Sunday, October 3


Highlights of This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

George confronted Condi Rice with this NY Times article :

n 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. Speaking to a group of Wyoming Republicans in September, Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States now had "irrefutable evidence" - thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.

Those tubes became a critical exhibit in the administration's brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States could brandish of Mr. Hussein's revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.

Condi looked almost exactly like her innamorata, GWBush, did during the first presidential debate Thursday night when faced with questions he didn't want to, or couldn't, answer. She tried the same old tired sidesteps and stock "Saddam was a threat" stock phrases, but Steph wasn't having any. She even pulled out that old chestnut, "Saddam could have had a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade." Pretty thin justification for immediate war, considering that Fox is reporting this morning that Iran claims it will have a nuclear weapon in FOUR MONTHS, but the Bushies aren't rushing to war for THAT threat. She also repeated the debunked claim that 100,000 have been trained for the Iraqi military forces. Miserable performance, especially when compared to former Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's straight talk following.

Other highlights: After feebly arguing that George W. Bush tied Kerry in the debate, David Brooks actually said of John Kerry, "He never made any friends in 20 years in the Senate." What a pompous boor. John Kerry's sincerity and hard work ethic won over his most suspicious foes, including the suspicious John McCain, who is such a GOOD friend that he won't make negative statements about Kerry even though they are in opposite parties in the midst of a most contentious presidential contest. Fareed said Bush looked "edgy and testy" during the debate and Cokie agreed.

What a difference one debate can make. The press smells blood in the water.


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