It appears that U.N. inspectors have uncovered evidence of illegally imported arms-related material in Iraq. Quite frankly I’m surprised to see that they’ve uncovered anything at all.

A recent episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Robert De Niro ran a sketch called “The Inspectors.” In it, Jimmy Fallon and De Niro play U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq. The scene opens as they knock on the door of what is presumably an Iraqi government building:

Inspectors: [knocks on door]
Iraqi Soldier: [opens door suspiciously]Yes?
Inspectors: Do you have any weapons of mass destruction in there?
Iraqi Soldier: [eyes darting around, slams door closed]
Inspectors: [shrugging]...okay.

Maybe the inspections aren’t exactly that cursory, but they’re a dog and pony show nonetheless. And no matter how many official compounds, factories, or palaces they visit, no matter how many times they check each facility on their little list of facilities, I will be shocked if they find a single trace of evidence on their own. …Okay.

This brings up an important question: Why in the world is the Bush administration declaring repeatedly that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction? Why, when Iraq denies it and when much of the world seems to believe the denial? What kind of moron is this guy, anyway? Does he think Americans are all war-mongering idiots? Some people claim it’s the state of the U.S. economy, that Iraq is Bush’s attempt to create a diversion from the real ills of our country. Others call Bush an imperialist who is trying to take advantage of the situation to secure a source of cheap oil for his Republican voters’ SUVs. Maybe he just hates Saddam Hussein because his dad never flushed the bastard out of Iraq when he had the chance. Or maybe Saddam said his momma was ugly, or made an Iraqi Xerox of his ass and faxed it to the White House. Regardless of the reason, it sure doesn’t seem to make sense to peace-loving Americans. And it seems that those who support Bush are being called warmongers.

The movie “Contact” helped push into the national conscience a conjecture called Occam’s Razor: “one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.” Let’s see: Iraq claims that they have no weapons of mass destruction. Much of the world is going along with the Iraqi claim. Yet Bush insists that Iraq is hiding their weapons of mass destruction and insists that Iraq disarm, issuing the threat of military force if they fail to do so. As the challenges grow, so does Bush’s firm stance on the issue. What can be made of this? That Bush is a fool, or that he is fabricating evidence of nuclear and biological weapons in order to force a war? In a region occasionally inhabited by terrorists who would only be too happy to have a reason to fly another plane into another tall American building? Is that the simplest explanation? No. Here is the simplest reason: There is credible evidence that Iraq holds weapons of mass destruction.

At this point, those who object to Bush’s stance on Iraq will step in with a very valid argument. If there is evidence, where is it? Why have the inspectors not found any evidence to date, and why has the Bush administration failed to provide the inspectors with credible evidence? Perhaps some information has been shared, according to this morning’s CNN article: “The homes [of Iraqi scientists being inspected by the U.N.] are located in the Al-Ghazaliyah district in Baghdad and are not listed as declared sites by Iraq, suggesting that inspectors may have been working on an intelligence tip.” This is hardly the smoking gun that Blix and the rest of the world are waiting to see. The world is waiting to see clear evidence, perhaps a document from the Bush administration describing exactly where to look for evidence.

Various members of the administration have stated that they cannot simply lay out all of their evidence at once, in the interest of protecting their sources. Call this hoodwinkery if you will but it makes sense to me. Exact locations of certain facilities may be known only to a small number of people within the Iraqi government, and explicitly sharing this information creates the risk of exposing key intelligence sources within Iraq. In an effort to glean as much intelligence as possible — and in the interest of keeping our operatives alive — it would be foolish to be fully forthcoming with information. But when the time is right, the information will be available. People have complained for years that we are too glib with our information, that we share too much with the media and that some privacy would be prudent. I believe we are finally being private in the interest of our national security, which goes to show that what people really want is full disclosure at all times.

I can’t say that I blame them. No one likes to head into war with little more than an accusation. But should this situation come to war, it will be declared by an administration that either has or doesn’t have all of the information they require. I don’t believe that Bush would storm into war, or even accuse Iraq of hiding weapons, if there wasn’t credible evidence. As I’ve said before, he is not stupid; he knows that he is on the world stage, and that every one of the world’s nations are watching his actions. It would require the unilateral actions of a foolish president and a foolish Congress to blunder so badly as to head into war with no reason, and I am convinced that that will NOT happen. If (or perhaps when) it happens, we will pursue a war with Iraq because they are hiding weapons of mass destruction and because the current leadership of Iraq directly and indirectly harbor the potential of terrorist attacks against our country.

War is bad. Every alternative must be considered before going to war. But sometimes war is unavoidable.

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