Former Bush speechwriter Joseph Shattan has picked up on an notable point in Karl Rove's book, namely Rove's admission that it was all his fault that information regarding the presence of WMD in Iraq (and subsequent removal to Syria) was never put out by the White House. Shattan writes at the American Spectator:
About four years ago, around the time when Democrats were heatedly charging that Bush had "lied" about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in order to build a case for war (after all, they argued, if the weapons had existed, why weren't we able to find them after liberating Iraq?), I was having lunch with Dr. Laurie Mylroie, one of America's leading students of terrorism in general, and Iraqi terrorism in particular. Laurie was beside herself with anger. Why wasn't the Bush administration citing Gen. James Clapper, the Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, who said that satellite imagery proved conclusively that shortly before the war's outbreak, Iraq had transferred its weapons of mass destruction to Syria? Why wasn't it quoting Gen. Georges Sada, deputy chief of Saddam's air force, or Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's chief-of-staff, both of whom also claimed that Saddam's weapons had been transferred to Syria? Why was it so tongue-tied, so unsure of itself, so unwilling to answer its critics? Didn't anybody in the White House realize that if the Democrats' charges went unanswered, they would fatally undermine the entire case for the war?
By this time, however, I had left the White House, so I had to tell Laurie the truth: Her revelations about Generals Clapper and Sada (though not Ya'alon) were news to me, and I had no idea why the White House wasn't citing them.
Given this background, readers will understand the mixed feelings with which I reacted to Karl Rove's assertion, in a chapter entitled "Bush Was Right on Iraq," that Clapper, Sada and Ya'alon all maintained that Saddam had transferred his weapons of mass destruction to Syria on the eve of the war. On the one hand, I recalled the old saw, "Better late than never." On the other hand, I couldn't help feeling that history might have turned out differently had Karl spoken out sooner.
To his immense credit, Karl makes no effort to deny that he screwed up, big time. "So who was responsible for the failure to respond [to the Democrats' assault]?" he asks. "I was. I should have stepped forward, rung the warning bell, and pressed for full-scale response. I didn't. Preoccupied with the coming campaign and the pressures of the daily schedule in the West Wing, I did not see how damaging this assault was. There were others who could have sounded the alarm, but regardless, I should have."
I wonder. It seems hard to imagine that the damage of this assault, day in, day out, wasn't visible to the point of being overwhelming, particularly to someone as sensitive to political currents as Rove. Maybe it wasn't so much preoccupation that led to silence on the issue as a (bad) campaign decision to stonewall -- although that doesn't make sense, either. And what about "the others" who could have sounded the alarm and didn't? Were the following a doomed political policy, or were they just "proccupied," too?
Then there are stories like this one from the AP at MSNBC on July 8, 2008, that the White House never, ever presented to the American people:
Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq
Last major stockpile from Saddam's nuclear efforts arrives in Canada
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program -- a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium -- reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions. ...
Closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy? When were they ever opened? Not by the Bush administration.