So, the Iraq Survey Group's report says they have found nothing at all in Iraq. What a shocker! This body was, of course, the super-super wondersquad far beter than any wimpy eurosexual surrender-monkey UN inspectors who would tear aside the veil of excuses and deceit and....something like that anyway. And they appear to agree with Hans Blix's conclusions - Iraq certainly showed an interest in WMD, and had possessed them in the past, but had no actual arms. It's worth pointing out just how crushing the leak is - it's not just the headline, 45 mins to doomsday, stockpiles of smallpox-sarin-and-just-maybe-nukes stuff that they say is rubbish. It's the whole lot - the 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals? Er...no. The plan to make a Czech L29 jet trainer into a germ spraying drone? Not a sausage. (And anyway, that was always dodgy - surely, a fast jet of unknown provenance would be detected if aimed at a city? And if it was used on the battlefield, such a craft would be very vulnerable to ground fire, being unable to manoeuvre.)
Before the government cranks up its bullshit machine, let's consider the excuses they are likely to use. Firstly, they will likely say that the leak is from "only an interim report". True, but most of the ISG has now left Iraq. Elvis has left the building and there won't be any more music. The only differences between this one and the final version will come from editing. Far be it from me to suggest that it will be sexed up. Secondly, there's that wonderful crack about "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". It's not logically possible to prove absence. How do you prove there is no elephant next to you? The ISG weren't sent to find absence, they were sent to find weapons. What is much more important is the utter lack of any evidence of presence. Thirdly, and Jack Straw has already begun this, they will claim that old UN reports "prove" there were weapons. The absurdity of this after all the belittling of UNMOVIC is clear. And this is like believing there is a dog in your garden because the government told you - after searching the garden and finding no dog, not even a dog turd or dog pawprints. The last option will be to claim that the ISG report means the opposite of what it says. This has already begun. The ISG have apparently found documents concerning weapons. This is not good enough! Iraq used to have chemical arms,and tried to make biological and nuclear ones. It is vanishingly, piss-antly obvious, dull, and insignificant that their archives contain papers on this. Equally pathetic is the line that Iraq "could have made" the weapons. So could we. So could Canada or Switzerland or Japan or Brazil - in fact any country with a decent university science faculty and a fair-ish industrial base.
There they are. Don't swallow them. Demonstrate on Saturday in Hyde Park.