Weapons? What weapons?
From Tuesday, here's Forbes (via Reuters) weighing on in Slick Georgie's ever-shifting rationale for war:
U.S. war priorities shift away from disarming Iraq
When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spelled out the eight U.S. objectives in Iraq on day two of the war, he said the first was to topple Saddam Hussein and the second to locate and destroy Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.
On day 10 of the war, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke restated those eight objectives "as Secretary Rumsfeld described just a week ago."
Ending the Iraqi president's rule remained top of the list, but finding Saddam's suspected chemical and biological weapons had slipped to fourth place and destroying them to fifth.
Objective No. 2 was "to capture or drive out terrorists sheltered in Iraq" and No. 3 was to "collect intelligence on terrorist networks," Clarke said.
References to terror, terrorists and terrorism -- words that resonate with Americans since the Sept. 11 attacks -- now arise more often in the face of unexpectedly stiff resistance from Iraqi fighters using guerrilla-style tactics.
President Bush now more frequently describes Iraq's leaders as evil, brutal and tyrannical and his supporters as thugs. "Freeing the Iraqi people" has replaced disarming Iraq as the main focus of his speeches.
Some analysts see the re-ordering of priorities and shriller language as a response to the realities on the ground in Iraq. Saddam has not used non-conventional weapons and U.S. and British troops have so far not found any to justify a war which much of the international community opposes.
"It's the customary pattern," said Michael Codner, an analyst at Britain's Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies. "There hasn't been much incremental return on the WMD side for the democracies to gloat over," he said....
(Thanks to Susan M. for the link.)