It’s as sure as night follows day — whenever some new revelation shows President Bush in a bad light, the Right Blogosphere kicks into overdrive to come up with reasons why the news is fake. Yesterday a “fake” tag for the recently revealed January 2003 memo was attached to the “entrapment” section of the memo (quoting The Guardian, not the memo):

Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours”. Mr Bush added: “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]”.

Our good buddy and closet Maha fan The Confederate Yankee writes,

U2 high altitude surveillance aircraft typically operate near their operational ceiling of 70,000 feet, or more than 13 miles in the air. The aircraft simply cannot be seen from the ground, regardless of what paint scheme it manifests, whether it is United Nations blue, or pink with green stripes. The very concept is preposterous.

I’ll assume that’s true, but would Bush have known that?

Tbogg writes,

The fact that that the U2 normally operates at 70,000 feet doesn’t in any way disprove the fact that President George Bush might have a suggested it.

Because, well, he’s an idiot.

And it wasn’t as if the Iraqis hadn’t already shot down a spy plane two months before which may have given him or the neo-con advising him at the moment the idea in an effort to nudge the UN.

It’s a big world of possibilities out there….

Tbogg commenters came up with many of those possibilities, btw. Fun reading.

Juan Cole does the CY one better:

For all the world like a latter day Gen. Jack Ripper as depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Bush was going to fly a US spy plane over Iraq painted in UN colors, in hopes Saddam would have it shot down, so as to provoke a war (and ‘protect our precious bodily fluids?’). This crackpot idea doesn’t make any sense to me, and suggests the truth of the rumors that Bush never really did give up drinking heavily (or maybe it can only be explained by doing lines). The UN doesn’t have spy planes and everyone knows it. And, wouldn’t Secretary General Kofi Annan have pointed this out?

Speaking of preposterous, let’s go back to this part of the Guardian story:

· Mr Bush told the prime minister that he “thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups”

You see the howler, I’m sure — Bush used the word internecine? No way! But maybe Professor Sands (the guy who says he saw what was in the memo) was paraphrasing.

Seriously, there’s always the possibility that Sands is delusional or fabricating. But see David Corn, who says Sands is a friend of his and that he is a “trustworthy fellow.” If the memo does turn out to be bogus we can blame Corn for leading us astray.

2 thoughts on “Preposterous

  1. Channel 4 News has a series of purported extracts from the memo, including the phrase “thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups”. The memo is not a verbatim transcript (note that all the quotations are in the past tense), so it appears that the note-taker used the term “internecine warfare” as a concise way of expressing the substance of what Bush said.

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