According to a poll which is described as the state's "gold standard," Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst now leads Bruce Braley, her Democratic Party opponent, in the Iowa U.S. Senate race for the seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin.
The Des Moines Register's "Iowa poll" has Ernst up by a six-point margin, 44% - 38%. That Ernst's lead isn't larger is apparently attributable to a statement she made to the Register's editorial board which has been treated as a misstep, but really wasn't. The truth is that the statement Ernst made — that she had "reason to believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" — really wasn't strong enough.
Apparently, "There were no WMDs in Iraq" is the left's Iraq War equivalent of their false "settled science" on human-caused global warming. Of course, climate science isn't settled at all, given that there hasn't been any warming in almost 19 years.
What is settled is that there really were WMDs in Iraq. The left's, Democrats' and others' claims that there were none — zero, zip, nada — is what is self-evidently false.
An excellent July 2008 Investor's Business Daily editorial elaborated on the topic:
Hear about the 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq? No? Why should you? It doesn't fit the media's neat story line that Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed no nuclear threat when we invaded in 2003.
It's a little known fact that, after invading Iraq in 2003, the U.S. found massive amounts of uranium yellowcake, the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel, at a facility in Tuwaitha outside of Baghdad.
In recent weeks, the U.S. secretly has helped the Iraqi government ship it all to Canada, where it was bought by a Canadian company for further processing into nuclear fuel — thus keeping it from potential use by terrorists or unsavory regimes in the region.
This has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media. Yet, as the AP (Associated Press) reported, this marks a "significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy."
Yes, IBD really did cite the venerable Associated Press, whose own reporters have from time to time pitched in to perpetuate the "no WMD" myth.
But in July 2008, the AP itself indeed reported what IBD claimed it reported:
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.
If this yellowcake had nothing to do with WMDs (many people have falsely claimed that the material was only useful in peaceful nuclear applications), no one would have cared about it "crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions."
For the left, or Democrats, or anyone else, to truthfully assert that WMDs "were never found" in Iraq, they will have to refute every claim compiled in Wikileaks, by IBD, by yours truly, and many others about actual findings of weapons of mass destruction — including the above comtemporaneous reporting by AP.
Obviously, that's never going to happen. The Register's effective claim that Joni Ernst's statement was a de facto gaffe is inarguably false. Ernst didn't even need to qualify her statement with "reason to believe," because they were there.
While in the neighborhood, I should also note that dozens of Democrats, up to and including then-President Bill Clinton and current Vice President Joe Biden, asserted as an obvious, commonly known fact that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in 1998.
Maybe Ernst floundered a bit with Iowa's voters earlier this year because she showed timidity under fire. As the Register's Jennifer Jacobs noted in her report about the paper's poll:
She later clarified her statement to say that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003, but that Iraq had used them in the past.
Ernst shouldn't have allowed the left to intimidate her just because they can shout very loudly. There were WMDs at the time of the Iraq invasion, and it's not arguable.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.