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from The Daily Mislead
February 4, 2004

Bush Think

Over the last two days, President Bush and the White House have claimed that they are going to establish an "independent" commission to promptly investigate the over-hyping of intelligence before the Iraq war. But as details come out about the White House's proposal, it appears the commission will be neither independent nor prompt.

Specifically, the president will appoint the entire commission himself, breaking the previous tradition of allowing lawmakers from both parties to appoint commission members. Although lawmakers have raised objections to the commission's lack of independence, the White House is moving forward with its plans.

Additionally, despite the fact that the commission's work will be critical to national security, the president will only authorize a commission that produces a report after the election -- so as to minimize any political fallout for himself. This contrasts sharply to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is putting national security ahead of politics. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "in contrast to a bipartisan investigating committee announced by Bush, the British panel is to announce its conclusions by July. That would put any damaging disclosures for Blair's government well in advance of parliamentary elections, expected in 2005." It also contrasts with similar investigations in the United States. In 1983, after the terrorist attacks on U.S. troops in Beirut, a commission was appointed and finished its work within 3 months.

As one major newspaper editorial board summed up, "The president's goal is to delay any objective findings about prewar intelligence until after the election, leaving him free to decide what the administration knew and didn't know and who is to blame." And the President's continued misleading on WMD could come at a price. As Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said, a failure to convince the public that Bush did not "exaggerate" the case for war "would put the president in a very bad position. He said people would start asking, "Do we trust his word? Do we trust him to lead this country?"

Posted: February 5, 2004


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