Richard Cohen in Slate:
I ask this question in (almost) all seriousness, not in any way to promote the latest Bond movie, Casino Royale, nor the new book on Bond by Simon Winder, The Man Who Saved Britain, but merely to suggest that it was Bond—James Bond—who came to mind the night of Jan. 28, 2003, when George W. Bush, addressing the Congress, the American people, and the whole world, said those now infamous 16 words: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” By British government, he was speaking, of course, of Bond.
At the time, I did not give much thought to how Bond got this information, but I supposed it entailed a killing or two, a fast car, a gorgeous woman of situational morality, and a lethal gizmo provided by Q. Of course, I knew that it was not literally Bond who discovered that Saddam had gone shopping in Africa, but the fact that it was the British government that came up with the goods gave Bush’s assertion unimpeachable authority. You need only ask yourself what the effect would have been if Bush had cited the Italian government or the Russian government or even the Israeli government, which could be seen as an interested party. “The Italian government has learned …” We’d still be laughing.