Bush's Backtracks, His National Guard Lame Defenses, And Blair's New WMD Problems
Several items today that might make your blood pressure rise once again.
First, in another of a series of backtracks that may mean less than they appear, Bush has reversed course and now agreed to allow the 9/11 Commission another two months to complete its work. The new schedule will call for the report to be released right around Labor Day, the period of maximum vulnerability to the president, with little time to spin it effectively before the election. What’s up with this? Unlike the recent about-face on the Iraq WMD inquiry, which is a farce because Bush will be appointing the membership and limiting its review to his liking, the 9/11 Commission can only be undercut here by more White House stonewalling, which would fly in the face of this move to extend their time. So what led to this change of heart? Aside from the embarrassing prospect of the commission having to issue subpoenas to get their own notes back from the White House, something else may have come up recently to force the White House to suddenly relent here.
Second, as for the Iraq WMD inquiry sham, Bush insists on appointing the inquiry members all himself, while still saying with a straight face that it will be a bipartisan group of current and former members of Congress and experts in the field. I want to know what Democrat is willing to work on such a commission that will have such an obviously transparent purpose to whitewash the White House’s role in cherry-picking and distorting the available and unavailable intelligence. Who is Bush going to get? Zell Miller? I can’t believe that either Bob Kerrey or Gary Hart would ever serve on a whitewash inquiry.
Third, Rummy is still at it, even after Colin Powell strolled off the reservation again for a day. Today Rummy told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he still held out hope that WMDs would be found in Iraq, that he was confident that intelligence wasn’t manipulated by the Administration, and when pressed by Teddy Kennedy conceded that his assertion prior to the war that “we know” where the WMDs are was too definitive. Now you tell us asshole. Over 500 men and women have died for your misstatement.
Fourth, the White House is doing a pretty lame job of firing back against the DNC’s attacks on Bush’s disappearance in Alabama in 1972-1973. First, it was the “don’t slander the National Guard” defense, as if that was the issue in question. Then it was the “John McCain said I was honorable” defense, when if you read what McCain has said he is clearly qualifying it. Now we’re back to the “this is despicable” defense when in reality the White House has still never produced documents that show Bush didn’t disappear. And by the way Mr. Racicot and Mr. Gillespie, don’t lecture any Democrat on despicable and low-down tactics after the crap you shoveled against Max Cleland in 2002. You are nothing more than hypocritical pricks fronting for a corrupt regime, especially since Racicot himself used the Grad School route to stay away from Vietnam, just like Clinton.
Lastly, as Mary said yesterday, it is getting worse for Blair over the WMD issue, and will eventually get worse for Bush as well. The Independent reports again today that the infamous “45-minute” claim was bogus to all who had expertise inside the British intelligence community, but the politicians overruled such concerns. Furthermore, Blair revealed today that he was wrong in his characterization of the nature of the 45-minute threat, which actually referred to battlefield WMD weapons, not WMD missiles that could imminently threaten the US or her allies, as Bush claimed repeatedly the Brits believed. Worse yet, it came out today that Israeli intelligence has known for years that Saddam didn’t have an imminent WMD threat, but let the White House and 10 Downing Street believe it was true anyway. Whether you want to believe that Ariel Sharon and the Mossad would withhold information from Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, and the CIA is up to you.