President's smokescreen pretty easy to see through

Tuesday, July 8, 2003 at 12:00am

With Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction nowhere to be found, the president's Iraq talking points now center on the humanitarian upside of having ousted the Butcher of Baghdad. His speeches are liberally peppered with mentions of "mass graves" and encomiums to "freeing the people of Iraq from the clutches of Saddam Hussein." He's all but put on an Amnesty International T-shirt.

But, OK, let's say we take the president at face value and buy his new argument that ending humanitarian crises through military force is good foreign policy. Then how can he justify embarking on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa next week without including on his itinerary Congo and Liberia?

His five-day visit will include stops in Senegal, Botswana, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa

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