BBC: Saddam Was Just Kidding

Liberal news organizations both here and in England lay low briefly after the successful conclusion of the Iraq war to give people time to forget about their dire predictions of “quagmire,” “massive civilian casualties,” etc. But now they’re back in full force, trying to deprive the Bush and Blair administrations of credit for their successful policy.
The effort to retrospectively discredit the Iraq war takes a number of forms–the claim that the special forces’ rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch was a fraud, CBS News’ recent story asserting that a bunker bombed by the U.S. at the beginning of the war in an effort to kill Saddam Hussein never existed, and so on. But the left has fastened most gleefully on the alleged failure to find weapons of mass destruction. The claim that “no such weapons have been found” is repeated constantly in the press. While that claim is untrue–some such weapons have in fact been found–it certainly appears to be true that so far, these discoveries have been less substantial than expected. Whether this is because the weapons were destroyed at the outset of the war, or were moved to Syria, as Debka File says, or are still in Iraq and simply haven’t been found yet, is unclear. In the meantime, however, the left is doing all it can to use the absence of definitive WMD discoveries to discredit the war and to cast doubt on the motives of the American and British governments.
The BBC joined this chorus today with this article, titled “Iraq weapons dossier ‘rewritten’”. The allegedly sensational news reported by the BBC is that–according to an anonymous British official–the “dossier compiled by the government on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction was rewritten to make it “sexier.” The BBC is trying to drum up support for the claim that “the US-led coalition had effectively gone to war on a false pretext.” But its own report demonstrates how lacking in substance that theory is.
Even the BBC’s own anonymous source concedes that “Most things in the dossier were double source.” In fact, there is only one fact stated in the dossier that the BBC’s anonymous official questions: the statement that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction could be “ready for use within 45 minutes.” This statement was based on information from only one source, who was not considered reliable by the BBC’s informant.
That’s it. Everything else in the British dossier is conceded to be correct: “[T]he official said he was convinced that Iraq had programme to produce weapons of mass destruction, and felt it was 30% likely there was a biological weapons programme. He said some evidence had been ‘downplayed’ by chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix.”
In short, there’s a headline but there isn’t any story. Which is typical of all of the “Where are the WMD?” stories. What, exactly, do these people think? Are they seriously trying to argue that Saddam didn’t have any chemical or biological weapons? If that were true, Saddam would have pulled off one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, for no apparent purpose.
As of 1998, there was an inventory of substantial quantities of chemical and biological weapons that Iraq admitted possessing. For years, the U.N. tried to get Saddam to prove that he had destroyed those inventories, but he was unable to supply such evidence. Why would Saddam destroy his weapons and then perversely refuse to provide documentation, when his failure to do so kept the U.N. sanctions in place? And what about the chemical suits that U.S. forces discovered in several abandoned Iraqi military positions, along with written instructions for the use of chemical weapons? Do the liberals really believe that Saddam trained and equipped his soldiers to use weapons that he didn’t possess?
The last word goes to Tony Blair, who says he is “still absolutely sure that weapons of mass destruction will be found.” And to British Defence Minister Adam Ingram, who says: “The whole world knew what Saddam Hussein was up to in terms of the weapons of mass destruction and that’s why we prosecuted the war and that’s why we were right.”

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