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Monday, July 21, 2003

And the beat goes on...

This is an interesting development. The Bush administration, eager to prove that it didn't lie about the uranium claims, has declassified portions of a pre-war intelligence report. But the report explains in no uncertain terms that U.S. intelligence believed that Saddam Hussein would be a much greater danger if deposed than if he was left in office. It also shows that U.S. intelligence believed that Saddam Hussein would not attack the U.S. for fear of triggering war. So, let's review the bidding. The Prez shouldn't be blamed for what he said in his own speech because he carefully vetted everything with U.S. intelligence. But U.S. intelligence was telling him the exact opposite of what he wanted to hear.

Which leads me to this: the "The CIA Did It" claim falls apart with regard to the "Saddam can launch in 45 minutes" allegation. The White House just threw it into the speech without clearing it with the CIA. So, there are fewer options for the Bush administration to dodge the obvious questions. There will be no opportunity for George Tenet to "fall on his sword," nor can the blame be passed to the "bowels" of the intelligence organizations.

I've always thought that the "45 minutes" allegation was the real smoking gun here. It was the reason given for why we couldn't wait for inspectors to finish their work, as our European allies were asking, but it was immediately disproven by the front guard of our troops. And now it turns out that the White House is going to have to take responsibility for it.

And, in other news, Bush is livid over his administration's inability to pick one story and stick to it. Which makes sense: the administration's mealy-mouthed unwillingness to say "The Buck Stops Here" is finally getting some serious questioning from the press corps.

 12:07 PM

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