Don't look now, but you're about to see this administration pull another fast one on an all too gullible American public.
Now that the claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his supposed ties to al-Qaida have been debunked, George Bush's cadre of handlers has come up with another idea: It wasn't our fault, it was the CIA's.
That's the message that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the devious Karl Rove will try to drive home as the nation gets close to next fall's presidential election.
David Kay, the U.S. weapons inspector who had been hand-picked by the Bush team to find those weapons of mass destruction, got this strategy rolling when he testified before Congress a few days ago. That was when he made the dramatic announcement that not only are there no weapons of mass destruction there now, they were most likely destroyed a decade ago, if not by the first Iraq war, then by the bombing raids carried out by the Clinton administration.
"We were all wrong," he remarked, but then quickly added that it wasn't the president's fault, but the nation's intelligence apparatus that gave him faulty information.
That was the cue for the Bushies to announce the president had now shifted his position on weapons of mass destruction and was appointing an independent commission to take a thorough look at the country's intelligence agencies. Oh, and by the way, it won't report back until after the November elections.
What the administration hopes is that this tactic will divert attention from long-running accounts detailing how the Bush people demanded that the CIA and other intelligence sources give them information that could be used to make the case to attack Iraq.
Last fall, in fact, acclaimed journalist Seymour Hersh detailed in the New Yorker how Cheney and Rumsfeld set up an independent intelligence unit in the Pentagon that would serve as a place where the "right" intelligence reports would be funneled to the White House.
Hersh quoted Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council expert on Iraq, as saying what the Bush people did was "dismantle the existing filtering process that for 50 years has been preventing the policy-makers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them.
"They always had information to back up their public claims, but it was often very bad information," Pollack added to Hersh.
And Hersh wrote all that last Oct. 27, nearly four months before David Kay made his confessions and his defense of the "innocent" president.
The question now is whether this administration will get by with yet more lies.
Copyright 2003 The Capital Times