Well, well. Seems as though one of our media whores got himself some spine. Whodathunkit? Dana Milbank stops short of using the word “liar”. But just barely. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety, but a few nuggets:
“President Bush, speaking to the nation this month about the need to challenge Saddam Hussein, warned that Iraq has a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used “for missions targeting the United States.” "
Last month, asked if there were new and conclusive evidence of Hussein’s nuclear weapons capabilities, Bush cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency saying the Iraqis were “six months away from developing a weapon.” And last week, the president said objections by a labor union to having customs officials wear radiation detectors has the potential to delay the policy “for a long period of time.” "
All three assertions were powerful arguments for the actions Bush sought. And all three statements were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States; there was no such report by the IAEA; and the customs dispute over the detectors was resolved long ago….”
“On Sept. 7, meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Camp David, Bush told reporters: "I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied, finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic – the IAEA – that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.
The IAEA did issue a report in 1998, around the time weapons inspectors were denied access to Iraq for the final time, but the report made no such assertion. It declared: “Based on all credible information to date, the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” The report said Iraq had been six to 24 months away from nuclear capability before the 1991 Gulf War.
The White House said that Bush “was imprecise on this” and that the source was U.S. intelligence, not the IAEA."
And “…Bush’s statement about the Iraqi nuclear defector, implying such information was current in 1998, was a reference to Khidhir Hamza. But Hamza, though he spoke publicly about his information in 1998, retired from Iraq’s nuclear program in 1991, fled to the Iraqi north in 1994 and left the country in 1995.”
And this from the redoubtable Mr. Krugman: “…Also in the last few days, The Wall Street Journal reported that “senior officials have referred repeatedly to intelligence . . . that remains largely unverified.” The C.I.A.'s former head of counterterrorism was blunter: “Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements.” USA Today reports that “pressure has been building on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a political agenda.”
“…Right now the administration is playing the war card, inventing facts as necessary, and trying to use the remnants of Mr. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 popularity to gain control of all three branches of government. But then what? There is, after all, no indication that Mr. Bush ever intends to move to the center….”
Now, as many of you already know, Mr. Bush has not lost any credibility with me, he had none to lose. I find myself wondering if he is parroting “facts” because he believes what his handlers tell him, or if he is deliberately misleading the people in pursuit of what he regards as a higher purpose.
As the air slowly leaks out of the War Blimp, and it settles flacidly to the ground, what next? Myself, as I’ve said before, I about half-expect an “incident”, “half-expect” only because of a lingering desire to believe that at least some of these men hold the public in higher esteem than themselves and their grasp on power.
It would seem not.