Unbelievable. After years of disastrous foreign policy towards DPRK, Administration officials pretty much admit they screwed the pooch. Back in October, I pointed out that the restarted nuclear program in North Korea was the result of Republican foreign policy. I also noted that the Administration was actively hoping for a nuclear test. And now, they acknowledge that they’ve been enablers of DPRK’s nuclear ambitions.
For nearly five years, though, the Bush administration, based on intelligence estimates, has accused North Korea of also pursuing a secret, parallel path to a bomb, using enriched uranium. That accusation, first leveled in the fall of 2002, resulted in the rupture of an already tense relationship: The United States cut off oil supplies, and the North Koreans responded by throwing out international inspectors, building up their plutonium arsenal and, ultimately, producing that first plutonium bomb.
But now, American intelligence officials are publicly softening their position, admitting to doubts about how much progress the uranium enrichment program has actually made. The result has been new questions about the Bush administration?s decision to confront North Korea in 2002.
?The question now is whether we would be in the position of having to get the North Koreans to give up a sizable arsenal if this had been handled differently,? a senior administration official said this week.
Answer: no, we would not.
The disclosure underscores broader questions about the ability of intelligence agencies to discern the precise status of foreign weapons programs. The original assessment about North Korea came during the same period that the administration was building its case about Iraq?s unconventional weapons programs, which turned out to be based on flawed intelligence. And the new North Korea assessment comes amid debate over intelligence about Iran?s weapons.
Two administration officials, who declined to be identified, suggested that if the administration harbored the same doubts in 2002 that it harbored now, the negotiating strategy for dealing with North Korea might have been different ? and the tit-for-tat actions that led to October?s nuclear test could, conceivably, have been avoided.
Morons. This administration is criminally inept, with a demonstrated history of fitting the facts around the policy. Is a recall election possible? I don’t know if we’ll survive another two years.
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