Survey Group Report to Support WMD Claims

Senator John Warner says that the report of the Iraq Survey Group due in September will include “a good deal of new information” supporting the Bush administration’s contention that Saddam Hussein sought to produce weapons of mass destruction. Warner suggested that the information would include evidence of Saddam’s violations of international restrictions, of the survival of old chemical munitions (like the shells containing sarin that have recently been found), and of Saddam’s more recent efforts to produce WMDs.
For a long time I thought that the administration was pursuing a “rope a dope” strategy whereby the Democrats would be sucked into hysterical attacks along the lines of “no WMDs” and “no connections to al Qaeda,” and would then be cut off at the knees by a series of reports detailing the evidence on both topics that has been obtained during and after the Iraq war. I no longer believe that theory, since it is inconceivable that the administration would not have produced helpful information in response to the various investigations that are now coming to an end. Nevertheless, it appears that helpful information on both topics will continue to come out between now and November. From a political standpoint, I think the question is whether the damage that has been done can be undone, no matter how many helpful facts (e.g., the confirmation that Saddam did try to acquire uranium in Africa) emerge.

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