Because of a weapons program that may not even have existed (and no one ever thought was far advanced) the White House got the North Koreans to restart their plutonium program and then sat by while they produced a half dozen or a dozen real nuclear weapons—not the Doug Feith/John Bolton kind, but the real thing.

It's a screw-up that staggers the mind. And you don't even need to know this new information to know that. Even if the claims were and are true, it was always clear that the uranium program was far less advanced than the plutonium one, which would be ready to produce weapons soon after it was reopened. Now we learn the whole thing may have been a phantom.

We used to have a deal, the Agreed Framework, that kept North Korea from getting plutonium. We supposedly discovered that they were cheating on that deal by enriching uranium....

If they didn't have a uranium program, then we scrapped the Agreed Framework, and let North Korea access its plutonium and build nuclear weapons, FOR NOTHING.
Robert Farley:

North Korea has nuclear weapons today because George W. Bush is a stupid, stupid man.

i wonder how this will turn out to be Clinton's fault...

Sometimes I think that when historians of the future write the history of the Bush administration, they will marvel at how the United States didn't just implode, with such a bunch of clowns running the place. Maybe the saving grace is the country's federal structure. If there weren't the extra layer of state governments able to keep some basic infrastructure going, the place might have collapsed like a soufflé already.
Me: When, on January 29, 2002, President Bush famously dubbed Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the Axis of Evil, I wasn't particularly concerned about any of their capacity to "threaten the peace of the world … pose a grave and growing danger … provide arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred … attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States." I'm concerned now.

Mind you, I'm not saying I thought these were countries led by well-intentioned men and filled with happy, well-fed, and content people who danced their days away alongside unicorns. I'm saying that I thought what threat the regimes in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea posed was regional—and mostly pointed at their own people, which, no matter how outrageous and deserving of our attention (*cough* Darfur *cough*), still isn't the same thing as an imminent threat to America. Or "the world."

Bush said, after identifying the axis of evil, that "the price of indifference would be catastrophic." Good thing we had Mr. Man O'Action at the helm then, eh?

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