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Friday, July 25, 2003
 
Somerby Misses the Point

The incomparable Bob Sommerby

Omigod! They did it again! But then, how hard can it be for professional writers to use accurate terms to describe the Bush statement [British--Iraq--Niger--yellowcake]? Answer: Once a Perfect Storm starts to build, it can be very, very hard. For example, Joel Achenbach engages in conventional overstatement on page one of this morning’s “Style” section. Using a stronger term which really can’t be defended, Achenbach refers to “the president’s use of incorrect information about Iraq in his State of the Union address.” But this, of course, has been the norm; like many others, William Raspberry described Bush’s statement as a “falsehood,” although no one has shown that the statement was false.

The "disputed" Niger memo refers to a particular instance where Iraq supposedly attempted to obtain yellowcake. The documents are forgeries, so therefore, the instance didn't exist. As the Bush and Blair administrations have failed to produce a single piece of additional evidence that Iraq has obtained or attempted to obtain uranium from Africa, the statement beginning with "the British government has learned" is pure fiction. It's frickin' made up. A figment.

Another instance of Iraq attempting to get uranium may well have happened. But we had no idea. Bush said we knew he did. Until I see credible evidence to the contrary, that claim is a lie.

Instead of shuffling blame back and forth, the administration should just make the evidence public, "national security" be damned. The fact that it hasn't tells me there isn't any evidence.

The movers in this administration have had conquering Iraq on their minds since long before Day 1. They have pushed, pulled, twisted and bribed our way into this war, and a lot of their arguments, such as the the complete and utter fabrication of ties between the government of Iraq and al Qaeda, were bullshit. If Iraq wasn't a threat, we didn't need to spend $100 billion to get our boys shot and blown up in a remote desert. Everyone in the administration was shilling for this unnecessary war, using any club available to beat our need to invade Iraq into our heads. It should have been obvious, even to our press corps.

I'm a big fan of The Daily Howler, and think Bob Somerby is one of the finest and most productive writers on the web. He just missed the point on this one.