Al Gore and Trent Lott... those stories are just digressions and diversions.

The real story, the big story is still — and will be for the next few months — our military folks in the desert of Kuwait shooting at make believe Iraqis.

In other words, how goeth the war?

Right now, our side is doing two things — trying to analyze Iraq's declaration for what the Iraqis left out and trying to find an Iraqi scientist or two to rat out Saddam Hussein.

In the analysis department, the thinking goes like this: Compare the declaration with what we know Saddam had when the inspectors were last in Iraq, and find a gap — a credible assumption of weapons of mass destruction supplies he is hiding somewhere in the country — and use that as a so-called material breach, which could trigger military action.

You could tie yourself up like a pretzel trying to make that work, but hey... sometimes pretzel logic works.

As far as the scientist goes... if the Bush administration can find a scientist — or better yet two or three — who can round up all their family and get on a C130 for Cyprus, they might be able to come up with direct eyewitness testimony about how Saddam is building doomsday bombs and where he's hiding them.

These sound like long shots, but not as much of a long shot as the now dimming hope that these inspectors will find any of the stuff our spooks and spies say they know is there in Iraq.

That's My Word .

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