July 17, 2003

Bush Lost His Marbles?

Greg has a good summary of much of the criticism Bush is facing these last few days on his US and The World weblog. It's worth a peek.

However, there are two stories that popped up in the last couple of days that I can't believe aren't getting more play.

The first is this story from the Washington Post and elsewhere.

Get this: Bush claimed that the reason we invaded Iraq was because Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in. Here's the quote:

"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful."
I get the distinct feeling that the man falls apart under any sort of pressure or criticism, but this takes the cake. To quote Joe Conason:
Now a presidential statement so frontally at variance with the universally acknowledged facts obviously presents a problem for the White House press corps. He wasn't joking, and he didn't sound disoriented or unwell.


For the moment, however, let's just assume reality does exist. What possessed the president to make an assertion that everyone on the planet knows to be untrue? And who is going to take the responsibility for this one? Did George Tenet vet Bush's statement? Do the British have a secret dossier proving that Saddam never actually admitted Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC teams? Will Condi Rice or Donald Rumsfeld show up on Fox News next weekend to explain why Bush's statement is "technically accurate," even though he shouldn't have said it?

But, almost more important is his next observation
As hard to explain as what Bush said is the press corps' failure to report his stunning gaffe. The sentence quoted above doesn't appear in today's New York Times report, for example. Yet there is no question about what he said -- undoubtedly to the amazement of both Kofi Annan, who was sitting beside him at the time, and the dozens of reporters who were present during their brief joint press conference.

"Why," indeed.

The blogoverse is talking.[1] [2] [3] (and those are just some of the blogs I previously did not read regularly, since I found them with Google. Hey -- a new way to find great blogs!)

Here's the full story. Conason says that it's in the White House's own transcript of the meeting, available from the White House itself.

I'll post the second story I'm amazed at a little later today...

Posted by James at July 17, 2003 9:53 AM
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