Bushwacking the Truth

Fred Kaplan has an excellent piece up at Slate about the backstory to the current North Korean crisis. He uses a McCain campaign misstep to frame the article but the contents are pure history. This is a who did what, when kind of thing. (What won’t be written when the House Ethics Committee is finished investigating Mark Foley.)

The meat of the article is how the Agreed Framework, the US-North Korean arrangement, was bombed by the Bush administration.

The accord fell apart, but not for the reasons that McCain and others have suggested. First, the U.S.-led consortium never provided the light-water reactors. (So much for the wild claims I’ve heard lately that North Korea got the bomb through Clinton-supplied technology.) Congress never authorized the money; the South Koreans, who were led by a harder-line government than the one in power now, scuttled the deal after a North Korean spy submarine washed up on their shores.

Second, when President George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001, he made it clear, right off, that the Agreed Framework was dead and that he had no interest in further talks with the North Korean regime; his view was that you don’t negotiate with evil, you defeat it or wait for it to crumble.

Third, a few months into Bush’s term, evidence mounted that the North Koreans had been … not quite violating the Agreed Framework but certainly maneuvering around it. Confronted by U.S. intelligence data in October 2002, Pyongyang officials admitted that they’d been enriching uranium—an alternative route (though much slower than plutonium) to getting a bomb.

It should be noted that the bomb that the North Koreans set off on Sunday was apparently a plutonium bomb, not a uranium bomb. In other words, it was a bomb made entirely in Bush’s time, not at all in Clinton’s. [my emphasis]

The entire article is well worth the read. It puts most of the current Republican rhetoric into perspective. Especially Bush’s press conference on Wednesday.

Now, if someone would just wack Bush instead of bushwacking the truth.

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