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President Bush has the Question of the Day


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" Are you in charge of finding WMD?". :laugh: Because, I don't know who is in charge right now. DUHHH!

The man asked who was in charge:laugh: Can someone tell the President where the Buck Stop?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030707-461781,00.html

Who Lost the WMD?

As the weapons hunt intensifies, so does the finger pointing. A preview of the coming battle

By MASSIMO CALABRESI AND TIMOTHY J. BURGER

ERIC DRAPER/THE WHITE HOUSE/AP

QUESTION TIME: Bush huddles with Bremer and Franks in Doha, Qatar

Sunday, Jun. 29, 2003

Meeting last month at a sweltering U.S. base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.

It seems as if just about everyone has questions these days about the missing WMD. Did U.S. intelligence officials—or their civilian bosses—overstate the evidence of weapons before the war? And if some intelligence officials expressed skepticism about WMD, who ignored them? For the past several weeks, the usually lockstep Bush Administration has done its best to maintain a unified front in the face of these queries. Whenever asked, Administration officials have replied that the weapons will turn up eventually. But as the search drags on through its third largely futile month, the blame game in Washington has gone into high gear. And as Bush's allies and enemies alike on Capitol Hill begin to pick apart some 19 volumes of prewar intelligence and examine them one document at a time, the cohesive Bush team is starting to come apart. "This is a cloud hanging over their credibility, their word," Republican Senate Intelligence Committee member Chuck Hagel told abc News. Here are key questions Congress wants answered:

What Was Cheney's Role?

Lawmakers who once saluted every Bush claim and command are beginning to express doubts. Two congressional panels are opening new rounds of investigations into the Administration's prewar claims about WMD. One of their immediate inquiries, sources tell Time, involves Vice President Dick Cheney's role in reviewing the intelligence before the bombing started. Cheney made repeated visits to the CIA in the prelude to the war, going over intelligence assessments with the analysts who produced them. Some Democrats say Cheney's visits may have amounted to pressure on the normally cautious agency. Cheney's defenders insist that his visits merely showed the importance of the issue and that an honest analyst wouldn't feel pressure to twist intelligence. The House intelligence committee (and possibly its Senate counterpart, sources say) plans to question the CIA analysts who briefed Cheney, and that could lead to calling Cheney's hard-line aides and perhaps the Veep himself to testify.

Is Powell Trying To Have It Both Ways?

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who staked his reputation on his February declaration at the U.N. about Saddam Hussein's arms program, is also feeling the heat. Powell's aides fanned out after that performance to say the Secretary had gone to the CIA and scrubbed every piece of intelligence to make certain it was solid. But since then, little of Powell's presentation has been proved by evidence on the ground, and last week his aides were on the defensive over a memo from the State Department's intelligence bureau that questioned whether two Iraqi trailers discovered in April were mobile bioweapons labs, as Powell has asserted. Questionable intelligence that made it into Powell's February speech leaves him particularly vulnerable. Expect a push by Democrats, and perhaps some Republicans, to seek Powell's testimony too.

Will Tenet Be Left Holding the Bag?

CIA Director George Tenet is faring a bit better. The House committee's top Democrat, Jane Harman, noted last week that "caveats and qualifiers" Tenet raised in prewar intelligence about Iraq's weapons were "rarely included" in Administration arguments for war. After the awkward Q&A in Doha, Bush put Tenet in charge of the WMD hunt. Tenet in turn hired a former U.N. weapons inspector, David Kay, to run the search, but Tenet and Kay have a lot of ground to make up fast. Tenet, sources say, recently conceded to the House panel that the CIA should have done more to warn that finding WMD could be a drawn-out process. Tenet got a reprieve last week when an Iraqi scientist who had hidden parts and documents for nuclear-weapons production in his backyard for 12 years came forward. Tenet's usually behind-the-scenes CIA suddenly became very public in trumpeting the importance of the discovery, if only to remind people how hard illicit weapons would be to find. But Tenet's hot zone isn't Baghdad; it's Capitol Hill. He canceled testimony before the Senate committee last week, citing a schedule conflict. If he doesn't find any weapons, he needs to find a way not to be blamed.

Bush officials believe that time and history are on their side. They argue that now that Saddam is gone, Americans don't care very much about finding WMD. They also say it is only a matter of time before more evidence of weapons materials and programs emerges. And when that occurs, they contend, all their opponents will look as silly as they did when they argued that the war was going badly in its second week. "The Dems are looking for an issue, but I think they're making a mistake," says a senior Administration official.

