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Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Drive by blogging will continue for the foreseeable future. In the meantime:

Martin Devon has been one of my favorite bloggers since I read Barbarians last April (which, in blogyears, was centuries ago).

Today, Martin writes about the weapons inspections in Iraq. In that post, he argues that there are only three possibilities in terms of results of the inspections. Those are:

(a) Iraq has WMD and the Blix team could find proof that they exist.

(b) Iraq has WMD and the Blix team could miss them.

(c) Iraq does not have WMD and the Blix team won't find them, since they aren't there.

I disagree. There is, in fact, a fourth possibility:

(d) Iraq does not have WMD, but despite that fact, they (or false evidence of their development) are "found" by Blix, et al.

Pop Quiz: If the inspectors report back with a discovery, which of the foregoing alternatives do you think Saddam will claim to have occurred? You get three guesses to choose one of the two "we found WMD" alternatives. And the first two guesses don't count.

Anonymous Iraqi General: "That thing that looks so much like a gas centrifuge is simply one of my more elaborate cappucino makers. I bought while I was on vacation in Italy. No one with any technical background could ever mistake it for a real gas centrifuge. Silly inspectors. Evil Bush." See Scott Ott.

The inspections were never the issue. It is too easy to cloud the issue. Anyone who already wants to oppose a war with Iraq will continue to do so, regardless of what the inspectors find. Few, if any, will be convinced a report that WMD or evidence of same have been found. The entire purpose of the inspections (from Bush's point of view, at least) is to convince the American electorate that his administration has attempted to work within existing multlateral structures (the UN) and despite the best efforts of the US, that attempt was a complete failure.

The report by Iraq is the issue. Is it truthful and comprehensive?

My opinion: It is unlikely to be. If that is the case, the "material breach" has already happened, and all those "serious consequences" are already in the pipeline. The only real question in my mind is how much Bush is willing to expose our intelligence sources in proving that the report is neither comprehensive nor truthful.
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