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Useless Speculation

OK, we all already know what the big story is today:

Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.

John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.

So - who does it hurt and who does it help (if anybody)?

It hurts Vladimir Putin, at least in the US. Then again, he's not exactly running for office here. Of course, France and Germany will be jealous that Putin was able to hide, if only for a year, just how deep his government was aiding Saddam. That's something Paris or Berlin never managed to do.

It hurts Putin, too, in Chechnya. Seeing him cooperate with the likes of Saddam, just to cover his ass, will make them wonder what they can get away with.

It hurts John Kerry. His Monday-Tuesday line of attack has just been taken away -- and by a story people will be talking about, instead of his campaign. It's hard to see an upside.

It hurts George W Bush, and don't think it doesn't. Bush told us he "looked into Putrin's soul" and found a man he could trust. Oops. However, Bush is helped also by anything which hurts Kerry, so he may end up treading water or better on this issue by the weekend.