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Sunday, July 13, 2003

If at first you don't succeed...
Sort of like an underage drinker with a fake ID, Bush kept running the bogus uranium story past the CIA until they finally signed off on it. According to the Washington Post, the CIA successfully had the uranium lies removed from an earlier Bush speech.

And while it is encouraging to see the Post sticking with this even after Bush said the matter was closed, they still insist on muddling it up:

Another senior official with knowledge of the intelligence said the CIA had doubts about the accuracy of the documents underlying the allegation, which months later turned out to be forged. Wrong. The documents were forged at the time, and the CIA probably suspected as much. Months later, but still before the war, it was public knowledge that the documents were forged. But they were forged all along.

A senior administration official said Bush's chief speechwriter, Michael J. Gerson, does not remember who wrote the line that has wound up causing the White House so much grief. Cause the White House grief? What about those thousands of dead Iraqis? The families of the over 200 US dead, and the 1000+ solidiers who were wounded? It's about time the White House got some grief--the more, the better.

And then there's Condaliar Rice: "It is ludicrous to suggest that the president of the United States went to war on the question of whether Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Africa," Rice said on "Fox News Sunday."

Where do they get these lines? This is like the old question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" How do you answer Rice's assertion? "No, it is not ludicrous to suggest...?"

I think this is the approach:
  1. The Bushies claim(ed) that pre-emptive wars may be necessary to prevent attacks on America, using 9/11 as justification. (Lots to argue with here, but let's humor them for a moment.)
  2. They claimed that Iraq was violating various UN resolutions and continued to possess or develop so-called weapons of mass destruction. This definition included extremely dangerous nuclear weapons, as well as chemical and biological weapons, which while nasty are not significantly more dangerous than many so-called conventional weapons. Chem and bio weapons are also bulky and hazardous to transport, and Iraq did not have any way to get large quantities of these into America. If they had been intent on a chem or bio attack on the US, they would have had a much better chance of creating the weapons here (or just blowing up any one of thousands of industrial or military facilities around the US).
  3. If Bush had based his argument for war strictly on the threat of chemical and biological weapons, these arguments would have gotten the attention they deserved and the case for war would have been repudiated.
  4. Therefore, Bush had to claim that Iraq might have nuclear weapons, or would soon (his "mushroom cloud" reference in Cincinnati).
  5. There was precious little evidence, even bad evidence, to suggest that Iraq had nuclear weapons or was likely to any time soon. In fact, all of the best evidence indicated the opposite. But Bush wanted his war, so he played up the lies, passed them on to the British, convinced them on one lie, and then quoted them on it.

So what is ludicrous to suggest is that Bush could have made even the weak case he did make for war without lying about uranium from Africa and aluminum tubes. We also can't let the quibbling about who's to blame for the sixteen words obscure the fact that