Friday, July 18, 2003

Lagniappe - The latest Bush Administration efforts to squelch the criticism of the case for war simply doesn't fly. It is clear that no matter how the White House tries to spin this issue, the fact is that the Administration was looking for a way to circumvent the dampening effects that intelligence uncertainty would have had on the rush to war. The Administration clearly knew what the intelligence was, but tried to find a "technically unassailable" but nonetheless misleading way to sell the war to the American public by creating fear that Iraq was inches from a nuclear capability and was looking for the "yellowcake" to realize their nuclear ambitions. Those who defend Bush by saying that his claim in the SOTU was "technically" true are no different than those who defended Clinton's claim as "technically" true that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky." But even aside from this bogus defense of a misleading presentation, one can only conclude that Bush and his upper level Administration officials were duped by bad intelligence (in which case the incompetency of the Administration is all the more evident) or that Bush knew that the intelligence was uncertain but didn't care (in which case the sleazy authoritarian nature of this administration is apparent). In both cases, Bush comes out smelling like a rotten egg. This thing right now reminds me of Ronald Reagan's pathetic efforts to try to clear the air about his knowledge (or lack of such) regarding the Iran/Contra scandal. It was a sad, pathetic image of the President then, as is this effort at damage control by an equally pathetic President now. Funny that Bush had to call in the foreign troops (Blair) to try to convince the American public that he's an upfront guy. What a new low in patronizing condescension ... getting a Brit to scold us Americans and to tell us how to think about an American President who essentially and purposefully misled us.

One final note: I don't think the intelligence we had was flawed. I actually think it was quite accurate in its questioning of the "uranium purchase in Africa claim." What our executive leadership did with this intelligence is what was "flawed" about the whole thing. We had good intelligence ... good enough to question the claims as dubious. Why wouldn't the President listen to this intelligence? Why did he choose to manipulate the intelligence he had in such a dishonest and misleading way? Conservative bloggers and pundits have nothing to say about this because there is no defense that can be made for it without making them look silly.

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