Once again the Bush administration and the president himself have been trapped in an intelligence snafu of major proportions. And they are in total denial.
Bush must have taken a course—"Turning Defeat Into Victory"—at Yale or the Harvard Business School. Rather than admit that the Bush inner circle had erroneously tried to frighten citizens over Iran's nuclear program, the president said nothing had really changed.
He even had the temerity, at his press conference, to warn Congress about a "gap in intelligence" if it did not renew authority for the National Intelligence Estimate by next February. The gaps in intelligence have already been demonstrated with the fiasco in Iraq.
Bush was dancing all around the Iranian issue to try to avoid any blame for scaring the nation about a potential World War III as recently as October. The president, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have repeatedly been warning about Iran's ability to make a nuclear weapon.
Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, compounded Bush's problems the day before with rope-a-dope moves that Muhammad Ali would admire. Hadley's message: Admit nothing.
There is no doubt Iran is led by a tinhorn dictator with some crazy ideas about the past and present.
But he does not have a nuclear program and hasn't had one for four years.
Bush even claimed that the latest NIE estimate was "a warning signal," ignoring altogether the essence of the report.
The international community will not take this report lightly. The attempt to isolate Iran from the world with sanctions has been damaged. But Bush refuses to believe it in his stubborn way.