Politicians are always hostages to events, of course; incumbents are always betting that things will go well and challengers that they will go poorly. But still, the Democrats this year seem to have placed themselves uniquely far out on a limb. Unless they nominate Lieberman, or possibly Gephardt, they are committed to running on the proposition that the Iraq war was based on a “lie,” or at best on deeply flawed intelligence, in that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction after all. We have seen how the capture of Saddam Hussein shook the Democrats and strengthened the President’s hand, but that is nothing compared to the effect that uncovering chemical or biological weapons would have. After all, no one ever denied Saddam’s existence (although I understand that the Democrats had filmed a commercial which ridiculed our inability to catch Saddam, which was scheduled to run on the day after he surrendered).
The reality is that the Democrats have no idea whether there are WMDs in Iraq or not, or if so, how likely they are to be found. I can think of no parallel instance in which a political party has wagered so much, not on the general progress of events–how the economy performs, or how a war goes–but on a very specific fact: the assumption that vials or canisters of biological or chemical weapons do not exist, or at a minimum, cannot be found. And not only a very specific fact, but one which is entirely unpredictable and completely beyond the control of the Democrats.
Which brings me to General Richard Myers’s appearance on Fox News this morning. The link is to the transcript of his interview, which is all interesting. But what especially struck me was this exchange:
“WALLACE: But, General, if I may press the question, in fact, are you stalled, at this point, in the search for weapons of mass destruction?
“MYERS: No, I don’t think so at all. I just met with these individuals at their location there in Iraq, and I don’t think they think they’re stalled. It goes on, it goes on, it goes on.
“It’s going to be like finding Saddam Hussein. It took the right series of events, the right individuals to keep tracking him, to find the right person that could eventually say, ‘Here’s where we think he is.’ The same thing’s going to be true in WMD. The things we’ve found have been because Iraqis have stepped forward and helped us find those things. So the same thing applies.
“And if you think about anthrax, you could have enough anthrax to wipe out several large cities in a hole the size that Saddam Hussein was found in. There are obviously holes like that and places you can hide stuff all over the country.
“WALLACE: Do you still believe you’re going to find them?
“MYERS: I do, personally, yes.”
I find Myers to be a very impressive guy. He says that he has “just met with” the WMD hunters in Iraq, and his personal opinion is that WMDs will be found. He knows–and President Bush and Prime Minister Blair know–a thousand times more about what has and has not been found in Iraq, and what progress is being made, than any of the Democratic Presidential candidates can possibly know.
So I keep wondering: What is the Democrats’ plan B? If a week or six months from now, biological or chemical weapons are found, or evidence is brought forward of active weapons programs from which such stocks clearly could have been produced, do the Democrats say, “Oops, sorry. Never mind”? Do they apologize for their over-the-top attacks on President Bush? Or do they simply continue to deny reality, no matter how patent that reality may be? I don’t know. But one thing I will guarantee is that they won’t nominate Joe Lieberman.
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