I've been following the war mostly via weblogs and columnists, and the back-and-forth between right and left, pro and anti, on Iraqi “Weapons of Mass Destruction” has descended to the level of low farce. Remember, the reason for launching the war was to take out the Iraqi WMDs before they were used on us. The ping-pong isn't symmetrical though, and how the WMD issue is going to play out down the road is very interesting.

I follow two or three liberal/moderate columnists, who range from prowar-with-reservations to pretty strongly anti; I've gotten kind of addicted to the New York Times' Thomas Friedman and Washington DC indie Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. On the other side, Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit is voluminous and well-informed, as is Jeff Jarvis' BuzzMachine.

What happens is, at least once per day, there's an over-excited unconfirmed report that someone's turned up some WMD, and the right-wingers jump all over it saying “See, we told you so!” And at least once per day, one of the antis/lefties has a satirical comment along the lines of “Gee, still no WMD, isn't that strange...”

It isn't symmetrical, though. The right-winger/pro-war gang are by and large mean-spirited, sneering, and entirely unwilling to admit that the other side could possibly have any integrity or intelligence; rather, anyone questioning anything about the war is pretty well assumed to be pro-Saddam. Check out this previous essay for examples.

The leftie/anti writers, on the other hand, regularly look seriously at the other side's points and admit it when their predictions come out wrong.

So, what about those weapons of mass destruction anyhow? I was pretty sure Saddam still had a few salted away, but even so, it was a bullshit pretext for starting the war, there are lots of things way scarier than Saddam ever was. Having said that, bullshit or not, the world is well rid of him and the Iraqis have a good chance of coming out ahead on the deal, even though they've paid quite a price.

But I don't like lies, and I really don't like big lies, so I'm watching to see whether this was or not.

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colophon · rights
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April 14, 2003
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