Allow me to add more to the steady drone of WMD talk.
This from an Iranian official, stating that Iranian intelligence also believes Iraq was hiding its weapons from U.N. Inspectors. Admittedly, a source that is not always a baston of truth and integrity.
This former Iraqi intelligence officer gives more fodder to the explanation of a merely dormant weapons program with the structure in place to become active quickly once the heat was off, and also lays out the level of creative deception that was occurring. He also provides a reason for Saddam not being forthcoming with the fact that his weapons were destroyed.
It will be interesting to see which path the evidence takes once things begin to be uncovered. If there really is solid proof regarding a weapons program on “stand-by” status rather than “active” status, with no appreciable amounts of usable WMD around, Bush will be stuck in a bit of a gray area. He can at least say that Saddam’s intent was never to disarm but merely to wait out world resolve before actively re-producing his lethal arsonal, for use or for sale. But he’ll still have to squirm mightly to explain to Congress, the American people and the world, why he said there was an imminent threat posed by active WMD that wasn’t really there. Was it an overstatement of a calculated assumption, based on the only pieces of the information puzzle that he had to work with? Or was it a deliberate misrepresentation of intelligence that showed slim likelyhood of any kind of active weapons threat in Iraq? Neither answer will be good, but Bush could survive the former scenario relatively well if he can at least prove a “spring-loaded” biological/chemical production infrastructure ready to go into action at any time.
Even so, the price would still be paid in a degree of erosion of US credibility in the world and an increased reluctance within the US for future pro-active military responses.