President Bush’s State of the Union speech was a bit over 5,400 words long. The mainstream American media is focusing entirely on just 16.

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Those 16 words are now the core of a Democratic Party assault on the credibility of George Bush, calling those words everything from a “deliberate lie” to “erroneous information.”

Why so much attention to these 16 words? Leftists in politics and in the media somehow believe that they have finally found a magic political bullet they can use against George Bush in next year’s election. The “Bush stole the election” rant failed, Enron didn’t work, the “war for oil” line fell flat, and the “Bush is stupid” ploy only resonates among liberals. Plus, to the wrenching dismay of the left, most American now see that our economy is improving. Democrats are now acting as if their sole hope for a return to power rests with convincing the American people that Bush is a liar and that his lies cost the lives of American men and women in uniform in Iraq.

Consider, please, these additional lines I’ve pulled from Bush’s speech:

  • The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax.

  • The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.

  • Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

  • U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. (Some of these have actually been located.)

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon, and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

The left is attacking none of these allegations as lies. They’re ignoring these statements because they are true. What’s more, each and every one of the allegations from Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech listed above constitutes a more serious charge than the 16 words that the left has been obsessing over for the past few weeks. The truth contained in those five statements renders the “Saddam tried to buy uranium” charge almost meaningless. The American public would have easily accepted those facts as reason enough to remove Saddam Hussein.

So, do these 16 words meet the definition of a lie? To classify a statement as a lie the statement must be untrue. Furthermore, the person making the statement must know it to be untrue at the time the statement is made.

Actually, we don’t need to deal with the second element of proof, because the first element hasn’t been met. In spite of the bleatings from the leftist media establishment, Bush’s statement has not been shown to be untrue.

Remember, Bush did not say that Saddam had attempted to buy the uranium. His statement was “the British Government has “learned” that Saddam tried to buy the uranium. You may be surprised to know that Tony Blair’s government is standing by the claim to this day!

Last week Blair made the following statement to the British Parliament: “In the 1980s, Iraq purchased somewhere in the region of 200 or more tons of uranium from Niger. The evidence that we had that the Iraqi government had gone back to try to purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from so-called ‘forged’ documents; they came from separate intelligence.” This makes Bush’s infamous 16 words absolutely true.

What’s that? You say that this is the first time you’ve heard about Blair’s statement? No surprise there. Blair’s defense of British intelligence claims has been virtually ignored. As of the end of last week there had not been one mention of Blair’s statement to Parliament in any major U.S. newspaper or broadcast news network. You can select from two possible reasons the American press has ignored Blair’s words. On the one hand you can chose to believe that in spite of their vast resources, The New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and The Washington Post never learned of the contents of Blair’s statement to Parliament. On the other hand, if you’re more reality-based you can choose to believe that the media knew of Blair’s words, but didn’t want to publish them and see a vigorous anti-Bush story fall victim to the truth.

Leftists are desperate. Democrats haven’t been so completely removed from federal power in generations. This Democratic powerlessness translates to media powerlessness for much of the mainstream Washington and New York press corps. Remember, over 90 percent of the people who write and report the political news stories traditionally vote Democrat. Their continued support of the losing side now has them on the outside. Their desperation to reassume their insider status drives them to ignore the truth about Bush’s supposed “lies.”

This week we learned of new statements from Islamo-fascist clerics pledging to “bring America to its knees.” Let’s ignore this, though, and obsess over the magic 16 words in Bush’s State of the Union speech.

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