The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, December 09, 2005

Reality Deficit Disorder: Iraq, Al Qaeda, and the White House

Lead story in the NY Times today (link above):

The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

Now let's head over to Bush's appearance at a fundraiser today in Minnesota:

President Bush, in Minnesota to raise money for a GOP Senate hopeful, has again linked the war in Iraq with terrorist attacks on the United States.

Bush told the Minneapolis crowd the country's short-term objective is "to stay on the hunt and bring the killers to justice before they hurt us again." Bush said he'd rather be defeating terrorists in Iraq than face them at home.

The event was a thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraiser for Congressman Mark Kennedy, the presumptive Republican nominee for the state's open Senate seat.