Skip to comments.Scandal!
Posted on 07/11/2003 9:07:08 AM PDT by WarrenC
July 11, 2003, 11:00 a.m. Scandal! Bushs enemies aren't telling the truth about what he said.
The president's critics are lying. Mr. Bush never claimed that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from Niger. It is not true as USA Today reported on page one Friday morning that "tainted evidence made it into the President's State of the Union address." For the record, here's what President Bush actually said in his SOTU: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Precisely which part of that statement isn't true? The British government did say that it believed Saddam had sought African uranium. Is it possible that the British government was mistaken? Sure. Is it possible that Her Majesty's government came by that belief based on an erroneous American intelligence report about a transaction between Iraq and Niger? Yes but British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of his Cabinet say that's not what happened.
They say, according to Britain's liberal Guardian newspaper, that their claim was based on "extra material, separate and independent from that of the US."
I suppose you can make the case that a British-government claim should not have made its way into the president's SOTU without further verification. But why is that the top of the TV news day after day? Why would even the most dyspeptic Bush-basher see in those 16 accurate words of President's Bush's 5,492-word SOTU an opportunity to persuade Americans that there's a scandal in the White House, another Watergate, grounds for impeachment?
Surely, everyone does know by now that Saddam Hussein did have a nuclear-weapons-development program. That program was set back twice: Once by Israeli bombers in 1981, and then a decade later, at the end of the Gulf War when we learned that Saddam's nuclear program was much further along than our intelligence analysts had believed.
As President Bush also said in the SOTU:
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.
Since Saddam never demonstrated to the U.S., the U.N., or even to Jacques Chirac that he had abandoned his nuclear ambitions, one has to conclude that he was still in the market for nuclear materials. And, indeed, many intelligence analysts long believed that he was trying to acquire such material from wherever he could not just from Niger but also from Gabon, Namibia, Russia, Serbia, and other sources.
Maybe there was no reliable evidence to support the particular intelligence report saying that Saddam had acquired yellowcake (lightly processed uranium ore) from Niger. But the British claim was only that Saddam had sought yellowcake not that he succeeded in getting a five-pound box Fedexed to his palace on the Tigris.
And is there even one member of the U.S. Congress who would say that it was on the basis of this claim alone that he voted to authorize the president to use military force against Saddam? Is there one such individual anywhere in America?
A big part of the reason this has grown into such a brouhaha is that Joseph C. Wilson IV wrote an op-ed about it in last Sunday's New York Times in which he said: "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."
Actually, Wilson has plenty of choices but no basis for his slanderous allegation. A little background: Mr. Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA to verify a U.S. intelligence report about the sale of yellowcake because Vice President Dick Cheney requested it, because Cheney had doubts about the validity of the intelligence report.
Wilson says he spent eight days in Niger "drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people" hardly what a competent spy, detective, or even reporter would call an in-depth investigation. Nevertheless, let's give Wilson the benefit of the doubt and stipulate that he was correct when he reported back to the CIA that he believed it was "highly doubtful that any such transaction ever took place. "
But, again, because it was "doubtful" that Saddam actually acquired yellowcake from Niger, it does not follow that he never sought it there or elsewhere in Africa, which is all the president suggested based on what the British said and still say.
And how does Wilson leap from there to the conclusion that Vice President Cheney and his boss "twisted" intelligence to "exaggerate the Iraqi threat"? Wilson hasn't the foggiest idea what other intelligence the president and vice president had access to.
It also would have been useful for the New York Times and others seeking Wilson's words of wisdom to have provided a little background on him. For example:
He was an outspoken opponent of U.S. military intervention in Iraq.
He's an "adjunct scholar" at the Middle East Institute which advocates for Saudi interests. The March 1, 2002 issue of the Saudi government-weekly Ain-Al Yaqeen lists the MEI as an "Islamic research institutes supported by the Kingdom."
He's a vehement opponent of the Bush administration which, he wrote in the March 3, 2003 edition of the left-wing Nation magazine, has "imperial ambitions." Under President Bush, he added, the world worries that "America has entered one of it periods of historical madness."
He also wrote that "neoconservatives" have "a stranglehold on the foreign policy of the Republican Party." He said that "the new imperialists will not rest until governments that ape our world view are implanted throughout the region, a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking, smacking of hubris in the extreme."
He was recently the keynote speaker for the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, a far-left group that opposed not only the U.S. military intervention in Iraq but also the sanctions and even the no-fly zones that protected hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds and Shias from being slaughtered by Saddam.
And consider this: Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wilson did believe that Saddam had biological weapons of mass destruction. But he raised that possibility only to argue against toppling Saddam, warning ABC's Dave Marash that if American troops were sent into Iraq, Saddam might "use a biological weapon in a battle that we might have. For example, if we're taking Baghdad or we're trying to take, in ground-to-ground, hand-to-hand combat." He added that Saddam also might attempt to take revenge by unleashing "some sort of a biological assault on an American city, not unlike the anthrax, attacks that we had last year."
In other words, Wilson is no disinterested career diplomat he's a pro-Saudi, leftist partisan with an ax to grind. And too many in the media are helping him and allies grind it.
Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.
You are spot on!(IMHO)The Hildebeast and the real liar have come to the conclusion that they cannot wait until 2008. Deep down they cannot take the chance that by then the economy and the stock market will have come roaring back.The people will give Bush and the Republicans credit(like they have given clinton)and will vote a third term for the pubs. Remember the dims would have been given a third term if clinton was'nt the elephant in the room! This is just the opening salvo of many more to come!IMHO) This will fail. President Bush when the time is right, will stave off the onslaught. The dims under the power hungry control of the clintons, will suffer the worst political defeat in their history. In the meantime we must stay vigilant and continue to expose the lies of the left. Great work like you, William McKinley, ragtime cowgirl and other outstanding posters will not go unrewarded.
The key is that the dims have most always gotten their agenda through the SCOTUS. If President Bush wins in 2004 he will have 4 yrs to seat strict constructionists, a fact that the dims abhor, and will do anything to prevent. This is why I believe the hildebeast has always planned to run in 2004!!
She even quoted Welch's "Have you no shame" statement to Dick Armey, who through his outrage calmly handed her head to her on a platter!!
What 'peril' are you talking about?
I agree with your analysis, except for that phrase. Rice said yesterday that the CIA made minor changes (deleting references to Niger and the amount of uranium), but did not advise the deletion of the statement. That's hardly "on the fence."
And speaking of the CIA, can someone explain why they chose someone with Wilson's background, Saudi connections and blatant political bias to investigate the Niger claim? They might as well have sent Terry McAuliffe.
What bothers me most about this story is no one is questioning the bad judgment -- and obvious lack of independent intelligence -- by the CIA, and why Tenent didn't jump out in front, like the head of the Australian intelligence did to protect Howard? What is Tenent's game?
I have come to the conclusion that is exactly what Bush is doing.
A. Greg Thielmann '72 After earning his bachelor's degree in political science, with honors, A. Greg Thielmann went on to work for then-Congressman John Culver. He studied international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, then entered the United States Foreign Service where he has compiled a distinguished service record during a career of 25 years. Although he has filled a variety of assignments, he has been most deeply involved in arms control and security issues. He is currently acting director of the Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs Office in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department.
Congressman John Culver was a DEMOCRAT.
Mr. Thielmann retired from his job back in Sept of last year.......and only now is coming forward with his objections to our intell..
Seems another connection to the DEMOCRATS..
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