Saturday, July 05, 2003

Bring back the skeptical press, indeed:
The Bush administration has been taking heavy flak for its as yet unproved claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. In fixing blame for the way the public appears to have been sold a bill of goods, don't overlook the part played by the media. Instead of closely questioning the administration's case, the nation's newspaper editorialists basically nodded in agreement.

A report from the CIA found that there is little evidence of a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda:
On another controversial Iraq intelligence issue, the preliminary report indicates that although al Qaeda and Hussein had a common enemy in the United States, and there were some ties among individuals in the two camps, "it was not at all clear there was any coordination or joint activities," said one individual inside the CIA who is familiar with the report.

"There were people talking to each other," in Iraq and other countries, the source said, "but that was how Saddam kept track of what was going on" in al Qaeda.

In promoting the war, Bush and his top aides said there were links between al Qaeda and Iraq. They cited contacts going back 10 years and a trip to Baghdad for medical attention by one terrorist leader who had ties to Osama bin Laden and whose associates remained in the Iraqi capital.

Also this:
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration pressed the CIA in the run-up to the war on Iraq to look for evidence of close cooperation between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, but the agency found no proof, according to an internal CIA intelligence review.

The review also reaffirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies had no credible reports that Saddam knew in advance about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Lost in the "Bring 'em on" story is this bit, which strikes me as an indication as to how hard it's going to be to get other countries to help us out in Iraq:
"Anybody who wants to help, we'll welcome the help," Bush said. "But we've got plenty tough force there right now to make sure the situation is secure." The president left open the possibility of increasing U.S. troop strength, however, saying "we'll put together a force structure who meets the threats on the ground."

But in the latest indication of the difficulty the administration is having in recruiting other countries to help in Iraq, Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal told editors and reporters at The Washington Post that his government wants a "better understanding" of U.S. plans for the Iraqi political system and improved security, and would prefer a larger United Nations role. He said it would be a "serious, serious departure" for Indian troops to serve under U.S. command. The Bush administration is hoping India will contribute a division of troops.

From Counterpunch comes this from a former special forces soldier who served in Vietnam:
This de facto president is finally seeing his poll numbers fall. Even chauvinist paranoia has a half-life, it seems. His legitimacy is being eroded as even the mainstream press has discovered now that the pretext for the war was a lie. It may have been control over the oil, after all. Anti-war forces are regrouping as an anti-occupation movement. Now, exercising his one true talent--blundering--George W. Bush has begun the improbable process of alienating the very troops upon whom he depends to carry out the neo-con ambition of restructuring the world by arms.