WHO DECEIVED WHOM?
Mary Anna Towler asks, "So did the Bush administration deliberately mislead us?" ("Supporting the Troops," November 23). I find it difficult to understand why the press has backed off digging deeper into this question. Instead, they are apparently conceding that Bush et al were deceived by bad intelligence.
I suggest that one can find some insight into this from a statement made by the then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice during an interview by Tim Russert on Meet the Press, September 28, 2003; yes, 2003.
Russert wanted to discuss President Bush's attempts to convince the American public that Iraq had tried to obtain or develop "weapons of mass destruction," specifically the alleged attempt to purchase uranium from Niger. Russert pointed out that Bush had wanted to make that assertion in a speech he was to deliver in Cincinnati; however, it was deleted.
Rice acknowledged that CIA Director George Tenet had argued against including the assertion, and that it was appropriate for him to have the final say on matters involving US intelligence. In Russert's follow-up question, he asked why, then, President Bush's State of the Union address to Congress, delivered only three months later, contained that very assertion, when the administration already knew it was highly questionable.
Incredibly, Rice said that they had simply forgotten it had been deleted from the Cincinnati speech. She added that Tenet did not raise an objection to it this time.
Was there new intelligence to buttress the assertion? I don't for a moment believe there was or that they simply forgot. What does makes sense, however, is that the administration knew exactly what it was doing, that Bush deliberately lied to Congress and the American people to get us into a war with Iraq, and that Rice lied to Russert. (It is a mystery to me how Russert let her explanation pass unchallenged.)
Now isn't it about time someone from the press and/or Congress insisted that Rice explain her statement and what actually transpired?
Stan Hattman, Dorchester Road, Rochester
CASH IN BLACK
In reviewing Walk the Line (November 23), George Grella shows concern over life imitating art and vice versa. What he should worry about, though, is the way an otherwise good film shows itself guilty of art distorting life.
Case in point: in the fictionalized script, Johnny Cash becomes "the man in black" out of empathy for Americans in prison --- a social position I totally support. But in real life --- no, make that in history --- Johnny made that somber attire his nonverbal symbol of protest against the USA's illegal, stage-managed, and bloody war in Vietnam.
It's easy enough to see how a screenwriter might want to skirt such a touchy subject as our country's most unpopular war and sweep the issue under his or her literary rug. What's harder to understand is how Mr. Grella could fail to draw attention to that omission in his review.
Salvatore J. Parlato, Seville Drive, Irondequoit
Thanks for that great article about Mary Jemison ("Frontier Woman," November 30). As a new resident of Rochester, from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, area, I remember seeing a roadside marker one day. It's nice to find out the rest of the story. Please keep the Rochester-history stories coming, and thanks for a great paper.
John Hirschle, Wetmore Drive, Rochester
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