by Chris Bowers, Sun Jul 11, 2004 at 07:23:09 PM EDT
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Now, here is an AP article on the recent Senate report that supposedly justifies Bush's statement:
French and British intelligence separately told the United States about possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in the African nation of Niger, the report said. In the 2003 SOTU, Bush told the country that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. However, the report that has supposedly exonerated him only mentions "possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium." Not only did he exaggerate the certainty of the event, he always threw in "significant quantities" as pure speculation. Intentional exaggeration coupled with pure speculation sounds like a lie to me. There is no way to deduce a truth-value of "true" for Bush's statement from the Senate Intelligence report.
The other main claim is that the administration outed Plame not as a means of punishing Wilson, but instead in order to respond to questions about how Wilson got the job investigating the Niger claims in the first place. However, in the same article that Glenn Reynolds links as the best roundup of the collapse of Joe Wilson's credibility there is the following paragraph:My reading of 50 U.S.C. sec. 421 suggests that even if Administration officials identified and leaked Plame's name as a way of responding to queries about how Wilson--who admits that he did little in Niger except "drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people"--a crime may still have been committed. So, even those trying to tear down the argument admit that the administration is probably still guilty of criminal activity in outing Plame. I am not a lawyer, but I'll just go ahead and concur with the hawks on this one.
In summary, Bush still lied and the administration is still probably criminally culpable for outing Plame. As for the rest of the hawk commentary on these new revelations, it is devoted entirely to trashing Wilson's character. To that I simply respond, "whatever." Whether Wilson is a partisan hack or a professional of the highest order ultimately has nothing to do with this case, because Bush still lied about uranium in order to go to war and a high crime, possibly treasonous, was still probably committed by the Bush administration against Valerie Plame. Then again, as I write this I am drinking Green tea, so I must not be credible.