("This field" means nukes.) Coverage of the Duelfer report has concentrated on the politics of the report -- like all front-page stories, it is bad for Bush -- and Hussein's December 2002 announcement to top lieutenants that he didn't have WMD, so they would have to rely on a very different defense strategy.

 (As an aside, let me note that if Hussein's top military men didn't know the regime lacked significant WMD until December 2002, maybe it's not a sign of gross incompetence that the CIA did not know either.)

 Other bad news from the report:

 "By 2003, Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agent in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two."

 Hussein was so unafraid of the United States and the United Nations after losing the Persian Gulf War that he used WMD on southern Shiite rebels in his own country in 1991.

 Former U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks used to deride the Oil for Food program as "Oil for Palaces." The Duelfer report, however, paints the program as more like "Oil for Propaganda." And: Oil for WMD. Countries corrupted by Hussein's henchmen called for an end to the U.N. sanctions as the sanctions led to more suffering among the Iraqi people. With pockets bulging, leaders in these countries did the bidding of the one man who caused the suffering as he prepared to amass an arsenal that could spread death across the globe.

 War critics in America, who will never look at the Duelfer report, will cite it as proof that the war in Iraq was ill considered. Apparently, they don't care that Hussein misled the world.

 Or that he was gearing up to manufacture more lethal weapons.

 Or that he killed Shiite Iraqis with WMD under the watch of the United Nations.

 They only care about bashing Bush.

Debra J. Saunders

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