The Lie That Wasn’t

Clifford D. May has a good piece in NRO on why the "lie" about Iraq, Africa, and Uranium was not a lie. As he states:

The president’s critics are lying. Mr. Bush never claimed that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from Niger. It is not true — as USA Today reported on page one Friday morning — that "tainted evidence made it into the President’s State of the Union address." For the record, here’s what President Bush actually said in his SOTU: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Precisely which part of that statement isn’t true? The British government did say that it believed Saddam had sought African uranium. Is it possible that the British government was mistaken? Sure. Is it possible that Her Majesty’s government came by that belief based on an erroneous American intelligence report about a transaction between Iraq and Niger? Yes — but British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of his Cabinet say that’s not what happened.

Indeed, Prime Minister Blair is stating that the evidence in dispute was not the only evidence for the claim. He has defended the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa – a conclusion that is supported by the fact that Iraqi nuclear equipment and plans were found in Baghdad.

What is important is to fight the Democrat’s spin on this issue. The President did not lie. His statement was accurate based on the best available information at the time. Even if there was some doubt about the American information as DCI George Tenet suggests, the fact that the British government stands by their intelligence makes this a non-scandal.

14 thoughts on “The Lie That Wasn’t

  1. To the unenlightened non-conservative eye, it would seem that President Bush engaged in conduct that was not only improper, but was wrong. However, hearing the incessant pleas of the informed clears alot of things up.

    First of all, the whole thing is a vast left-wing conspiracy seeking to damage Bush’s reputation and that Bush’s State of the Union comments didn’t meet the definition of misleading as he understood the term.

    It would be good for the President to give a statement, wagging his finger into the camera and professing in no uncertain terms that “I did not give false information about that man…Mr. Hussein.”

    Of course, nobody is likely to know the full story until the special prosecutor’s report is completed.

  2. Exactly where is the lie in the statement "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" when the British government is saying that they indeed did say that and they still stand behind it? This is a manufactured scandal, and the only ones deliberately lying are the critics of the President.

  3. It’s 1998 all over again….except this time instead of wrangling over the definition of sexual relations, we’re sparring over the difference between lying and misleading the public with evidence the CIA said was insufficient, but Bush decided to declare to the world at the State of the Union anyway. Your tepid argument here isn’t even a clever or amusing defense of the indefensible, it’s just pitiful.

  4. The CIA admitted the evidence in the form of letters to the government of Niger were forgeries.

    British Intelligence indicated that their claims did not use that piece of evidence. The President’s speech did not make any reference to that particular piece of evidence. He made reference to the British intelligence which is an entirely separate issue from the Niger documentation.

    This is spin and nothing but spin.

  5. *sniffs*

    No, I believe that’s the smell of Democratic desperation in the hopes that a manufactured scandal will distract the American people from the fact that their candidates are mediocre and they haven’t had an original idea in years.

  6. Mediocre and without an original idea? Sounds like another presidential canidate we once knew. Didn’t stop him from ‘winning’.


    You are correct Jay. It was not a lie in the true sense of the word. “A British government report said that Iraq sought uranium in Africa.” Regardless of any reports of the legitimacy of the documents that were the foundation of that statement, the statement mearly says a British report said so. Nothing more. Granted that report was total shit by that time but that is not necessary given the language used. Ingenious spin if you ask me.

    Indeed his isn’t a lie, but a egregious omission, equally worthy of our (well, at least my) contempt.

  7. The British still stand behind their evidence.

    Again, the sole bit of evidence which does not check out is a series of letters supposedly from the Iraqi government to the government of Niger. If the President had stated that "The CIA has found letters stating that Iraq was seeking nuclear material" he would have been incorrect. Had he actually been briefed on the subject, then he would have been lying.

    Only if both these conditions were true would this charge be accurate. However, considering that one is definitely not true and the other is unproven and likely false there is no scandal. Granted, it is still a black eye, and Congress does have the right to investigate, but this is not the bombshell it was made to be. (In fact, the Nigerian documents were already confirmed as forgeries months ago.)

