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July 12, 2003

honesty means having to say you're wrong

President Bush said in his January State of the Union Address that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa—an extraordinarily important charge that could justify a preemptive war (on the assumption that Iraq would only need uranium for nuclear weapons). According to today's Washington Post, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice "said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell did not include the uranium allegation in the speech he gave to the United Nations on Feb. 5, eight days after the president spoke. She said that was because [the State Department] had questioned the matter." This suggests to me that top Administration officials realized before Feb. 5 that the State of the Union speech had included a dubious, but extremely significant, assertion. Why then did they not issue a statement casting at least partial doubt on the uranium story? Failure to withdraw a false claim of such enormous magnitude seems to me deeply unethical. It was not nearly enough to refrain from repeating the charge.

Posted by peterlevine at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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