Sanitized for your protection

By Tim Grieve
Published February 23, 2005 6:39PM (EST)

We're used to having the White House and its allies downplay bad news about Iraq, but this is something new: The Bush administration has deleted an entire chapter from a new report by the president's Council of Economic Advisers because the chapter painted a too-rosy picture of Iraq's economy.

The Washington Post has the story. The Post says there were all sorts of reasons for deleting the chapter: There was a turf war between the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Security Council, there were concerns that an analysis of Iraq's economy didn't belong in a report about the U.S. economy, and the White House says that the chapter may still be published in some form sometime in the future.

But "administration officials and economists" told the Post that those reasons capture only "part of the story." "Against a steady drumbeat of suicide bombings, assassinations, sabotage and mile-long gasoline lines, some White House staff members believed that such a positive take on the Iraqi reconstruction would undermine the White House's credibility," the Post reports.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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