Joe Mariani

Much Ado About Nothing, Again
July 13, 2003

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
-President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 28 Jan 2003

A single statement, one item in a long list of reasons for demanding that Saddam Hussein come clean about his illegal weapons, is now being twisted by the Democrats to make it sound as if it was the sole reason for the war. Why would they do this? Because a document corroborating the British intelligence turned out to be a forgery, they see a chance to make President Bush look bad. Anyone with a single functioning brain cell can clearly see this is a prime example of Democrat partisan attack politics and revisionist history at its very worst.

The first thing the Democrats and Bush detractors need you to do is forget that in January 2003, there was no war in Iraq yet. At that time, the world was still trying to convince Saddam to cooperate with UNMOVIC by turning over all relevant documents and materials. The State of the Union Address was not the case for war, it was the case for disarmament. Though the deadline specifically given in UNSC resolution #1441 had already passed by well over a month, President Bush was still trying to convince Saddam to abide by the world's demands. The Democrats would really like you to forget this fact, but it's important to remember. The reason the President wanted to include the above statement in his speech was to send a clear message to Saddam: We know what you're up to. You can't hide it from us. Yet the Democrats want you to believe that President Bush was using that statement as the entire case for going to war.

Read the statement itself. What part of it was incorrect? What part contained the "lie" Liberal Democratic groups like MoveOn.org are openly attacking the President for with TV commercials and Internet ads? At the time of this writing the head of the British government, Prime Minister Tony Blair, is absolutely adamant that his intelligence sources in this matter were valid and correct. In a speech before the House of Commons Liaison Committee he stated, "the evidence that we had that Iraq had gone back to Niger to try to purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from these so- called forged documents, they came from separate intelligence and again, insofar as our intelligence services are concerned, they stand by that." Before the so-called "dodgy dossier" was purchased by Italian intelligence and passed on to the British as 'good', British intelligence apparently had wiretap and other information showing that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from sources in Niger, Mali and Gabon. The forged papers would merely have been a corroboration, if they were authentic. The questions no one seems to be asking are, who forged them, and why? Instead, the Democrats are focusing their rabid attacks on the President for using perfectly good intelligence (as far as we know, even now) to let Saddam know that his efforts to procure nuclear material could not be hidden from us, and that it would be in his and his country's best interest to stop trying to circumvent the international community and come clean.

Joseph Wilson, ambassador to Niger, was asked to corroborate this intelligence report in early 2002. His report stated that Niger did not sign a contract with Iraq to supply uranium... but that in 1999, Iraq DID seek to expand its trade with Niger, whose main export is uranium. As UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw stated in a letter to Donald Anderson, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, "Ambassador Wilson's report also noted that in 1999 an Iraqi delegation sought the expansion of trade links with Niger - and that former Niger government officials believed that this was in connection with the procurement of yellowcake [uranium]." The fact that no official "contract" was signed hardly contradicts the reports that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. In fact, Wilson's report seems to corroborate it.

Once again, the Democrats are attempting to convict the President of an invented wrong in the court of public opinion using the liberal media as judge and jury. A simple examination of the facts shows that he did nothing wrong, however. It's sad that the Democrats have to stoop to this sort of mendacious mud-slinging in an attempt to discredit the President so they can try to win an election... then again, manufacturing a scandal may be their best chance to replace George W. Bush with a Democrat in 2004.


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