2003 July 25 Friday
Why Are Bush's 16 Words In SOTU Speech On Iraqi Uranium A Scandal?

I really do not understand the on-going flap about Bush's State Of The Union Address and the mention of Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium in some African nation. The Italian documents were, in all likelihood, forgeries. But Bush's statement was not based on the documents from Italy about Niger:

Though the British have not backed off that claim (a British official told NEWSWEEK that it came from an East African nation, not Niger), CIA Director Tenet publicly took responsibility for allowing a thinly sourced report by another country to appear in the State of the Union. (The White House last week denied that the Niger reference had ever shown up in an SOTU draft.) What Bush said in his address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Democrats looking to score partisan points along with those on the Right who actually opposed the war have motive to attack Bush on claims made based on the Niger documents. But since Bush's SOTU statement referenced a British intelligence source why the huge flap with the constant mention of Niger and the SOTU 16 words when the Brits say their info is not about Niger? Is there something here I'm missing? It seems simple enough. (really, can anyone explain this?)

Update: One lesson that the Bush White House has learned the hard way from the continuing flap about possible Iraqi attempts to get uranium is that it is unwise to try to blame the CIA.

What is unusual about this episode is that the combatants are officials at the White House and the CIA -- and that the White House has tried without success to resolve the controversy. The biggest lesson learned so far, said one administration official, is that "you don't pick a bureaucratic fight with the CIA." To which a White House official replied, "That wasn't our intention, but that certainly has been the perception."

That article has some pretty good insights into the battle within the Bush Administration over the pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Condoleezza Rice's reputation has suffered from this flap.

Still, these former officials said they would expect a national security adviser to give top priority to major presidential foreign policy speeches and an NIE about an enemy on the eve of a war. "It's implausible that the national security adviser would be too busy to pay attention to something that's going to come out of the president's mouth," said one. Another official called it highly unlikely that Rice did not read a memo addressed to her from the CIA. "I don't buy the bit that she didn't see it," said this person, who is generally sympathetic to Rice.

But there is still something basic here that is not clear: Is the CIA saying only that they have no credible evidence that the Iraqis tried to buy uranium from Africa? Or is the CIA also saying that the basis for British MI6 claims in this regard are based on weak evidence as well?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 July 25 12:32 PM  US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control


Comments
Ray Clutts said at July 25, 2003 4:48 PM:

Sure. This is an entirely partisan attack on Bush's credibility by the Democrats who are trying to exploit the only weak point that they can find. Their own distorted sense of what "plays in Peoria" tells them that this is Bush's weakness.

It may be a mistake to have relied on such a thinly documented source but it's entirely consistent with all other indications and as such will not offer an analogous jump off for another Tonkin Bay Resolution challenge to the administration's decision to go to war.

You're confused because their weak analysis is too thin to justify their own suppositions. So far as the Republican electoral campaign is concerned their motto should be, "Never kill a man who is already committing suicide."

AMac said at July 26, 2003 2:36 PM:

Most of the mainstream of my party's leadership speaks and acts as though hating and despising Bush is the most important thing.

Does this spring from deeply-held belief or political calculation? Probably both.

It's worth remembering that Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton, among others, got this reaction from their political adversaries. Sometimes justifiably, sometimes not.

Bush is following a neo-con strategic plan in deciding US actions in the Middle East. The far-left and center (left) of the Democratic party disagree vehemently with this strategy for many reasons. Some of the reasons are inconsistent with others, but the anti-Bush coalition largely seems to hold:
--Distrust of Bush, and his and his associates' motives.
--Belief that Bush is stupid and incompetent.
--Belief in a politically-correct cultural relativism.
--Belief in American inferiority to the cultural and diplomatic elites of Europe.
--Sympathy for the poor of the Third World, and belief that Anti-American pronouncements are genuine expressions of consensus Third World opinion that are justifed by the history of worldwide American oppression.
--Fear of worldwide reaction to arrogant and unilateral American actions.
--The desire to avoid American casualties ("quagmire").
--Faith that "terrorism" is best solved with criminal-justice tactics--strengthening international police cooperation, and bringing the perpetrators to trial.
--The absence of an obligation to propose an alternative to Bush's "Confront Islamism" strategy.

What does all this have to do with the SOTU 16 words? On the surface, nothing.

