Saturday, June 14, 2003

this article sums up PERFECTLY why I'd vote against Bush

Fall Guy?

At particular issue is an allegation that the Iraqis were trying to import uranium from Africa. When this piece of intelligence first surfaced, CIA director George Tenet dispatched a trusted former top official to Niger to investigate. He reported that the documents alleging the sale were forged. It wasn’t even hard to spot. The Niger government officials cited were no longer in office. Yet months later this phony evidence showed up in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address as part of the administration’s case for war.

What comes next is straight out of a Tom Clancy novel. In a front-page report in Thursday’s Washington Post headlined CIA DID NOT SHARE DOUBT ON IRAQ DATA, the White House asserts that the CIA did not pass along the information about the forged Niger documents, and therefore Bush was unaware they had been falsified. If true, that means that George Tenet, head of the CIA, knowingly placed a verifiably false piece of information in the president’s hands that Bush used as a key element in the road to war when he spoke to Congress and the country. If Bush truly believes his CIA director set him up like that, he should fire Tenet.

Phoning around Capitol Hill for reaction to the Post story, I found a high degree of skepticism about the White House version of events. The SOTU is the most vetted speech a president gives. It’s not credible to believe Bush and all the bigwigs around him were duped. A more likely explanation is that the administration needed to bolster the nuclear leg of its case. The hard-liners running foreign policy didn’t have enough to claim Iraq was an imminent threat with chemical and biological weapons. Most experts don’t regard them as real WMD; they’re terror weapons, and absent a convincing connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, which the administration couldn’t make, they did not pose an imminent threat to the United States.

If this whole scandal about how Bush may have skewed intelligence evidence to his favoring turns out to be true, this incident should go down is history beside Watergate--only this time it will not hurt the US government's domestic credibility, but its international credibility.


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