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Enough Said About Inspections
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: War; Intelligence gathering; Inspections; Weapons of mass destruction; State of the Union Address
Author: Will, George F
Date: Jan 30, 2003
Start Page: A.23
Section: EDITORIAL

This necessarily oblique reference to the worldwide struggle in the shadows is pertinent to the problem the president has in presenting his case for invading Iraq. Regarding concrete evidence of Iraq's evasion of disarmament obligations, critics promptly pronounced the address less than nourishing. On Monday Tom Daschle had said, "if we have proof of nuclear and biological weapons, why don't we show that proof to the world -- as President Kennedy did 40 years ago when he sent Adlai Stevenson to the United Nations to show the world U.S. photographs of offensive missiles in Cuba?"

For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors suggest that the high-strength aluminum tubes the Bush administration thinks might be intended for uranium enrichment are actually intended for permitted conventional weapons uses. But Tuesday the president reiterated that "our intelligence sources" say the tubes are "suitable" for nuclear weapons production. A senior administration official notes that Iraq has known of U.S. awareness of the tubes since the story leaked to the New York Times Sept. 8. And in October a public U.S. report provided Iraq a road map for deception by saying "most intelligence specialists" believe the tubes were intended for uranium enrichment, but "some believe" they were intended for conventional weapons programs. So Iraq had plenty of time to build a Potemkin conventional weapons facility to mislead inspectors.

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