Sunday, March 20


How much more dishonest and reckless in its foreign policy can the Bush administration be?

The United States briefed allies on North Korea in late January and early February. Shortly afterward, administration officials, speaking to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea had sold uranium hexafluoride to Libya. The officials said the briefing was arranged to share the information with China, South Korea and Japan ahead of a new round of hoped-for negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program.

But in recent days, two other U.S. officials said the briefings were hastily arranged after China and South Korea indicated they were considering bolting from six-party talks on North Korea. The talks have been seen as largely ineffectual, but the Bush administration, which refuses to meet bilaterally with Pyongyang, insists they are critical to curbing North Korea's nuclear program.
Since Pakistan became a key U.S. ally in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, the administration has not held President Pervez Musharraf accountable for actions taken by Khan while he was a member of Musharraf's cabinet and in charge of nuclear cooperation for the government.

"The administration is giving Pakistan a free ride when they don't deserve it and hurting U.S. interests at the same time," said Charles L. Pritchard, who was the Bush administration's special envoy for the North Korea talks until August 2003. "As our allies get the full picture, it doesn't help our credibility with them," he said.

So last month CIA head Porter Goss testifies before Congress but gives "no indication the intelligence community believed that North Korea had supplied nuclear materials to Libya, that it was capable of producing uranium hexafluoride or that it was a member of the nuclear black market." Instead, it is learned, North Korea actually sold nuclear material to PAKISTAN, which distributed it via the notorious Dr. A.Q. Khan to Libya. Gotta protect those good old guys who are helping us find (?!) Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda henchmen!

Of course, lying to your allies (and to the rest of the world, including your own people) does have consequences. The truth has a way of willing out. The Chinese and South Koreans have been doubting our reports about North Korea and trying to decrease the pressure on that country. So the U.S. comes out with new charges, infuriates Kim Jong Il into declaring an end to six-party talks, and now the U.S. is softening its rhetoric in an attempt to get the talks going again. And it's one more black mark against U.S. "diplomacy" (uh, for lack of a more appropriate word).

These guys just lie like they breathe. So much for "moral values."

The new details follow a string of controversies concerning the Bush administration's use of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House offered a public case against Iraq that concealed dissent on nearly every element of intelligence and included interpretations unsupported by the evidence.


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