This item from the Daily Telegraph is, I think, very important:
“White House officials have reassured Republicans by signalling that America and Britain are prepared to release powerful intelligence evidence to cement the case for war against Iraq.
“Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, and Karl Rove, President George W Bush’s chief political strategist, have each indicated privately that the administration has proof that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.
“Mr Card received blunt warnings from conservative Republican senators last week that Mr Bush had to produce a much more concrete case for war if he hoped to keep public support.
“Senator Kit Bond of Missouri said more information should be released and asked: ‘What is the connection between Iraq and al-Qa’eda?’ According to sources at the private meeting, Mr Card is understood to have urged him: ‘Don’t worry.’
“Mr Rove is believed to have used similar language during private briefings to politicians in Washington.
“He strongly suggested that the Bush administration already possesses a piece of intelligence from the CIA or MI6 that would amount to the ‘smoking gun’ critics are calling for.”
Well, I hope so. The fact is that the Administration has so far done a poor job of explaining the priority being given to Iraq, and of linking Iraq to the broader war on terror. The American public, for the most part, trusts President Bush and has been willing to cut him slack on this, but if he can’t come through with a more powerful justification than has been presented so far, he will be in trouble. The President’s falling poll numbers reflect, I believe, that for the first time he is leaking support not only from the left, but from the right. That will change quickly if the Administration and the British come through with the promised intelligence.
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