NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM….Well, it looks like Josh Marshall was right: Bush has known about North Korea’s uranium enrichment program for more than a year. Bruce Moomaw emails to point out this story in yesterday’s Washington Post:

In November 2001, when the Bush administration was absorbed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, intelligence analysts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory completed a highly classified report and sent it to Washington. The report concluded that North Korea had begun construction of a plant to enrich uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons, according to administration and congressional sources.

….The findings of the Livermore report were confirmed in a June 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, a major assessment by the CIA and all other intelligence agencies. These reports are part of a complex and hidden trail of intelligence about the North Korean effort that has raised questions about why the Bush administration waited until early October 2002 to confront officials in the capital, Pyongyang, with the intelligence — and to go public several weeks later — when details had been accumulating for more than two years.

The Bushies no doubt have some good reasons for treating North Korea differently than Iraq, but this is one they’d probably rather keep quiet about. After all, how can you demand immediate action on the peninsula when this is a problem you’ve known about for a year and done nothing about?

This also puts the lie to is the administration’s continual insistence that they can handle multiple things at once. Don’t worry, we can invade Iraq and keep fighting al-Qaeda full tilt at the same time. We’re big boys.

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein may be the right thing to do, but it’s not without costs. Paying too little attention to problems elsewhere in the world may be one of them.

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