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Reception of the Duelfer Report

As Ron Brownstein notes in today's LA Times, the reception of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group report may be the "tipping point" in the presidential election. Bush is going to generate new rationales for war, Kerry will criticize him, and Bush will say "Kerry saw the same intelligence as I did, and thought Hussein was a threat." The key, as ever, is to hold Bush accountable, not just for his fuckups in Iraq, but for his unwillingness to be honest with the American people.

Here's how its playing out in the conservative Cincinnati Post:

"The Duelfer report showed that Saddam was systematically gaming the system, using the U.N. oil-for-food program to try to influence countries and companies in an effort to undermine sanctions,'' Bush said. "He was doing so with the intent of restarting his weapons program once the world looked away.''

This line of defense about the justification for the war brought a blistering -- and warranted -- response from Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry: "You don't make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact.''
It bears noting that Bush, in his remarks Thursday, suggested that he was relying on what "our intelligence'' was reporting.

But the buck stops at his desk. And the overriding fact is that the Bush administration was wrong. Saddam Hussein never had the weapons of massage destruction that Bush said he had.


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