The whole argument seems to be that President Bush's administration had other reasons besides nuclear weapons for removing Saddam from power. They then had a tendency to use all supporting evidence to bolster their case against Saddam and discounted evidence that didn't help. An illegitimate government such as Saddam's has no right to continue its illegitimate rule so the only important debate is whether our National interest was served by removing Saddam. How advanced Saddam's nuclear program was is not really the key issue.
Here is what the NY Times says:
"The next month, Mr. Cheney told a group of Wyoming
Republicans the United States had 'irrefutable evidence' -
thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes
that the Bush administration said were destined for
clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were
seized at the behest of the United States."
Notice how the NY Times embeds two of Cheney's words in a long paraphrase. That is how you spin a quote. We need Cheney's whole quote to know what he said.
They also embed Rice's quote in a paraphrase: "The tubes were 'only really suited for nuclear weapons programs,' Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, asserted on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002.
They quote other things fully, but they embed in a paraphrase the most important quotes, the quotes that the article is about. That is a sign of spin.
When liberals embed a quote in a paraphrase, I always suspect spin. So I looked it up.
Here is a fuller version of Dr. Rice's quote"
There have been shipments of high-quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.... The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons, but we don't want the smoking gun to be
a mushroom cloud. [Washington Post, 7/16/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/03]
The quote was interested in is interrupted by ellipses (it could be a pause or missing words), and is not in the context of what she said before it. However, after that, you can clearly see that Dr. Rice is stating the tubes are NOT a smoking gun, and she is stating UNCERTAINTY. Now why would the NY Times imply that she was claiming the tubes meant nuclear certainty? Why would they leave her quote
about uncertainty out?
It seems some experts thought the tubes were used for a nuclear program and others thought they were not. And the NY Times gives no reason Rice should have sided with those who thought they were not used for nuclear weapons. She claimed uncertainty, what else could she have done?
The NY Times states: "Before Ms. Rice made those remarks, though, she was aware that the government's foremost nuclear experts had concluded that the tubes were most likely not for nuclear weapons at all, an examination by The New York Times has found. Months before, her staff had been told that these experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were probably intended for small artillery rockets."
She stated uncertainty.
Of course the Times does not tell us why SOME experts decided they were used for conventional weapons. Were the tubes usually suited for nuclear weapons, but were there other reasons SOME experts felt the tubes were used for conventional missiles while other did not?