The political spin machines went into high gear Wednesday with the publication of the report from the Iraq Survey Group on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The group’s finding that Saddam Hussein did not have a functional program for the production of weapons of mass destruction, nor any known stockpiles of the same, was treated as big news. In the context of a heated election campaign, the news was played as a devastating blow to President Bush’s case for the war in Iraq.
But this represents a serious distortion. There is news in the report, to be sure, but it lies in the detailed disclosure and documentation of how far France, Russia, and China had benefited from the United Nation’s corrupt Oil-for-Food program. These, of course, were the three countries most supportive of Iraq on the U.N. Security Council. That’s what the headlines should have been all about.
The Survey Group, headed by chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer, only confirmed what weapons inspector David Kay had previously stated before Congress at the interim publication of the report: that Saddam Hussein did not at the time of the invasion have a major program for the production of weapons of mass destruction. If this is news, it is only because of the countdown to the presidential election.