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January 25, 2004

Dick Cheney Talks Trailer Trash (Or: We Found “The Weapons Of Mass Destruction Program Activities!”)

It was bizarre that President Bush tried to pass off the failure to find Iraqi WMD by saying we discovered “WMD-related program activities.” What was surreal was that the Vice President, emerging from his underground lair, actually lied to several news organizations about it.

Cheney insisted to NPR that a couple of trailers found after the war provided conclusive proof that Iraq possessed biological weapons. He said:

“We know, for example, that prior to our going in that he [Saddam Hussein] had spent time and effort acquiring mobile biological weapons labs, and we’re quite confident he did, in fact, have such a program. We’ve found a couple of semi trailers at this point which we believe were, in fact, part of that program. Now it’s not clear at this stage whether or not he used any of that to produce or whether he was simply getting ready for the next war. That, in my mind, is a serious danger in the hands of a man like Saddam Hussein, and I would deem that conclusive evidence, if you will, that he did, in fact, have programs for weapons of mass destruction.”

It would be interesting, if not psychologically diagnostic, to find out how Cheney arrived at his conclusions.

According to an article in the London Observer last June, the British government determined that the trailers were used to produce hydrogen to fill artillery balloons. (In other words, the Iraqi’s were guilty of deploying technology barely half-a-step up from what Barnum and Bailey has in its arsenal.) Also in June, the New York Times, citing CIA sources, reported the same conclusion. (This probably wouldn’t have impressed the Vice President, however, since he has proved he doesn’t consider the CIA a credible source.)

Even David Kay, the Administration’s “weapons water boy,” was reluctant to put stock in the discovery. Apparently mindful of the few shreds of credibility he has left, Kay, who stepped down as head of the U.S. inspection team this week, insisted the issue of the trailers “is still something that’s very much being examined.”

Right…. Until the cows come home.

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