By Tony Russell

"What do you have for a lead story tonight, Ace?"

"You're gonna love this one, Chief. They didn't find any stockpile of chemical weapons today in Iraq!"

"Are you out of your mind, Ace? If they found a stockpile, that would be news. All you've got is same-old, same-old. No stockpile yesterday, no stockpile the day before, no stockpile the day before that…."

"Well, what about this one, Chief? They didn't find any nuclear weapons today, either."

"Same problem, Ace. It's not news."

"No biological weapons… wait, Chief, before you jump in, remember that the administration was trying to claim that two trailers they found were 'mobile biological warfare labs'? And there's never been any real clincher on that? Turns out that British intelligence analysts think that's a bunch of hooey. They say the trailers were used for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, which is what the Iraqis have been saying all along. And they ought to know. It also turns out that the Iraqi army's original system was sold to it by a British company, Marconi Command & Control."

"Ace, you just don't get it," said my editor with exasperation. "Let me put it plain enough so that even you can understand it: if they don't find something, it ain't news."

"But Chief," I protested. "The Bush team sold the American public this war on the basis of huge Iraqi stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction! Bush warned there were going to be mushroom clouds over our cities! They claimed they knew what the Iraqis had and where they had it! We invaded them, killed several thousand Iraqis, spent billions of dollars, and are occupying their country, all based on those claims! Bush declared the war over on May 1, and we've still got soldiers dying every day! And it was all lies!"

"Ace," he said wearily, "when this administration lies, it's not news."

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