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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Jim Vesely
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February 13, 2004

Response to Bush and WMD

In reaction to my column about President Bush and chemical-biological weapons, a reader objects to my statement that Bush “essentially admitted” in the Tim Russert interview that the weapons were not there.

The reader points out that Bush never made a flat admission, and that later he said weapons might yet be found in Iraq or elsewhere. "Per the records, Bush did NOT, and still has not, admitted any error,” the reader says. “How do you come to your conclusion in light of these facts?"

Here is my response: We're not dealing with facts here, but something more slippery: what to say publicly about tentative conclusions. If we insist on a flat admission, "I was wrong; the Weapons of Mass Destruction were not there," of course, Bush is not going to say that. In today's political world, he can’t. I conclude that he has "essentially" said that by no longer insisting the WMD are there.

When Russert says it appears the weapons are not there, Bush says, "Yeah," and does not immediately object. Later he comes back and says, "They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country." This is a flat admission that he is no longer claiming to know, which in my view is essentially the admission of error.

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at February 13, 2004 01:26 PM



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