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  xMonday, July 14, 2003

iraq deception update


Wow. The realization that Bush was deceptive in selling his coveted war with Iraq certainly seems to have taken hold. Sunday's Reuters story is headlined, "Bush Aides Seek to Put Out Credibility Firestorm."
Top aides to President Bush insisted on Sunday he did not hype Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction as they sought to put out a political firestorm ignited by a disputed statement he made in his case for war.

But questions about Bush's credibility persisted, threatening to further erode public support for the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and create more difficulty at home for U.S. ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The key element is that the Administration's multiple denials, deferrals and dodges simply don't add up. Particularly contemptible is the excuse that Bush's false indictment of Iraq for allegedly seeking uranium was "technically true," since Bush was just relaying what the British believed. This whole controversy erupted when the Administration admitted that the accusation should not have been in the speech because it was based on forgeries, and -- moreover -- the Administration knew it at the time. (And, I might add, the uranium claim is far from the only one that has proven not to hold water.)

The Washington Post relayed in a page-one story on Sunday the embarrassing revelation that Tenet personally intervened to have the uranium reference removed from a Presidential speech in October. The story raises the question that, if Tenet and the CIA clearly wanted the reference out, who exactly kept putting it in?

Supermarket shoppers all over America will see, right next to the checkout lines, Time's cover story questioning Bush's credibility.

Meanwhile, bloggers have been busy, of corse. Check out what CalPundit, Daily Kos, Eschaton, Pandagon, Talking Points Memo and The Left Coaster have to say...start there and scroll down, in each case; there's lots there. CalPundit, in particular, has an excellent essay on wht the uranium claim matters

Bush's problem is, now more and more people are starting to realize that it does, and all that that implies.

Update: Now this is getting simply surreal: Bush Defends Intelligence As 'Darn Good'
President Bush defended the quality of intelligence he receives as "darn good" despite an uproar over disputed reports that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa for nuclear weapons.

Bush said Monday he remained convinced that Saddam Hussein was attempting to develop a weapons program that threatened the world and justified the United States going to war against Iraq.

"Our country made the right decision," Bush said.

Bush spoke with reporters at the end of an Oval Office meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"When all is said and done the people of the United States will realize that Saddam Hussein had a weapons program," Bush said.

"I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence and the speeches I have given are backed by good intelligence," Bush said. However, the administration has acknowledged the uncertainty of remarks Bush made in his January State of the Union address about Iraq's alleged attempts to buy uranium in Africa.

Of course, anyone who relied on an unprecented doctrine of "preventative war" would need to always defend the quality of intel the White House receives -- the whole house of cards falls apart otherwise.

But these unsupported assertions -- flying more and more in the face of overwhelming reality -- are getting old fast. Notice how the confidence that we'll find the actual weapons Bush kept citing is gone, with a lame reference to "weapons programs" in its place. Could one ask for a more clear acknowledgement that the prewar assertions were bogus?

And is it just me, or is Bush's inarticulateness increasing? Maybe it's a desire to seem like his former "straight shooter" image, but CalPundit speculates that Bush simply isn't used to dealing with a non-complacent press.





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