In today's Boston Globe editorial:
WHEN IT comes to nonsolutions to the gasoline price run-up, the $100 rebate suggested by Senate Republicans takes the prize, but a close second is President Bush's plea to Congress to give him authority to change car fuel-efficiency standards. The country learned just how empty this gesture was when Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta admitted to Congress Wednesday that the president had no specific increase in the standard in mind and could promise no overall savings in fuel.
Contrast that with a proposal studied by the National Academy of Sciences just as the Bush administration was beginning. That study concluded that the auto industry then had the technological know-how to raise average efficiency from the currently mandated 27.5 miles per gallon to 33 miles in 10 years, without compromising on safety. If this standard were set now, by 2025 it would be saving the country 2.6 million barrels of oil a day, about 14 percent of our current daily oil consumption for all purposes.
Bush had the choice in 2001 to back the National Academy proposal as part of his energy plan. After Sept. 11 of that year, he could have presented this reform as a patriotic response to Islamic terrorism, which gets much of its funding indirectly from the oil revenues going to Mideast countries. If he had acted then, terrorists now might have less money and there would be less demand for oil pushing up prices at the pump.
It is bad enough that Mr. Rumsfeld and others did not tell Americans the full truth — to take the best-case situation — before the war. But they are still doing it. Just look at the profoundly twisted version of events that the defense secretary offered last week at a public event in Atlanta.
Ray McGovern, an analyst for 27 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, stood in the audience and asked why Mr. Rumsfeld lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The secretary shot back, "I did not lie." Then, even though no one asked about them, he said Colin Powell and Mr. Bush offered "their honest opinion" based on "weeks and weeks" of time with the C.I.A. "I'm not in the intelligence business," he said, adding, "It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there."
First, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Period. Second, neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Powell spent long weeks with the C.I.A., whose analysts were largely cut out of the decision making. And that was because, third, Mr. Rumsfeld was, and is, very much in the intelligence business.
The Defense Department controls most of the intelligence budget and is the biggest user of intelligence. Mr. Rumsfeld also set up his own intelligence agency within the Pentagon when the C.I.A. and the State Department refused to tell him what he wanted to hear about Iraq. It was that office's distortions that formed the basis for what the administration told Congress and the public.
In Atlanta, Mr. Rumsfeld denied ever saying flatly that there were dangerous weapons in Iraq. Actually, he did, many times, even as late as March 30, 2003. On Sept. 27, 2002, Mr. Rumsfeld said there was "bulletproof" evidence of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq, including that Iraq had trained Qaeda agents in chemical and biological warfare, and he repeated that myth in response to Mr. McGovern.