Democrats do sense a possibly potent campaign theme, but they run the risk of appearing to politicize a sensitive national-security issue as they try to prove the Administration has a credibility gap. But Democrats are not alone in feeling as though they may have been sandbagged on the evidence before the war began. Sources say g.o.p. Senate Intelligence Committee members Olympia Snowe and Hagel have privately questioned the Administration's handling of prewar intelligence. The Republican-held House voted last week to order the CIA to report back on "lessons learned" from the buildup to war in Iraq. The House and Senate intelligence-committee leaders have agreed to coordinate their probes loosely to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. In a rare move, the House panel quietly voted on June 12 to grant all 435 Representatives access to the Iraq intelligence, although a Capitol Hill source said fewer than 10 members outside the committee had reviewed the material.

Administration officials have a further concern about where all these questions are leading. They fear that any problem with the prewar intelligence could undermine Bush's ability to continue his muscular campaign against terrorism overseas. The Administration has argued that to counter new kinds of threats posed by terrorists, rogue states and WMD, it has to be able to act pre-emptively. But pre-emption requires excellent intelligence, and the whole doctrine is undermined if the intelligence is wrong—or confected. "Intelligence takes on an even more important role than in the past because you can't wait until you see an enemy army massing anymore," says former Clinton Deputy National Security Adviser James Steinberg. But if WMD don't turn up and the Administration wants to act elsewhere, it may find that the enemy massing against it is public opinion at home.

From the Jul. 07, 2003 issue of TIME magazine

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Originally posted by codeorama

Regardless, that is pretty funny and sums up a lot of people's stereotype of bush whether it's warranted or not.

touche.....I don't think you'll find a lot of people who'll claim he's the smartest guy to hold the office in the past 25 years.

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Originally posted by Bufford

touche.....I don't think you'll find a lot of people who'll claim he's the smartest guy to hold the office in the past 25 years.

Right, but I can't believe that he's as dumb as many would have you believe either, I just think as with anything, Stereotypes get magnified and then take on a life of their own, this is just the fodder that some will cling to.

Good joke material... Clinton was good for that too, although in a completely different genre...lol

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Originally posted by codeorama

Right, but I can't believe that he's as dumb as many would have you believe either, I just think as with anything, Stereotypes get magnified and then take on a life of their own, this is just the fodder that some will cling to.

Good joke material... Clinton was good for that too, although in a completely different genre...lol

Oh, of course not. Some would have you believe that he couldn't fill out his own taxes if he had to.....hmmmm....well...bad choice.

He can listen and repeat what he's told to say. :laugh:

Just kidding.

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I think it's considered a stupid question because this is such a big issue (an issue important enough to launch a war and risk American lives) that it's a bit on the ridiculous side that it's even a question. You would think that Bush should know who's in charge of something this major or that at the least, his chief men would know immediately who is in charge of the hunt. You would think that the hunt would be a part of his briefings and that the aides wouldn't need to conference and struggle to come up with the name of the guy in charge of looking.

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Originally posted by redman

I'm sorry, I guess I'm having a bad Monday. But how is that a stupid question? That sounds right on point to me.

If you were defending a high profile murder suspect and in a meeting with your client and staff, some one asked you who was in charge of investigating witnesses, would you honestly reply the way bush did? If your client was smart, they would fire you on the spot.

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Originally posted by codeorama

If you were defending a high profile murder suspect and in a meeting with your client and staff, some one asked you who was in charge of investigating witnesses, would you honestly reply the way bush did? If your client was smart, they would fire you on the spot.

You have a very good point there.

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On the contrary, in a room full of people who didn't seem to be offering any answers on the WMD search, much less taking ownership of the problem, I think it's precisely the question to ask.

Again, in a vacuum it makes lovely fodder for sniping reporters and critics. But I fail to see how it's not appropriate in context.

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redman, It "looks" like he doesn't know who's doing what, as the president, he should know who is doing what, just like as a lawyer, you should know who is doing what on a case, if I were your client and I asked you who was doing something and you replied that you didn't know and you started asking your staff and they didn't know, I would be furious, it would look unprofessional and I would find another lawyer.

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I initially read it like, Redman... but, the fact that they had to huddle to come up with a name... any name is pretty telling. Bush should know who is in charge and what's going on in this matter. This isn't something you would think he would shunt off on an undersecretary and ignore. You would think he'd be getting daily briefings on what's going on and not going in Iraq. The fact that the question doesn't seem to be rhetorical is both funny and a little alarming.

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I guess my point is that right now the issue of WMD is a "hot topic". You would think that he would know who is incharge of looking wouldn't you? It's not like it's a subject that is so far on the backburner, this is a subject that EVERYONE is aware of. If they asked him "who's in charge of cutting the grass at the White House", I could understand him not knowing.. but in the case of WMD or Iraq in general, it looks like he's incompetant or doesn't care.

