It's not surprising to me that the major media outlets (including Fox News) would take some of David Kay's statements and highlight them, ignoring others. They frequently do things like that. So they would comment on his mentioning that no mass quantities of WMDs were in Iraq, but they would fail to mention that he thinks they may have been taken to Syria or that the programs to develop them were still going on. That's all old hat, and I've seen it all over the blogosphere.
What's shocking to me is that these blatantly obvious ways they've slanted the stories to try to make the Bush Administration look bad are only the obvious ways. Melanie Phillips gives details on the many items they ignore that aren't even making the blogosphere rounds.
Here are some of the things he's said:
1. He believes there probably weren't any large stockpiles of weapons on the eve of the invasion.
2. Since 1991 the weapons production had decreased.
3. Saddam Hussein seems to have been misled by his own people about the extent of his weapons and weapons programs.
4. Smaller stockpiles may still be hidden in Iraq.
5. They were working on producing ricin even at the end.
6. They were researching ways to make more effective weapons out of what they already had.
7. They did have a basic program toward nuclear weapons.
8. His ballistic missile program never stopped and actually received foreign support.
9. Dozens of WMD programs had been hidden from Hans Blix's weapons inspectors, including labs for chemical and biological weapons research. The emphasis was on "smaller covert capabilities that could be activated quickly", exactly the sort of thing weapons inspections wouldn't be able to find easily.
10. Before the invasion, some of the materials and production components were moved to Syria.
11. Saddam Hussein was indeed a certain and potentially imminent threat.
Phillips' analysis of all this is no less worth reading:
"Dr Kay's evidence has been brushed aside because of the assiduously promulgated myth that we only went to war because we were told that Iraq had WMD that were ready to use. But this is not so. We went to war because Saddam was grossly in breach of UN resolutions instructing him to prove he had dismantled his WMD programme."
She goes on to say that the claims that there were WMDs were just that. They were additional ways to get the public behind the war, but they were not the initial justification, which was "not the presence of WMD but the absence of evidence that it had been removed." All the evidence suggests that Saddam Hussein "was indeed in breach of the UN resolutions, and was indeed the threat he had been assumed to be from his record, temperament, regional ambitions and links to terrorism."
"How much ricin, after all, do you need to kill thousands of people? To listen to anti-war critics, it would seem that modest amounts of biological agent somehow don't count as WMD, or a re-started nuclear programme is no threat because it is only rudimentary."
It gets worse:
"To Dr Kay, the war was absolutely necessary because Saddam had become "even more dangerous" than had been realised, and, he said last week, "it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat". Yet virtually no one has reported these remarks. Instead, Dr Kay is being quoted out of context to sustain the charge of Government duplicity by the anti-war brigade."
Then she points out that Kay's reasons for leaving were lack of proper funding to carry out the investigation and lack of care to preserve the proper evidence by controlling looters. Yet the media keep acting as if Kay left because he thought there had never been any WMDs at any level and thought it was hopeless to find what had never been there.
Those who continue to say that the Bush Administration has the media in its pocket continue to lose credibility.