The Washington Post has an article about the Bush White House’s common practice of making unattributed statements about Iraq without getting CIA feedback. Some of the whoppers include:
Sept 26: Iraq “could launch a biological or chemical attack 45 minutes after the order is given.“Sept 28: “there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq”
Oct 7: “Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.”
All of these claims were strongly disputed by intelligence experts at the time and only the most die-heart Adminstration-booster would want to claim now that any of them are true.
The 45 minute claim has gotten a thorough rebuking in the U.K.
This is the second time in as many weeks where a Bush quote has suddenly taken me back to the Reagan years. That 45 minute claim just echos in my head of Reagan’s “the Sandinistas are just two days drive from Harlingen, Texas.” They both have that “oh my god, the barbarians are at the door” urgency. Both also posit an arch-enemy that turned out to be a paper tiger when all the propaganda was peeled back. (For the young’ins out there, Reagan responded to the two-drive fear by mining Nicaragua’s harbors, an act which was later declared illegal by the World Court).