Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 07, 2004
WAR: Yes, Virginia, There Is Yellowcake

Instapundit reports that a British commission on intelligence "is expected to conclude that Britain's spies were correct to say that Saddam Hussein's regime sought to buy uranium from Niger." So much for Joe Wilson's Hercule Poirot act, and so much for the supposed unreasonableness of President Bush's reliance on the British reports in the 2003 State of the Union Address. But then, the report also vindicates this guy ("[A]ll U.S. intelligence experts agree that they are seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them.") and this guy ("We know that [Saddam Hussein] is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.").

Posted by Baseball Crank at 09:49 PM | War 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Next they'll tell us that Saddam Hussein was actually a vicious dictator too.

Actually, these reports are a murky business and caution is needed here, although that is a quality rarely displayed by those who attack the intelligence that Bush, Kerry, Edwards, etc…pointed to and relied on.

It also sounds like this report undermines a different intelligence claim that Blair’s government made, but the UK’s justifications for war were always more reliant on humanitarian concerns than ours (although both countries had multiple and independent justifications).

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at July 7, 2004 11:09 PM

Actually. it doesn't really back up Bush, as I understand it, because the evidence that this report is supporting wasn't the evidence that the CIA was using, even though it was about the same thing. Apparently we had this information but it wasn't included in whatever the CIA gave to the White House. So when Cheney or whoever insisted that the claim be put in the SotU, it was based on the forged documents.

The facts were right, but the evidence was wrong, so I still think Bush was incorrect to put it in the speech.

Posted by: Devin McCullen at July 8, 2004 11:34 AM

Bush clearly attributed the Niger claim as coming from the British:

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

That claim – one part of a much larger case for war – now receives confirmation as to its reliability. Whether or not that helps Bush largely depends on whether anyone pays attention to this type of thing (especially when it is ignored by major American media outlets). But the notion that the “16 words” in that State of the Union address were “lies” remains, as ever, baseless.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at July 8, 2004 06:33 PM

Okay, the more I think about this, the less sense it makes. The FT story says the US had the same (apparently good) information the Brits had, but we weren't using it, even when Bush was getting hammered for the "16 words". Granted, we'd never hear about it, but hopefully someone at the CIA, or whoever had this, is in deep trouble. I'm still not sure that it should have been in the SotU, though, given what we knew at the time. But, yeah, he did completely source it to the Brits (I'd forgotten that).

And I'm sorry, but it's pretty clear to me that the Administration decided to invade Iraq and then started looking around for reasons it could sell to the American public. That's just not the right way to do things on something this important. (I didn't and don't oppose the war, because removing Saddam from power is a huge unqualified good - but I don't like the way Bush sold it. And I have to go to bed now, so I'll stop.)

Posted by: Devin McCullen at July 9, 2004 12:32 AM
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