If the administration finds weapons of mass destruction, said a pundit on one of last Sunday's political chat shows, then expect a President Bush lift-up in the polls. If the administration finds weapons of mass destruction?
Apparently, few paid attention to the interim report of David Kay, the man Bush put in charge of preparing the report on Iraq's weapons program. Kay recently briefed congressional intelligence committees about his -- so far -- three-month-long search and examination. What he disclosed clearly demonstrates the validity of the war and confirms the president's arguments.
David Kay also explains the difficulty in determining the existence or removal of Iraq's WMDs: "All of Iraq's WMD activities were highly compartmentalized . . . with deception and denial built into each program. Deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation . . . began pre-conflict and ran trans- to post-conflict. Post-war looting destroyed or dispersed important and easily collectible material and evidence. . . . Significant elements of this looting were carried out in a systematic and deliberate manner, with the clear aim of concealing pre-war activities of Saddam's regime. Some WMD personnel crossed borders in the pre/trans-conflict period, and may have taken evidence and even weapons-related materials with them. Any actual WMD weapons or material is likely to be small . . . and difficult to identify with normal search procedures. Even the bulkiest materials we are searching for . . . can be concealed in spaces not much larger than a two-car garage."
Some Democratic presidential candidates, meanwhile, especially former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, grow ever more shrill and skeptical about Bush's war rationale. Suggestion: Read Mr. Kay's briefing. Not only does this confirm Bush's suspicions about the intention of Saddam Hussein, but let us recall that the previous administration shared the same fears and concerns about Saddam.
David Kay, Oct. 2, 2003: "Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars and were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Sandy Berger, Clinton national security adviser, Feb. 18, 1998: "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983."
David Kay: "We have found people, technical information and illicit-procurement networks that, if allowed to flow to other countries and regions, could accelerate global proliferation."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Dec. 16, 1998: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
David Kay: "We have discovered . . . a clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to U.N. monitoring and suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research. . . . A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of biological weapons agents, that Iraqi officials . . . were explicitly ordered not to declare to the United Nations. . . . Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons. . . . New research on B(iological) W(eapon)-applicable agents . . . and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the United Nations."
Madeline Albright, Feb. 18, 1998: "Iraq is a long way from (here), but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
David Kay: "We have discovered . . . documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Oct. 10, 2002: "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."
David Kay: "We have discovered . . . continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the United Nations. . . . Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 km -- well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the United Nations. Missiles of 1,000 km would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East. . . . Clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles -- probably the No Dong -- 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited equipment."
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and others, in a letter to President Bush, Dec. 5, 2001: "There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. . . . In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
If the administration finds weapons of mass destruction?