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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of June 11 - 17, 2003


The credibility gap

Ultimately, history may show that it was a good idea for the United States to invade Iraq and give brutal dictator Saddam Hussein and his buddies the boot. It may turn out that the United States did the right thing, even if it was for the wrong reasons.

However, ultimately is a long, long time. Historical perspective won’t fall into place overnight.

In the meantime, President George W. Bush and his administration have a problem that national commentators have dubbed "The Credibility Gap."

If not resolved, the gap could be a far greater threat to the trust between the governed and the government than the gap in President Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes ever was.

Before the United States broke ranks with the United Nations, the nation watched and listened closely to Secretary of State Colin Powell who presented evidence of Iraq’s looming military threat to the world to the United Nations Security Council. Powell, a much respected figure in this country, said evidence had been derived from trustworthy sources and analyzed by experts.

Powell said the evidence—complete with photographs shot from space satellites—showed that Saddam Hussein was up to his black beret in development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The polls showed that Americans believed him. We still want to believe him.

Yet, with no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq to date, it’s time for hard questions.

The administration says that finding weapons or production facilities is like looking for needles in a haystack. The excuse rings more hollow with every day that passes.

It’s time for Americans and our British allies to confront the difference between what we were told about WMDs and what’s been found.

The gap raises serious questions about whether the Bush Administration cherry-picked intelligence information.

Did the administration choose data to make a convincing argument for a course of action it wanted desperately to undertake for reasons that may not have been directly related to WMDs?

Was American intelligence Class A information, or something far less? If it was flawed, why was it flawed?

With the support of the nation, the Bush administration put American credibility and lives on the line. Its arguments and evidence garnered support for breaking ranks with other democratic nations and for sacrificing American lives. They were the basis for engaging in what will be a long, difficult and expensive occupation of a troubled country.

The administration must not simply brush off questions about the credibility gap. The answers could profoundly affect American foreign and domestic policies.

The president and his administration should welcome congressional hearings. Better yet, they could cut them short if they show up with the goods.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.