'a matter of time'
We may have missed Saddam, but Bush believes it's just "a matter of time" until we get him. Just like it's "a matter of time" until we get bin Laden (in this case, 21 months and counting...).
Asked about the fact that the fates of both bin Laden and Saddam remain unknown, Bush said, "There's more than two principles at large. ... There are others around, too. And we're just on the hunt."
Bush said it could take days, months or years before the United States and its allies complete the search for terrorist leaders. "And we'll find them. It's only a matter of time," he said.
Notice, by the way, how even when asked bout those two individuals directly, Bush avoids referring to them by name.
There's also this little item indicating that Bush dragged his feet on authorizing Predator drone strikes on possible bin Laden locations until after the 9/11 attacks.
When President Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones had recently spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times and officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader. But the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks later that year, current and former U.S. officials say.
Top administration officials discussed the mission to kill bin Laden as late as one week before the suicide attacks on New York and Washington, but they had not yet resolved a debate over whether the CIA or Pentagon should operate the armed Predators and whether the missiles would be sufficiently lethal, officials told The Associated Press.
Bear this fact in mind when conservatives complain about Clinton's so-called "fecklessness."
Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld says it's just a "matter of time" until Iraq's weapons are found.
"I have reason, every reason, to believe that the intelligence that we were operating off was correct and that we will, in fact, find weapons or evidence of weapons, programs, that are conclusive. But that's just a matter of time," he told a Pentagon media briefing.
It's refereshing that the press keeps asking. But if "the intelligence that we were operating off was correct," we would have found them already. And as I've said, even discovering weapons shouldn't excuse this Administration from close scrutiny of its prewar rationales. If weapons are found, they'll be in a location we had no inkling about. If nothing else, how could our intelligence provide information about weapons where they demonstrably aren't and yet miss where they actually are?
Meanwhile, check out this whopper:
He said no one had contended that Iraq had nuclear weapons...
This is one of those literally true deceptions I've mentioned before. Of course no one said Iraq had a nuclear program, but Bush himself made numerous statements implying Iraq had a nuclear weapons program that would shortly result in a weapon. Take these from the 2003 State of the Union address:
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities.
...nor did he have to, as many Administration critics and members of Bush's own intelligence agencies noted that both the uranium and aluminum-tubes stories were utterly bogus.
With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.
There you go; Bush cites Iraq as a nuclear threat. Hypothetically perhaps, but the citation is there.
And then there's Bush's famous "Iraq is six months away from having a nuclear weapon" blunder.
So no, no one in the Administration claimed Iraq had a nuclear weapon. But they did everything they could -- including relying on the shoddiest of so-called "intelligence" -- to imply that Iraq posed some sort of nuclear threat. The inspections process alone made that theory laughable. As a nuclear program is almost impossible to hide, it's safe to say at this point that Iraq didn't have anything you couldn't download from the Web. Yet Bush and crew continued to invoke the "mushroom cloud" to create the necessary atmosphere of fear to garner support for their ill-justified war. Rumsfeld knows that, which is why he's indulging in his own "revisionist history" right now. Contemptible.
Update: Via Daily Kos, this gem:
And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.
-- Vice President Dick Cheney, Meet The Press, March 16.
There you have it.