    Even if the British evidence is dodgy, again it doesn’t effect the President’s argument at the time. As long as the President was using evidence thought to be valid at the time he cannot be said to be lying. He can said to be wrong, but last time I checked godlike powers over space and time were not a requirement to the Presidency.

    What I find particularly malicious about this is the fact that President Clinton bombed a civilian aspirin factory in the Sudan on an entirely false lead in order to distract from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and yet there was not a single cry from the Democrats about that action. It illustrates that this is purely a matter of partisan politics, and it is hampering the ability of the Administration to focus on the far more pressing concern of rebuilding Iraq.

  8. he wasn’t lying: he checked on before writing his speech, and there was nothing.
    all the people working gor the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies are not really reliable anyway. it’s just high school student with no real means to check information veracity.
    it really wasn’t his fault to declare something that led to an international rift, the end of the U.N and a few thousand death (no more).


    (will he do it again?)

    BTW, a friend of mine just told me the earth was flat. If I repeat this information without checking it (eventhough the earth is obviously flat ;-), would that be lying, or be a stupid dumbass?

  9. Well, if you believe the Earth is flat, then you’re probably gullible enough to buy the idea that Saddam never possessed weapons of mass destruction. (Even though the UN, German Intelligence, British Intelligence, Iranian Intelligence, and pretty much everyone else said the exact opposite.)

  10. the first part of your answer is pathetic. Is that the only spin you found to escape ?anyway…

    Of course france, germany and the U.S know that Saddam had WMDs, we (all three of us) still have the receipts!!

    this wasn’t the issue here anyway(the lie, remenber?), but I guess you’d better don’t come back on this topic, because I just found out that G.Tenet already deleted this information from a speech of W in the Ohio in october 2002…
    so don’t blame the CIA for putting this crap back in a speech. the Bush Administration was willing to go to war whatsoever. They were ready to do anything for that (and they did), but the truth always emerge somehow.
    don’t expect any support from germany or france. We’re not gonna get shot for you for your disgusting petroleum war based on lies!
    Bush and Co started it by themselves, for themselves. they have to take care of it now. the world cannot fix the mistakes this rookie is doing everyday (cf:Bush “this crusade is going to be long”!!!)

    the whole blog is pointless anyway. this is just propaganda, with no discusssion. you’re blinded by…I don’t know what. maybe you’re enlighted by God, like W and ben Laden.

  11. You all know the Bushesque theory stating that Saddamite Iraq was entertaining close ties with Ben Laden & developed a huge arsenal of WMDs (an acronym coined by talented neocons spins). Now the illegal war on Iraq has been over for 3 months. Still the US -comically aided by their British auxiliaries- is still fishing for a decent casus belli for the World to swallow… The 1.400 inspectors displayed by the Iraq Survey Group led by US General Dayton (not by Blix) are still looking for the very well hidden WMDs. That’s all gross manipulation.

    Think about the OSP (Office of Special Plans) that Wolfowitz created further to 9/11 with a view to sorting out data issued by CIA, DIA & NSA for Bush to make decisions. OSP didn’t bother to instrumentalise the Pentagon-financed Iraqi National Congress to sex up both WMDs & links with Ben Laden. Even the pathetic pseudodovish Powell got brainwashed (by Cheney, Tenet & Co) & looked absolutely grotesque as he was running the no less grotesque WMD slides shown at the UN. Later Wolfowitz reckoned his deliberately forged lying –“out of bureaucratic reasons” he said. Conclusion: Bush is a liar & so is Bliar of the UK.

