When pundits are asked to name the best Presidents of the 20th Century Harry S. Truman’s name always comes up. That is interesting because when he left office 56 years ago he had lower approval ratings than George W. Bush now has. Because he served only the unexpired term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman was eligible to run for a full term. His own party told him, “Don’t even think of it.” He and incoming President Dwight D. Eisenhower didn’t like each other. Compared with today’s cordiality between President Bush and President-elect Barack H. Obama that transition was worse than a cold shower.
How will history judge Bush? Many of us won’t be alive when the first verdict is in. He has made his share of mistakes but one issue for which most of the public blames Bush derives from the belief that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Retired Army Major General Jerry R. Curry, in spite of his exceptional achievements, military and academic, in his retirement has become partisan and, hence, controversial in some circles. However, his credibility seems strong.
General Curry has said on that matter history will judge differently because US operatives found a large stockpile of concentrated natural uranium (550 tons) in the heart of Bagdad. This is known as “yellowcake” and is evidence that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program designed to make weapons of mass destruction. US operatives had to sit on the information lest terrorists found out about it and tried to acquire the uranium. Ambassador Joseph Wilson denied Bush’s claim that Hussein wanted to buy “yellowcake” from Niger. Wilson had been told otherwise by a former Prime Minister of Niger, Assane Mayaki. Wilson did not give the report any credibility and insisted that there was no evidence that Iraq wanted to purchase yellowcake. British intelligence insisted Iraq did not seek yellowcake from Niger. Bush chose to ignore Wilson and cited British intelligence on the issue, and Wilson and his CIA wife, Valerie Plame, who sent him to Niger, were outraged. The media picked up on this story and Bush has paid dearly ever since. Bush could have had the last laugh with his critics when the yellowcake was discovered. Instead he has not said a word while the yellowcake was extracted from Iraq and passed through two continents before it safely reached Canada.
Bush has not acknowledged this transaction but the Associated Press has. General Curry said Bush put his country above his personal reputation. He said we can thank God Bush did what he did. Curry said Bush wanted to keep the information quiet because terrorists are still around Iraq. Curry went on to tell the whole story of Wilson and Plame, who pushed the line that Bush lied. They insisted that it was Karl Rove who outed her as a CIA operative and should go to jail for doing so. The leak, it turned out, came from Richard Armitage, another Bush opponent. Much of the public continues to believe that Bush was responsible for the leak, never mind that Plame had not been in the field as a CIA operative in six years.
Curry said, “Now that Saddam’s uranium has been made public, and is no longer a threat to the world, do you think these aforementioned parties will apologize and admit they were wrong? Don’t count on it.”