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He had expected to say anything he wanted and escape without challenge.

But Fox News Channel’s Tony Snow had a different idea. Snow thought it might be interesting to stick to the facts for a change.

This Sunday past, Sen. Rockefeller took a play from the Terry McAuliffe playbook and simply invented a convenient history. He told Snow and a national television audience that President Bush has alarmed the nation with a speech warning that an attack from Iraq was imminent.

Snow coolly played a tape of the president’s State of the Union speech where he in fact said exactly the opposite. Bush warned the Congress that the United States could not wait for a threat to become imminent, to appear suddenly and without warning.

Snow then read from a speech that Rockefeller himself had given, one in which the West Virginia Democrat had proclaimed the threat from Iraq to be imminent.

Sen. Rockefeller was exposed and embarrassed and babbled on incoherently about what an average American should have inferred from the president’s speech. I think he was close to proclaiming psychic powers when the interview – mercifully for him – ended.

Finally, a Democratic critic of the president had been obliged to confront the facts. It doesn’t happen too often. On the same day, Slow Joe Biden was allowed by Tim Russert to repeatedly dodge the hard questions such as why he had voted for the war in Iraq if it seemed like a bad idea to him now. Few can filibuster like Joe, however, and Russert didn’t corner him.

The Democrats need cornering right now, especially on the Kay Report. It has become an intonation from the left that David Kay’s catalog of horrors represents a huge setback for the administration when in fact it is an eye-opening and verdict-sealing litany of the many threats Saddam posed to the world.

The infrastructure and production of banned weapons is documented, as is the last minute rush to destroy the evidence and conceal the trail. The factually-minded, however, have all the evidence they need.

  • Saddam routinely and thoroughly violated the U.N. resolutions.

  • He routinely pursued and likely possessed a wide array of the world’s deadliest weapons. His ambitions in this area were enormous.

  • His regime would never have “evolved,” and his brutal sons would have been even more dangerous than the father.

  • Of 130 massive weapons depots, we have searched 10.

Even the summary of the report goes on at length with details of this sort.

Democrats and their allies in the media are attempting the biggest spin since Clinton’s declaration of chastity toward Ms. Lewinsky. They are saying that David Kay has produced no proof of Saddam’s threat. From that premise, they launch into attacks on the war in Iraq, even when those attacks, like Rockefeller’s, depend on obvious lies.

It doesn’t take much to expose this tactic and to demonstrate the agenda.

But it does take questioners willing to embarrass powerful Democrats, and it does take a press corps willing to read the reports that brave men and women have prepared.

The American voter will not be fooled by the double talk and posturing of Democrats eager to return to power by any means. But it remains alarming that elite media are so intent on assisting in their return that they will ignore and distort even chapter and verse on the evils of Saddam’s regime.

Recall that late in 2002, Saddam produced a detailed report for the U.N. that purported to prove his compliance with all U.N. resolutions. Recall as well how closely reported the production of that report was, and how many thought the report combined with the return of inspectors to Iraq would protect Iraq from invasion.

David Kay has now conclusively given the lie to all the theatrics of late 2002 and early 2003, to the ego of Blix and the maneuvers of the French. There is overwhelming proof that all of the forces of appeasement then were wrong.

It is startling and shameful that instead of trumpeting this evidence of American justice and wisdom, Democrats are joining with European critics to question the predicate for the war.

Even if this turned out to be shrewd politics, it would still be reckless.

And it is likely to be the opposite of shrewd when Americans vote in 13 months.

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