Bob's Links and Rants

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

They only hear what they want to hear, and disregard the rest...
Consider the now-disproved claims by President Bush and Colin Powell that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger so it could build nuclear weapons. As Seymour Hersh noted in The New Yorker, the claims were based on documents that had been forged so amateurishly that they should never have been taken seriously.

I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.

The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade. In addition, the Niger mining program was structured so that the uranium diversion had been impossible. The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway.

"It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year," one insider said.
-- Nicholas Kristof in today's NY Times.

So much for the last tiny remaining shreds of Colin Powell's credibility. No matter his humble Jamaican-American origins, no matter that he is very articulate and sounds eminently reasonable: Powell is an American imperialist and has been since Vietnam. He was willingly used by Bush (Rove and Baker, to be more accurate) to help sway public opinion during the Florida election controversy, being paraded as the next Secretary of State to calm very-justified public fears of Bush's ignorance of foreign policy. He has been about as much of a moderating influence on Bush's policies as Kissinger was on Nixon's. At this point, I think the supposed rift between Powell and Rumsfeld is just more deception to maintain Powell's supposed "dove" image--I think Colin and Rummy have been on the same page since day one.

(Okay, I've used the Simon & Garfunkel line before, but it still works! Besides, it appears that repetition is an effective political tactic. That is to say, repetition is an effective political tactic. Kucinich for President! Kucinich for President!)