It's striking that the Times's story hyping the memo makes no mention of the "fixed" passage until roughly its 26th paragraph, where the term goes unremarked. Far be it from me to suggest that the Brits have done a better job as custodians of the English language than Americans. But the Brits do at least know how they speak it.Another thing about the DSM which seems to have gone largely unremarked upon in the media is that it tends to discredit the whole Bush Lied and Blair Lied story line. There are several passages which clearly indicate that the participants were under the impression that Saddam did indeed have WMD. For example, in the well-publicized quote in which Jack Straw characterizes the case for military action as “thin”, he goes on to point out:
Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.
Why would he speak of Saddam’s WMD capability being less than others if he knew it to be non-existent? Wouldn’t he just say that Saddam had no WMD capability?
And later there is a discussion about the consequences of Saddam using WMD “on day one” and where he might target with his WMD in the event of military action. Even Blair at one point refers to the fact that “the regime…was producing the WMD.” It seems clear that, whatever criticisms can be made regarding the failure to find WMD, there was a sincere belief at the time that he did posess them.