Kathleen Parker

A few weeks ago, I read remarks attributed to weapons inspector David Kay that his report would offer ample evidence of programs of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

Fast-forward to last week, when Kay made his long-awaited interim report. Imagine my surprise when I read stories in papers such as the New York Times that Saddam's alleged arsenal was just a bunch of precursors, potentials and bluffs.

Imagine my surprise when I read that Kay's report confirmed that Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States or our allies, and that, therefore, there was no justification for war against Iraq.

Had Kay been lying in that earlier story? Faking us out? Teasing with promises to keep us riveted only to make us the world's deadliest fools later on?

So one might think that unless one bothered to read Kay's actual report - rather than news stories about the report by reporters and headline writers whose preference for bad news - if not a Democratic president - is no longer in question.

What Kay really says in his report is that he and his inspectors have found "dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002."

And that's just the beginning of a laundry list of findings that should chill a vampire, including a clandestine network of laboratories suitable for chemical and biological warfare research and a prison lab complex possibly used in the human testing of biological agents.

But, as most news outlets noted as dramatically as possible, he found no stocks of weapons. Bada-bingo.

What Kay also said - and in fact what constitutes the first two long paragraphs of his report - is that we are nowhere close to being finished. His report "is a snapshot," he said, and "much remains to be done."

And then Kay said in perfectly good English: "It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions."

Yet, conclusions have been reached. Again and again, stories regurgitate claims that Bush exaggerated the case for war against Iraq by insisting that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat.

Everybody knows that Bush cast Iraq as an imminent threat, right? We know it the same way we know that one in seven women in college have been raped and that more women are victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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