Saturday, July 19, 2003

maybe he's just misunderstood

I realize that leaders are supposed to project an aura of confidence. Maybe even show a little swagger. But sometimes leaders go too far in trying to keep up the show. Is this the case with President Bush in the post-9/11 era?

Today the White House released pre-war intelligence on Iraq, attempting to prove that Bush did not intentionally mislead the public about the reasons for war. The now-declassified portions of a 2002 CIA "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraqi weapons concluded that Iraq was trying to revive its nuclear weapons program.

1) "Trying to revive"? Granted, that would be a serious violation of international law, but this is definitely not the image we were given as we built up to war. We were told that Saddam already had nuclear weapons, ready to be used to blackmail the US or to be given to terrorists. "Intelligence reports" even suspected the existence of a "red line" around Baghdad, which once crossed by our troops, would initiate the release of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons by Saddam's forces.

2) Appended to the National Intelligence Estimate was a more cautious assessment of the validity of the uranium issue by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. "The claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in its assessment, highly dubious."

It is outraging that the Bush Administration pretended to be assured about Iraq's nuclear ambitions when the classified intelligence they had "incriminating" Iraq was admittedly suspect.

In other news, "Bush's overall job approval dropped 8 points since May to 55 percent, according to a CNN-Time poll released Friday."


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