However, the Left highlighted their "genuine" reasons for opposing Bush in the fall and winter. They failed to convince many voters (Republican wins in November '02), or sway public opinion (support for Bush and the case for war throughout the runup and invasion). There must be a sense that it would be better to find and focus on something specific, something that would support a vibrant tag-line such as "Bush Lied!" (Nixon was similarly brought down by a burglery that had little to do with his serious abuses of power.)

Events have now proved that Bush, characteristically for him, lied. He built his entire case for invasion by relying on documents he knew to be forgeries, in falsely accusing Saddam Hussein of trying to maintain his nuclear weapons program.

Whether that last paragraph is true hardly matters, if a sufficient number of politicians, cultural figures, reporters, editors, op-ed writers, cartoonists, talk-show hosts, letter-writers, and others believe it, and say it with conviction, and stay on-message. Judging from the last week's run of the Baltimore Sun, and political and news shows heard on the Baltimore NPR affiliate, this strategy is proving to be quite effective.

Mikael Rudolph said at July 26, 2005 12:49 PM:

"Irrefutable evidence of WMDs", impending mushroom clouds, aluminum tubes, mobile intercontinental missile launchers, advanced chemical and nuclear weapons plants, Al Qaeda/Saddaam, Al Qaeda/Saddam, Al Qaeda/Saddam and of course:

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This spoken by President Bush in his state of the union speech to the nation and to the world in direct conflict with the following facts which he already knew to be true, but he was consciously conspiring to mislead the nation by "fixing the facts around the policy" decision to invade Iraq:

Ten months earlier the report that Vice President Dick Cheney had requested of the CIA - which sent Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to go get - clearly found that there was absolutely no basis for any fears of such a transaction having taken place.

And news in my home state this week that the 24th Minnesota serviceman, a 32 year-old Marine Sgt. from Moorhead, was killed in Iraq while out on patrol by a roadside bomb.

90% of our military engaged abroad is in Iraq while 9/11 architect Osama bin Laden (he of the Bush family friends - the bin Ladens of Saudi Arabia) is still is at large.

www.votetoimpeach.org
September 24th, 2005
White House

Mikael Rudolph said at July 26, 2005 12:49 PM:

"Irrefutable evidence of WMDs", impending mushroom clouds, aluminum tubes, mobile intercontinental missile launchers, advanced chemical and nuclear weapons plants, Al Qaeda/Saddaam, Al Qaeda/Saddam, Al Qaeda/Saddam and of course:

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This spoken by President Bush in his state of the union speech to the nation and to the world in direct conflict with the following facts which he already knew to be true, but he was consciously conspiring to mislead the nation by "fixing the facts around the policy" decision to invade Iraq:

Ten months earlier the report that Vice President Dick Cheney had requested of the CIA - which sent Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to go get - clearly found that there was absolutely no basis for any fears of such a transaction having taken place.

And news in my home state this week that the 24th Minnesota serviceman, a 32 year-old Marine Sgt. from Moorhead, was killed in Iraq while out on patrol by a roadside bomb.

90% of our military engaged abroad is in Iraq while 9/11 architect Osama bin Laden (he of the Bush family friends - the bin Ladens of Saudi Arabia) is still is at large.

www.votetoimpeach.org
September 24th, 2005
White House

Republikitten said at August 7, 2005 11:56 AM:

Re:

>Belief that Bush is stupid and incompetent.

The Democrats are just ridiculously vicious about their losses (Gore, Kerry, and then the mid-terms), so that's all they have, the "stupid" comments.

I spent a year working under a Donkey-loving liberal who, when she found out that I was a Republican, then resorted to using the term "stupid" all the time to criticize my work. Meanwhile, I had positive emails from the HR department stating that I was doing a "great job." Her lies and slander continued even after I left the company, and the only thing that stopped my from initiating the action of having my father's business attorneys get involved to shut her up is the fact that I found out (to my glee), that upper management also was Republican. Why fight with political cousins, right?

But yes, the Dems are vicious out there in the public arena, and they're also abusing their power at work over any known Republicans they are put in charge of supervising to slander and defame the Republicans. I mean, that is how desperate they are.

In my state, Illinois, it is IMPERATIVE that we get as many of these corruptocrats OUT of office. Too bad you have to be fair and let them keep their jobs, but it would also be nice if you could get them out of THE office, even if just for a week of peace and quiet!

Cheers


MIkaelq said at November 19, 2006 10:50 PM:

Republikitten...

So how is your Republitron party doing now? Losing elections, protecting pedophiles, watching fundraisers go to prison, watching the worst president ever go down the tubes to a 31% approval rating.

Ever think maybe FAUXNews is lying to you, sweetheart?


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