Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's time to come clean, Republicans

Republicans have been working overtime the past few days trying to dismiss the issue of WMDs. I don't blame them. They've toiled for the past two years to get people to forget that's why we supposedly went to war.

Freedom! Democracy! That's why we went, they seem to say. What are these dublyahemdees of which you speak?

Reid's recent move, however, has forced Republicans to face the WMD issue again and their best answer is that Joe Wilson's a liar. And, um, everybody was saying Saddam had weapons, so, you can't blame our president that it was all wrong. (Pay no attention to the 2030-some dead soldiers behind the bloody curtain.)

Max Boot did his part today, saying that Wilson was the "real liar" of Plamegate. (Follow the trail of breadcrumbs BusyBusyBusy left for you here to see why Max is full of it.)

Tony Snow was on O'Reilly last night and said this:
The problem (Democrats) have is the president didn't lie. The White House panicked and apologized for it. Jack Straw, the British foreign minister, held a commission looking into it. And there's evidence that Saddam Hussein spent a lot of time trying to get yellow cake uranium out of Africa, including Niger. As a matter of fact, the Senate Intelligence Committee report when it's talking about Ambassador Joe Wilson says A, his original report strengthened people's belief that Saddam had been trying. He didn't get it, but he was trying to get yellow cake out of Niger. And furthermore, reports that there were continued efforts to expand commercial ties, which was widely interpreted as give us uranium.
Well, here's Tony's--and the Republicans--problem: They're entirely full of crap and the American people have finally realized it.

Let's really look at this (Democrats, if you have any Republican friends, you may want to print this off and read it to them very slowly).

Does everyone remember when Joseph Wilson wrote that damning op-ed for the New York Times and said that Saddam had never sought yellowcake from Niger?

Well, do you?

You shouldn't. What Joseph Wilson wrote in his op-ed was that, the day after Bush said those famous 16 words, he had called a friend.
I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them.
Get that? Wilson wasn't saying that Saddam had never sought uranium, but that Bush's conclusions were wrong. (Update: The Italians, on the other hand...) In other words, Bush was scaring people needlessly by saying that Saddam was a threat when he wasn't. Bush didn't say that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, but our own CIA says that the British report is overblown and that they have exaggerated this threat and that it's unlikely he could get uranium from there anyway."

You see the difference? Republicans? What Bush did there was lie. No, he might not have made everything he said up, but he sure as hell didn't tell you everything he knew, either. This is called a "lie by omission." Bush wanted something (a war) and wasn't sure he could get it if he told the American people the whole story, so he kept some of the juicy bits to himself.

What does the Senate committee really say about Wilson's report? Does it say, as Tony Snow suggests, that Wilson's report "strengthened people's belief that Saddam had been trying"? No, but Tony Snow knows that most Fox viewers won't actually read the committee's report (though Nitpicker believes that this may be due to the overall level of literacy of the average "Fox Fan"). Here's the most important point of the Joe Wilson section of the report:
(The reports officer) said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting.
That's it? That the "Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium"? No Iraqi even asked for it outright?

Here's a little experiment. If you're not squeamish about getting audited or searched from eyeball to anus, call this number: (202) 483-4224. It's the Embassy of Niger in Washington, D.C. Ask the operator if he or she knows where you can get some "cake, if you know what I mean." Make sure you say that you "don't like chocolate" and you'd prefer the "yellow kind. About 500 tons of the yellow kind." Ask the operator if he or she "gets you."

Congratulations! Someone in the Nigerien Embassy know "believes" that you were seeking "significant quantities of uranium."

Now bend over. That knock at the door is the NSA.

The Republicans started the "16 words" bullshit (and we let them) when the point should have been whether or not Saddam was really a threat. That's where the Bushies "manipulated intelligence" and it's not the only case. Over two years ago, I wrote that Bush, Blair, Powell and Cheney had all twisted the tale of Hussein Kamal. There are many other instances and, if the Dems can get that the real point isn't "was this sentence right" but "were we told everything," then the "slap in the face" Bill "Polly Prissypants" Frist felt yesterday will be nothing compared to the long night in the woodshed his party's going to feel come next November.

Even more important is that our country might regain a modicum of the trust we've lost under this administration. It's come-to-Jesus (or Moses or Mohammed) time, Republicans. Come clean for your country, if not your party.

A note: Tonight I dropped by the house of a guy with whom I spent a year arguing politics in Afghanistan. A lifelong Republican, he said that, after all the recent bullshit, he was ready to start an organization for "recovering Republicans." You may want to pay attention.


Post a Comment

<< Home