    “Saddam can get his missiles ready in 45 minutes” >>> Bliar, Commons.
    “Saddam can launch mortal diseases like gaseous gangrene, plague, typhus, cholera, variola & hemorragic fever” >>> Powel, UN.
    “Saddam has restored a nuclear arsenal” >>> Cheney, Time.
    Not to mention the uncountable tirades by Bush about the links between Saddam & Al-Qaida…
    No need to say that kind of rubbish was repeated ad nauseam by unprejudiced media like FoxNews, CNN, MSNC, Clear Channel, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal &, of course, The Sun.
    Second-rate “Statesmen” were even needed to fortify the Bushist hoax: Aznar & Berlu being the most farcical instances to be remembered…

    The Goebbels machine was working very well indeed. True the US is definitely customary to cynical lies. Just think about the story of The Maine, the battleship which was destroyed in Cuba in 1898, serving as a very convenient “casus belli” against Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines & the island of Guam. The Spaniards were first accused of having put a mine on the boat. The US denounced Spanish barbarity since everybody knew the Spaniards were running death camps & were even anthropophagous (no kidding!). There was a fierce rivalry between Joseph Pulitzer & William Randolph Hearst to win the trophy of cynicism. US public opinion was hot & angry as expected. The New York Journal’s circulation went from 30.000 up to 400.000 & finally reached a peak at 1.000.000 !!! McKinley couldn’t but declare a war on Madrid (April 25, 1898).
    Still, 13 years later (in 1911), an investigation committee stated that The Maine blew up accidentally.

    Same in 1960 as the CIA had candidate Kennedy swallow (through due media brainwashing) that there was a hugely detrimental missile gap with the USSR. So Kennedy’s platform included crazy spendings on nuclear weaponry while the US nuclear superiority over the Soviets was already firmly established.

    In 1964 two US destroyers were reported to have been attacked by North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. After due media brainwashing, Johnson asks the Congress to involve the US army in Vietnam. Of course no North Vietnamese boat did attack the US destroyers.

    Same stuff with Reagan in 1985: there’s a Nicaraguan threat led by the ominous Sandinists (!!!). Although Sandinists were democratically elected & respected political & speech rights alike, Reagan went on shouting: “ Nicaragua is just a two-day drive from Harlingen, Texas”, “Nicaragua is cancer”, “Nicaragua is inspired by Mein Kampf”… There are less than 5 million Nicaraguan, but so what! Reagan was just preparing the Contras (& the Irangate scandal…).

    We all know the the US is not waging only a “classical” war against Iraq; it’s also psywar, the battlefield of which is brainwashed media coverage. Rumsfeld is not too bad a conductor. See Jessica Lynch, a fighting hero enduring Iraqi mistreatments, who was liberated live on TV although she was actually accidented as she was transported by a truck & gained full recovery thanx to Dr Saad Abdul Razak (Nassiriya hospital) !!!

  12. Same stuff with Reagan in 1985: there’s a Nicaraguan threat led by the ominous Sandinists (!!!). Although Sandinists were democratically elected & respected political & speech rights alike

    You are kidding me, right? Catholic Church played a huge part in removal of Anastasio Somoza, but once he was out – Sandanistas wasted no time in attacking the Church. Perhaps you should research their rhetoric towards the archibishop Obando y Bravo and their insistence that Catholic schools teach Marxism-Leninism. Outdoor masses were outlawed as were church services over radio. That’s just Catholics. As for Protestants – I’ll give you a name: Prudencio Baltodano. As for Jews – the fact that Sandinistas had good rship with PLO and trained with Fatah should tell you something.
    Do your own research. Genocide of the Moskito Indians is something you might want to read about.
    Several thousand of Cuban and several hundred of Soviet “advisors” wasted no time to “advise”.
    Some freedom of speech, eh? Several radio stations were closed and were put under new ownership as Radio Sandino. TV became gov’t controlled.
    Man, your whole post is a big, fat joke.

  13. You guys are full of it. I live the 80s through Nicaragua. Everything you’ve stated about Nica, Sandinistas, Baltadano, the Church, all of it are lies/propaganda. You swallow everything the government tells you.

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