There's no smoking gun.

OK. But this isn't the normal news story, "Nothing here Walter, back to you."

This time no smoking gun means simply that Saddam has hidden the smoking gun pretty darn well and we either have to keep looking, or realize we're not going to find the smoking gun until somebody other than Saddam is running the place and our guys can swarm over the entire country digging the place up.

And now we're pushing to get Iraqi scientists out of the country -- and into Cyprus -- for interviews. The only way this is going to work is take the scientist's entire family -- cousins, uncles, the works -- and put them into a massive witness protection program in which they don't have to ever worry about going back to face Saddam.

While the inspectors grind away, the real work to avoid war is being done my our sometimes erstwhile European allies, who are sending word to Saddam that he might like exile better than war.

You would think he'd take the offer. He's stolen billions and will live like a king wherever he goes -- Libya, the Congo, who knows, maybe Cuba.

But in order for Saddam Hussein to understand the benefits of exile he's going to have to understand the disasters of war. Disasters that will be visited on him personally.

Remember how that worked with Gadhafi?

We've got to make an offer he can't refuse.

And we should do it soon.

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