David Kay, a former United Nations inspector who is joint head of the Iraq Survey Group, offered an unprecedentedly optimistic assessment of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction.
Although he called for patience, he predicted that doubters were in for a "surprise" by the time his work was done.
What kind of surprise?
- That evidence included documents detailing how to conceal arms plants as commercial facilities, and for restarting weapons production once the coast was clear, officials told reporters.
All of which were prominent features of Iraq's earlier weapons programs, which Saddam's regime readily acknowledged, claiming that they had all been shut down.
But let's take the claim at face value. This claim amounts to saying that Iraq was an immediate danger because, in the absence of inspectors, it could have started an effectively new weapons program from scratch. As could any government, anywhere in the world. And it also implies that simply continuing the inspections, at a vastly lower cost than the current occupation, would have been enough to prevent Iraq from acquiring WMD indefinitely.
And once again, this is a lot less than they claimed before the war, when Iraq supposedly had vast stocks of actual weapons ready to deploy in 45 minutes...