I didn’t listen to the entire SOTU, primarily because it pains me to hear the leader of the Free World say NU-CUE-LAR (yes, Carter did it too, but that doesn’t make it right). But of the parts I did hear, one passage really struck me:

We’re seeking all the facts. Already, the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. [emphasis mine]

I’ve long been painfully amused by the administration’s substitution of “WMD Program” for “Actual WMD” but this brought it to a new level. Now, the purported threat to America is not WMD, nor WMD programs, nor even WMD-related programs, but instead WMD-related program activities, whatever that means. Perfunctory but true note: Saddam was in fact a very evil and cruel dictator. But there are many dictators and before deposing them, we must decide which ones are worth 500-and-counting lives of American soldiers (plus several thousand injured) to depose.

In any event, contrast tonight’s “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities” to Bush last year:

Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained.

Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.


UPDATE: Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who found that phrase noteworthy.

UPDATE: The “Kay report” is the report from David Kay, the weapons inspector who failed to find WMD and, along with his team, recently withdrew from Iraq. (See Ken liberal but pre-war Hawk Ken Pollak’s story in the February Atlantic for much more on Kay and the lack of Iraqi WMD.)