This morning on CNN's Late Edition Condi Rice was asked about her September 2002 statement to CNN, during the buildup to the War on Iraq, when she told America about Iraq's attempts to procure "high-quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs." (That was the same day she'd also said "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.")
Her reply to being confronted today about that statement two years ago was, of course, to obfuscate the issue by saying "Well, at that time, when I came on your show, I knew there was some debate out there. But I tell you, I did not know the nature of the debate."
Never mind that The New York Times reports today that for a year prior to her initial statement on CNN her office had been told otherwise:
The White House, though, embraced the disputed theory that the tubes were for nuclear centrifuges, an idea first championed in April 2001 by a junior analyst at the C.I.A. Senior nuclear scientists considered that notion implausible, yet in the months after 9/11, as the administration built a case for confronting Iraq, the centrifuge theory gained currency as it rose to the top of the government.
Senior administration officials repeatedly failed to fully disclose the contrary views of America's leading nuclear scientists.
There is a ton of information out there (just search the Whitehouse's website for "tubes" and you'll find the tip of the iceberg) on how they were selling the whole "Saddam/Nuclear Weapons" business to the American people in TV appearances, briefings, speeches and even to the U.N. in addresses by both Powell and Bush. They seemed to always leave the part out about how it was the idea of one junior analyst and was at odds with their Senior nuclear scientists. This White House has never much cared for scientists.
As I'm researching all of this, since Rice seemed to be lying yet again today, I come across this statement at the Whitehouse website. Rice is being interviewed on July 30, 2003 by Jim Lehrer after the end of "major hostilities" in Iraq when no WMD's were showing up. He asks her about Saddam's supposed nuclear weapons programs and the now infamous tubes that helped sell the American people on the war. At the end of what we now know was just more obfuscation and nonsense from her, she says to him:
Isn't that funny? Look what George W. Bush said in his now infamous speech to the U.N. back on September 12, 2002 (just days after Condi's initial lie about the tubes on CNN):
Can anybody explain to me why this woman wasn't fired years ago?! Why they let her out of her cage to continue misleading people on CNN even today? (Both rhetorical questions, we all know the answers by now...if they'd fired everybody they should have for the debacles of these past four years, there would be no Republicans left to run the government.) Unbelievable.
Anyway, we'd expect nothing less from the woman who also said on today's interview, in regards to Bush's debate performance last week: "[He did] a fine job of showing the American people why he is the leader he is and why he is the leader to carry us through."
On that we sort of agree, Condi. He did a fine job indeed.
Four more weeks! Four more weeks! Four more weeks!