By now, all Americans know of George W. Bush's admission that the claims he made about Iraq trying to get uranium for nuclear weapons were untrue. Everyone also knows Bush's excuse: Bush says that it's all the CIA's fault, for not telling him that the so-called "evidence" behind his claim was bunk. In order to prove his point, Bush ordered George Tenet to accept all the blame through a public statement in front of a Congressional committee. In response to Tenet's mea culpa, Bush made himself look generous by declining to fire Tenet.
George W. Bush comes off as a much less generous man with the latest news: It was never George Tenet's fault in the first place. George W. Bush never fired Tenet because Tenet didn't do anything wrong. Under Tenet's direction, the CIA sent two memos to the White House three months before Bush's infamously incorrect State of the Union Address. These memos, sent on October 5 and 6, 2002, warned Bush that the claims Bush wanted to make about Iraq and uranium from Niger were based on highly questionable documentation. Tenet also made a separate to a White House aide, urging that Bush withdraw his claims.
You can read all about these latest lies from the Bush Administration in an article from the Washington Post.
So, now that the truth is out, George W. Bush is no longer blaming George Tenet for his lies. He's found a new scapegoat to pass the buck to: Deputy National Security adviser Stephen Hadley. Stephen Hadley got the information from the memos about the evidence for war being unreliable, Bush says, but he just forgot to tell the President about it.
Like George Tenet before, Stephen Hadley is falling on his sword. Following orders from his superiors, Hadley says it's all his fault, and Bush is absolutely not to blame one itty bitty little bit. I think I've heard that one before.
Let's track the lies of George W. Bush so far.
Bush claims that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger to use in making nuclear bombs: Lie number one.
Bush claims that George Tenet and the CIA never warned him that the "evidence" of the Iraq and the uranium in Niger was faulty: Lie number two.
How about that -- Bush lied in order to cover up his lie. But wait, there's more!
In order to help cover up for the lie about the CIA, Bush aides lied even more about the CIA. For instance, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice insisted that no one ever warned the White House about forged "intelligence" from the United Kingdom, but it turns out that she herself was warned.
When word about the CIA memos of October 5 and 6 began to leak, White House aides told reporters that the CIA had only made technical critiques of Bush's case for an Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Oops, they did it again! It turns out that the CIA had offered several critiques on the substantive reliability of the claim.
Then there's the Bush Administration's old claim that it's got lots of intelligence that proves everything that it says, only it cannot ever reveal what that intelligence is, because doing so would endanger the foreign intelligence operatives who gained the information.
If such claims are true, how come the Bush administration releases its classified intelligence reports whenever it needs to do so for its partisan political purposes? Last week, the Bush Administration eagerly released a report that it had previously had said that it could not release because of the safety of informers in foreign countries. Well, if the safety of those foreign informers was threatened last fall, why isn't there the same problem now? Either that safety issue was an excuse to begin with, or the Bush Administration has decided that their political needs are more important than the lives of American agents. In either case, the earlier protests about the need to withhold information from the American people are exposed as lies.
Then there's the matter of the source of the forged evidence about Iraq and the uranium from Niger. George W. Bush's spokespeople have been insisting that they couldn't show anyone the evidence behind their claims because doing so would endanger a secret foreign informant. Now, it turns out that this claim is also false. The supposed secret informer in danger was no one other than an Italian reporter who openly admits to being the source of the information, which turned out to be a forgery anyway.
The not so delicious irony of the situation is that the only way George W. Bush can avoid taking responsibility for his own widespread use of untruths to justify an unprovoked war against Iraq is to claim that he just didn't know any better. The following are the alternative truths that Bush has to choose from:
The difficulty for the Bush Administration is that all of the available explanations lead to the inevitable conclusion that Bush's case for war was woefully inadequate. In the most serious of decisions that a President must make, the leadership of George W. Bush was not up to the task.
In the days of old, American presidents said things like "The Buck stops here." The took responsibility for what happened under their watch. Not so with George W. Bush. Bush's latest strategy is to keep on passing the buck around from scapegoat to scapegoat in the hopes that people will tire of his ever-changing excuses and just forget about it.
The Republicans are even starting to blame Bill Clinton. I'm not kidding, I swear! Last Sunday, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert actually argued that former president Bill Clinton was to blame for George W. Bush's lies.
Oh come on! Who are they going to blame next? Jimmy Carter?!?
Will the American people let this strategy of truth fatigue work? Will you?
There's an election going on in 2004. Here's hoping America chooses truth over Bush's comforting lies.
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