Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Robert Sheer's turn to take a whack at Chimpco:

On Sunday, Condoleezza Rice admitted that President Bush had used a forged document in his State of the Union speech to prove Iraq represented a nuclear threat: "We did not know at the time — maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency — but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course it was information that was mistaken."

United Nations inspectors, belatedly presented with the same document, realized within hours it was a crude forgery.

While this garbage and much else like it got rushed into the light, the Bush administration protected its continuing lie about a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein by repressing the results of interrogations of captured top Al Qaeda leaders.

As Monday's New York Times reported, Al Qaeda honchos in separate interrogations told a consistent story a year ago: The terrorist group, and Osama bin Laden in particular, had shunned any connection with Hussein and his government.

In going to war, the administration was unable to come up with a shred of verifiable evidence linking Hussein with Bin Laden. The closest it came was a purported meeting in Prague between an Al Qaeda member and an Iraqi diplomat, which has been fully repudiated by the Czech government.

Keeping secret any information that contradicted the pro-war line of the administration allowed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to fabricate what he called a "bulletproof" connection between Al Qaeda and Hussein. We were expected to believe that our government had hard, definitive intelligence we couldn't be shown — just as we were told to trust that U.N. inspectors wouldn't be able to find all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in time to avert disaster.