Dick Cheney today in another of his oratorical growlfests
at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington:
The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight. But any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false.
, March 18, 2003:
In his appearance Sunday...the vice president argued that "we believe [Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." But Cheney contradicted that assertion moments later, saying it was "only a matter of time before he acquires nuclear weapons." Both assertions were contradicted earlier by Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who reported that "there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities." ElBaradei also contradicted Bush and other officials who argued that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. The IAEA determined that Iraq did not plan to use imported aluminum tubes for enriching uranium and generating nuclear weapons. ElBaradei argued that the tubes were for conventional weapons and "it was highly unlikely" that the tubes could have been used to produce nuclear material. Cheney on Sunday said ElBaradei was "wrong" about Iraq's nuclear program and questioned the IAEA's credibility.
Cheney today called doubts about administration handling of pre-war intelligence "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety." The only revisionism going on here is the claim that there was no basis for skepticism about the administration's WMD claims at the time
. If Cheney's baseless and dismissive rejection in March 2003 of a credible, contrary IAEA opinion in favor of the rush to war doesn't qualify as distortion or hype, then it's hard to imagine what would.