That metal drum in the northern Iraqi town of Baiji that was thought to contain nerve agents appears more likely to hold rocket fuel - just the latest in a series of biological and chemical near misses.
Watching yet another reason for war whoosh away, I marvel at how easy it is to continue believing in the existence of these weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps it's because we are people of faith, and these are faith-based weapons of mass destruction. They are a little like God in that. We know they're there; we can't see them, but we believe in them anyway. In fact, there is so much faith in them, I think they may just come into being from sheer mass creative visualization.
It will be good to finally see them, so we know what they are. Then we will get the answers to important questions. Are there weapons of minimum destruction? Is the cross a weapon of mass destruction? Are SUVs? By what strange physics do they seem to drift? And in which country will they "show up" next?
Are they like flies dispersed by the very shotgun blast that seeks to squash them? Will we get destruction of massive weapons? Or massive destruction of weapons? Or maybe they mean weapons of "gas extraction." This makes a lot more sense: Bush as a kind of well-ordnanced Che Guevara, spreading the democracy of oil to all the unlubricated. The squeaky wheels of Islam, the big dry-hump of occupation.
Already a lot of circular language has been greased up and slipped into some rather square holes so that he can stand there in the emperor's old clothes and be the magician/liberator. There is a sleight-of-hand trick he wants to do: Osama and Saddam and the WMDs are already invisible; he wants the victims of the war to be invisible, too. If there were only a real Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility to put over that burnt armless boy calling out to his phantom mother.
And ongoing malnutrition and disease are the most massive invisible ordnance of all. It will take 10 times 10 thousand cloaks to hide all that. Till then, there's Obs-CNN and Faux News with another Elvis sighting; a feel-good piece on returning heroes; or tomorrow, I'm sure, a rumour that the actual sword of Damocles has been found and that Rumsfeld has been swinging it to rousing cheers and laughter at an undisclosed army base.
A "developing" story.