Whoops. No WMDs After All. At Least We Have Spin.

“Iraq had a weapons program. Intelligence throughout the decade shows they had a weapons program. I am absolutely convinced that with time, we’ll find out they did have a weapons program.” Thus spoke Bush to reporters today.

I’ve noticed this tic of repeating a phrase before. It’s a technique for controlling the story, similar to the phrase-laden backdrops that accompany Bush on his media stops.

In this case, the theory behind it seems to be this: Try to make it sound like the argument is over whether Iraq had a “weapons program” or not.

But of course, Bush didn’t stir up war fever in the United States by painting a picture of a “weapons program” in Iraq. He said that “Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons” and “has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas” and that “Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons” and “continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

It’s almost as if people took him seriously.