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Originally posted by codeorama

If you were defending a high profile murder suspect and in a meeting with your client and staff, some one asked you who was in charge of investigating witnesses, would you honestly reply the way bush did? If your client was smart, they would fire you on the spot.

Code good example but this is a completely different situation.

First the US Forces is an extremely large organization. I can easily see why someone doesn't know who to talk to. According to the post last week, they were sending a new team into Iraq that were going to find the WMD's. Now, Franks or Bush might not have known about this change in teams since we don't know who the frontman for WMD is right now.

This meeting seemed to be a close door meeting so Bush was being himself and wanted to know the status is right now. I don't think they thought it was a public meeting and the press would get some information right now. He doesn't sound stupid in it just wanted some answers, and I think that is good, he should have some answers.

I am glad he came out an said what is going on here and put everyone on the spot. He is obvious not happy with the result so far.

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Originally posted by codeorama

I guess my point is that right now the issue of WMD is a "hot topic". You would think that he would know who is incharge of looking wouldn't you? It's not like it's a subject that is so far on the backburner, this is a subject that EVERYONE is aware of.

It might be a hot topic but not the main. Right now finding Sadam and stopping these killings are more important. The Middle East Peace Plan is important as well as the economy. With WMD, they have time on thier hands, yes we want to find them, but we want to find them when we can. Think about it, don't you think there could be fake imformants telling the US where some are but all along it could be a trap. Untill we get rid of sadam and his loyalists we won't find much. The Scientists are scared right now because they believe they can be killed for giving info.

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Boy, it's hard to believe this defense. It's good that President Bush months after around the war's end is just now trying to figure out who's in charge and what the progress is?! This was his primary argument for going to war. If Clinton had made this case and was then clueless about operations or who was in command all of you defending Bush would be mercilous in saying he's inept, antimillitary, uninformed, etc. Bush better be on top of the major issues in Iraq. He better be knowledgeable at least to the level of knowing the names of who's in charge of major missions there. The more I hear defense of him about this, the more disgraceful it feels that neither him or his chief aides knew who was in charge. No wonder months have passed with almost nothing found or secured.

The fact that he is now getting frustrated with the lack of progress is good. Unless you're cynical enough to believe that he is getting frustrated only due to press and worriesome polls. The fact that he is asking the same questions we are and acting like he is about as informed as we are... isn't.

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In the abstract, there is certainly grounds for criticism here.

But consider what we know about the WMD search. They've had a bunch of different people, units and organizations crawling all over that country. Everyone from ordinary infantrymen, to specialized WMD-trained military units, to CIA operatives, to special forces to former Iraqi scientists have been reported at various times - including while organized combat still raged a couple of months ago - to have been in there looking.

In the back of my mind I've wondered from whom they were all getting their orders, or even if they were all receiving orders from the same spot. This seems more like a disorganization problem than an ignorance problem. But note that I use the word "problem" either way.

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he's only won on every issue so far!.....and I'm not even a big supporter of his...but I can see what has transpired over the last 3 years. the dems, on the other hand, can only filibuster or otherwise employ anti-democratic methods to achieve their ends....who has the upper hand? who is outsmarting whom?

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Boy, it's hard to believe this defense. It's good that President Bush months after around the war's end is just now trying to figure out who's in charge and what the progress is ?! This was his primary argument for going to war. If Clinton had made this case and was then clueless about operations or who was in command all of you defending Bush would be mercilous in saying he's inept, antimillitary, uninformed, etc. Bush better be on top of the major issues in Iraq. He better be knowledgeable at least to the level of knowing the names of who's in charge of major missions there. The more I hear defense of him about this, the more disgraceful it feels that neither him or his chief aides knew who was in charge. No wonder months have passed with almost nothing found or secured.

The fact that he is now getting frustrated with the lack of progress is good. Unless you're cynical enough to believe that he is getting frustrated only due to press and worriesome polls. The fact that he is asking the same questions we are and acting like he is about as informed as we are... is n't.

Well, that depends on what your definition of is is. :silly:

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yawn............let me get this straight...this was all a twisted plot to protect Israel...but the chief "obsession" as reported by this "objective" reporter who seems limitted to chronicling only Democratic hack positions...is the WMDs? No it's the oil! Can't be terrorists - the allies of Saddam have already estblished there was no worthy connection there. wrong again - it's about protecting corporate interests. naaaahh........it's all about super power hegemony and global economic domination. then again, it's a wag the dog political ploy to distract from an approaching depression.

and the critics aren't as hosed, or more so, than the Bush administration?....please........

btw...so Mr Draper was present at the conversation?

ands exactly what notion of analysis is being fielded here? that skepticism in and of itself qualifies as sound analysis?

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