Frank Rich asks: "If it was a huge risk to split our focus between Saddam and Al Qaeda then, why isn't it now? "
Good question. I also find it interesting that the choice made by the Bush administration on this subject is that pursuing Al Qaeda is mostly a legal matter, consisting of keeping pressure on foreign banks to reveal the total activity of money even remotely related to any Al Qaeda operative. But the war against Iraq (and it is a war) seems totally focused on Bush being willing to flounce the law and go it alone rather than establish a standard law enforcement plan through the United Nations and then sticking to it. Bush has decided not to release any of the secret information that he is using to 'prove' that Iraq has WMD until after the UN Weapons Inspectors have gone through and pulled out the items that would give other countries ideas on how to start their own programs. Don't these two things have enough in common that it should raise red flags? Seems to me that Bush will throw out onto the poker table exactly that proof that the Inspectors have taken out of Iraq's report, canceling out their judgment call on what to release, and then Bush will probably be chomping at the bit to hit Iraq with our military might based on what his security people have made up from nothing in the first place.
If Iraq wanted to really foil the US, they would post their 13,000 page report on the Internet so everyone on the planet can see it. No more questions, no more confusion, and if the US wants to throw something on the table, they would have to post what they have as well.