Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Best Benno quote ever:
     "I'm not a burrito, I'm a princess."
I don't get it either, but it's funny.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
In light of the fact that CBS is
claiming that Bush lied about the Nigerian uranium,
"Senior administration officials tell CBS News the President’s mistaken claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa was included in his State of the Union address -- despite objections from the CIA.

Before the speech was delivered, the portions dealing with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were checked with the CIA for accuracy, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.

CIA officials warned members of the President’s National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa."
and CNN has apparently also regurgitated this story after it was retracted,
"On Tuesday, we ran a story headlined "White House admits Bush wrong about Iraqi nukes." For the first time, Wilkinson said he was willing to go on the record and told a story about being present, as a CIA contract consultant, at two briefings with Bush. He said he was retired now and was fed up and wanted to go public.

He (Bush) said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said in our story. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country.
...
The bottom line is that someone has been running a con on me for 20 some years and I fell for it like a little old lady in a pigeon drop scheme. I've spent the last two hours going through the database of Capitol Hill Blue stories and removing any that were based on information from Wilkinson (or whoever he is). I've also removed his name, quotes and claims from Tuesday's story about the White House and the uranium claims.

Erasing the stories doesn't erase the fact that we ran articles containing information that, given the source, was probably inaccurate. And it doesn't erase the sad fact that my own arrogance allowed me to be conned."
I feel the need to link to some analysis of these claims.
"Take the Axis of Evil, for example. When Bush linked Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, the response from the left was "What? Those are totally unrelated evils. You obviously are an idiot." Even from many of us on the right, the response was, "Obviously this is the scoring of a rhetorical point rather than a literal axis, since Iran and Iraq hate each other, and North Korea is on the other side of the world."

But ever since then it's proven out that Bush was just telling us, as straight as he could, what the intelligence showed. North Korean missiles have been sold to Iran, aiding the development of Iran's own weapons program, including the missile that can hit Israel. The DPRK and Iran have openly coordinated their nuclear programs. The Iran/Iraq frontier appears to have been far more porous that most of us believed, with groups like Ansar al-Islam operating on both sides and giving aid to al Qaeda. The smuggling of Iraqi oil out through Iran appears to have opened secret, but real, ties between those governments. We've recently uncovered a huge cache of documents belonging to the Mukhabarat, Iraqi intelligence, and I expect them to demonstrate far more serious and numerous ties than have heretofore emerged.

So, this claim that Bush lied about Iraq has to be put into a fence. Based on what is now open source, we can say that Bush's claims about Iraq have all borne out except the WMD claims. Those claims were beliefs shared by the United Nations, which had 18 Security Council resolutions on the subject and which wasted years and fortunes begging Hussein to let them inspect. The nations on the Security Council have some of the best intelligence services in the world, so we have to assume that the evidence on WMD was pretty emphatic. All intelligence is speculative, but the degree of unity of opinion here is remarkable.

So if it wasn't WMD as a whole that Bush lied about, then we have to limit ourselves to nuclear weapons. But here again, Bush's claims were only that he believed Hussein was preparing to reconstitute his nuclear program, not that there was a reconstituted nuclear program. That is the kind of thing intelligence can simply be wrong about. So we must draw the fence tighter and tighter to find an area in which we can clearly say that Bush lied.

And at last, I can't find one. The area that the left has focused upon is the Niger uranium. But Bush's claim in the State of the Union address was that the British had warned him of the purchase. While the CIA's document has been demonstrated to be a forgery, the British sources--we still don't know exactly what they were--are still supported by their government. Tony Blair, while playing down WMD generally, spoke to the Niger issue yesterday."
Now I don't know what the source of all these claims is but it seems exceedingly possible that some faces will be quite red over this.
[Update: CBS has since gone back and changed some of the more inflamatory bits of the story including the "Bush Lied" headline. Never fear, screenshots were taken.]

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
Shudder.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
Well we've got our airline and hotel reservations. I ordered my dress. We know where the ceremony will be. I can't believe it's less than 6 weeks away.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
Turns out that one of the "Bush Lied!" stories was, in fact, a
lie. Does that mean that he didn't lie? Of course not. Does it tell you something about the reaction people have when they're told what they want to believe? Clearly.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
Oooh
funny.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
. . .
Oish! Chirac is a bona fide
asshole.
"French President Jacques Chirac allegedly guaranteed that Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic would not be transferred to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in exchange for the release of two French hostages in 1995, according to evidence presented at Slobodan Milosevic's trial Wednesday."
(This particular allegation is not yet proved but as USS Clueless says:)
"But even if it's false, it does Chirac no credit. The alternative explanation is that Lilic fabricated the offer by Chirac, but that in turn would mean that Lilic thought that such a fabrication would ring true to those he was lying to. In other words, either this evidence indicates that Chirac was willing to make this deal, or it indicates that he had a reputation in Yugoslavia such that it was plausible that he might make such a deal."
Disgusting but in keeping with everything else we know of the man. The only reason he's not in jail is because he's the president and successfully claimed immunity. He rebuked potential members of the EU for daring to express agreement with the US over Iraq and hinted that they might have difficulty getting admitted as a result. And of course there's the fact that he was in bed with Saddam.

posted by Rachel 7/10/2003
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