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Monday, July 14, 2003

The African Inside Straight-The presidential contenders seem to be looking to take advange of reports that intelegence reports on Iraqi buying uranium from Africa were bogus. What any opposition looks for is some scandal that they can attack, for something other than mere Monday-morning-quarterbacking to sling at the administration of the day. They're not getting traction elsewhere, so they'll play the long-shot that this will have legs However, there are four problems with the Democrats' case here. (1) The claim that was in the State of the Union address may very well still be true. The basis for doubt is a report from Joseph C. Wilson, who did some cursory research in Niger and found no evidence of a uranium buy. This Clifford May NRO piece does a decent job of debunking Wilson. Just because he didn't see or hear about a buy in Niger didn't mean it didn't go down in Niger, and it especially doesn't mean that Saddam's boys didn't try it elsewhere in Africa. Also, it was the British who had the evidence, not the US, and the Brits are sticking to their story. (2) Even if it were bogus, it doesn't tip the scales towards inaction in Iraq. The president laid out a laundry list of evidence of Iraqi WMD activity in the SOTU, of which the African fissionables were just one piece of many. How many people with a straight face would say "Jeez, if that African story wasn't there, I wouldn't have supported the war"? (3) There seems to be no evidence that the administration knew they had bogus information. At the moment, we don't even have information that it was truly bogus, let alone that the administration deliberatly used bad information to pad their evidence. (4) If the Democrats want to hold the President responcible for having his facts 100% accurate and accuse him of deception when a factoid proves bogus, let's hold them to the same standard. Let's fact-check their kiesters as well, calling them on citing faulty research from special interest groups or misquoting the president or putting false spin on facts.

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