Monday, March 14, 2005

Was it all a Dream?

I guess the answer to the burning question "how long can the NYT go without attempting to turn every story into a 'Bush sucks' piece" is: about two weeks. For two weeks the Times flirted with such radical ideas as: maybe Bush did something that wasn't all bad.

Now they are back to form with a piece that goes back to the issue of the looting of Iraqi weapons sites. You might remember this as the October surprise that the NYT hyped endlessly before last year's election. An October surprise in that 60 minutes had all the information for the story and had decided to sit on it until the Sunday before the election. Word leaked out and the story ran in the NYT a week earlier than 60 minutes wanted. Too bad for 60 minutes. The first couple days of coverage made President Bush look pretty bad. Before the week was out, however, it became apparent that there was less to the story than met the eye (the weapons were likely removed before the conflict began). Given the complete dearth of stories on the subject after November 2nd, it took on the tenor of a hit piece that failed.

It took them four months to regroup, but the Times is back on the case. They are now reporting looting at "over 90" sites. Their graphic contains the following notes about 6 different sites:
...Produced equipment necessary for uranium enrichment...
...Another factory for uranium enrichment...
...Another facility for the Uranium enrichment program... (emphasis mine)
...International inspectors called a complete potential nuclear weapons laboratory...
...Housed a centrifuge and missile manufacturing program...
...A production plant for scud missiles...

Here is the deal: either Saddam had programs working on WMDs or he didn't. The left apparently wants President Bush to be wrong about Saddam working on WMDs and also be wrong about safeguarding WMD sites. Liberals wiggle position is that he clearly didn't have any WMDs but just as clearly these WMD sites should have been quickly identified and secured. This isn't any more satisfying than the original position. How could they be certain he had no WMDs given the fact that he had "over 90 sites" working actively on such programs? Each of these plants, of course, is a violation of the UN resolutions he signed at the end of the first gulf war.

Liberal's position is that Saddam didn't have WMDs, Saddam wasn't on the market for uranium, the UN resolutions were working, AND that the uranium program he was working on was stolen from Iraq. But most of these things are mutually exclusive.

The story is premised on UN inspectors looking at satellite imagery of the sites. So that leaves open both the possibility that the sites were stripped pre-invasion and the possibility that the US has stripped the sites and isn't telling while it does some work on the info gathered. To be fair, the Times piece has information suggesting that the looting at some sites was clearly post-invasion.

The Times article points out that this was large complicated machinery that was spirited away (likely to other countries). Keep that in mind when we announce that Iran, Syria, Libya, etc. Need to hand it over and liberals begin squawking about how Bush is a warmonger. Your rules, liberals. If the Bush administration is culpable for those programs getting loose, they are responsible for solving the problem.

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