December 24, 2003

Box of Soap. Get me rewrite! It turns out the account of Saddam Hussein offering to negotiate, only to be told by one GI: "Regards from President Bush" was pure fiction. Now the story is that Hussein spat at American soldiers moments after his capture and was promptly punched by one of them. ... "New intelligence information indicates that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his top deputy personally approved the suspected terrorist attack plan that led the government to raise the nation's terror threat assessment ... US intelligence agencies had gathered detailed information about the plan, in which they said al-Qaida operatives would hijack foreign airliners and fly them into targets in the United States. In some instances, the intelligence is so detailed as to include specific flight numbers..."

At a Pentagon briefing yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld was asked about "a recently declassified memo -- 20 years ago, the use of chemical against Iranians and Kurds, it wasn't sufficient to sever ties with Iraq. And indeed the United States government was trying to improve that relationship, and you played a role in that. ... Twenty years later, the same use of those weapons in those same instances was one of the main reasons cited for going to war." ... Rumsfeld hems and haws, but what was interesting what was CNN and MSNBC both cut away from their coverage of the briefing as soon as that first question was asked. Seems like that would be an important news item, but maybe Michael Jackson sneezed or someone spied a shark off the Carolina coast. The transcript is here.

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