Saturday, June 04, 2005

U.S. Retracts Portion Of War Based on Bad Intelligence

Satire by Manifesto Joe

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- In a startling development, the White House and the Defense Department announced Monday that they are retracting a portion of the war in Iraq, apologizing for an inaccurate intelligence report.

President Bush told reporters at a hastily called news conference that he and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided to retract the portion of the war that was based on sources who told them Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction. As it turned out, the CIA now says, there was only one source.

"And he was drunk," said a CIA official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The president apologized for the error but stressed that despite the retraction, U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for an indefinite period until order is restored and a stable democratic government is in place.

"It's hard for America to admit being wrong about something," Bush said. "But Iraq is freer today because of our mistake."

Bush said the source of the intelligence report, after time in rehab, has "backed away" from his original account, and that the United States could "no longer stand by" that portion of the war.

Rumsfeld told reporters that he and the president "did not want to be in the position of splitting hairs, to look like we were being evasive or not fully forthcoming."

According to military sources in Baghdad, the unsubstantiated intelligence report touched off an invasion of Iraq over two years ago that has left over 1,800 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead.

Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker, who knows something about retractions, called Bush's decision "a good first step" but said it could not repair the damage that had been done.

"The report had real consequences," Whitaker said. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged."

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, traveling home Monday after another surprise visit to Baghdad, said, "It's appalling that this portion of the war got started."

She stressed, however, that the United States still stands by the parts of the war that have liberated the Iraqi people and spread democracy in the region.

Some administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, remain suspicious that Saddam had a hidden cache of chemical weapons before the start of the war.

"After all, we sold him a buttload of them back in the '80s," Cheney told Fox News. "What the hell happened to them? Did the inspectors check the sewer system? Maybe he flushed them down the toilet."

(Manifesto Joe is an underground writer living in Texas.)

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