Magazine article In These Times

The Boy Who Cried WMD

Magazine article In These Times

The Boy Who Cried WMD

Article excerpt

THERE GOES THE Axis of Evil.

On Dec. 3, news broke that 16 U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear arms efforts in 2003. You would think the report-known as the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)-would give Bush pause in his push for another war. Youd be wrong.

At a Dec. 4 White House press conference, Bush said, "Iran is dangerous, and the NIE doesn't do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world. Quite the contrary."

For years the Bush administration and its neoconservative buddies have been ratcheting the rhetoric against Iran. At an Oct. 17 press conference at the White House, Bush warned that Tehran's nuclear development could lead to "World War III." Less than a week later, Vice President Dick Cheney told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a neoconservative think tank, that Iran would face "serious consequences" if it continued to enrich uranium. "Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions," Cheney said.

These statements were made two months after Adm. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, briefed Bush on the fact that die intelligence agencies were reassessing Tehran's nuclear ambitions and that a change to the intelligence estimate was in the works.

But on Dec. 4, Bush pleaded ignorance, claiming he didn't receive the new NIE until it was released on Nov. 28. McConnell, Bush claimed, "didn't tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze."

Rrrright. If Bush, in fact, wasn't aware of the tentative conclusions that the intelligence community had reached months ago, what does that say about how in-touch he is in regard to national security? And if he did know, then he's lying to the American people. …

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