Democratic Underground

Which Was Worse?

September 22, 2004
By Steven Vincent

"My only point is that, in retrospect, knowing that some of the documents underneath may have been - were, indeed, forgeries, and knowing that apparently there were concerns swirling around about this, had we known that at the time, we would not have put it in..."

I'm glad Dan Rather and CBS fessed up and took responsibility for accepting an unreliable document at face value and portraying it to the country as real. It is a good thing this document did not have more far reaching or devastating consequences for this country. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if our President did something like this?

Actually, he did. The above quote is not from a humbled Dan Rather or CBS executive, it is from National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, talking to the American public on Face the Nation on July 13, 2003.

You remember a little document mentioned in the president's State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2003, in which he said these sixteen little words:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

You remember - the State of the Union address that took us to war by scaring the shit out of the American people.

That document was proven to be a forgery by Ambassador Joseph Wilson prior to it being used in Bush's address - the same Joseph Wilson who was repaid for his service by having his wife, undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, outed by "two senior administration officials," in an article by Robert Novak.

The same Valerie Plame whose undercover mission was to seek out and identify real weapons of mass destruction and intercept them before they could be given to terrorist to use against us.

The same mission that was compromised and aborted because of the outing; endangering the lives of untold agents, operatives and informants, our country and every citizen in it.

It seems the righteous indignation felt by conservative commentators over the outrageous conduct of CBS News was not felt for the President when he misled the country. In fact, all of the people who are now calling for Dan Rather's head on a pike are the same ones who made these statements:

It's just 16 words, for crying out loud. Give the guy a break.

- Rush Limbaugh. (Rush later said the document was "100% correct.")

They also addressed the issue of the yellow cake uranium in Niger, and that of course brings up the old issue of Joe Wilson. In fact, this was a real and credible threat, correct?

- Sean Hannity to Condoleezza Rice, July 22, 2004

Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued.

- Robert Novak in his story that outed CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame

If only the American public and conservatives had held the President of the United States and his administration to the same standard that they hold Dan Rather and CBS News, this administration could not have gotten away with half the things they have.

When CBS News gets it wrong it is embarrassing to Dan Rather, CBS, reporters in general, and a portion of the public feels betrayed. When Bush got it wrong, our country was plunged into a long term war at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, the lives of more than 1030 American soldiers, our standing and reputation in the world, the destabilization of the Middle East and revitalization of terrorists across the globe.

Which one was worse?

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