Monday :: Oct 4, 2004

Bush's Iraqi Deception

by Mary

Lately the news has been once more filled with reports on how the Bush administration had information long before the war that disputed their statements about the threat posed by Iraq. The Bush administration deceived the US into the war by stating that Iraq was an "imminent" threat to the United States because Saddam was close to building nuclear weapons. This was based on two assertions: 1) Saddam had been trying to acquire fissionable material and 2) aluminum tubes intercepted on the way to Iraq were to be used in centrifuges to refine nuclear material.

Much of this information was known long ago and even discussed before the war started, but most Americans didn't see this information because the reports were never acknowledged by the first tier papers nor the more influential TV shows.

So why are we seeing these new stories reported in the media? Perhaps this is the ultimate revenge on the Bush administration from the intelligence community. As the NY Times said (emphasis mine):

The absence of unconventional weapons in Iraq is now widely seen as evidence of a profound intelligence failure, of an intelligence community blinded by "group think," false assumptions and unreliable human sources.

Yet the tale of the tubes, pieced together through records and interviews with senior intelligence officers, nuclear experts, administration officials and Congressional investigators, reveals a different failure.

Far from "group think," American nuclear and intelligence experts argued bitterly over the tubes. A "holy war" is how one Congressional investigator described it. But if the opinions of the nuclear experts were seemingly disregarded at every turn, an overwhelming momentum gathered behind the C.I.A. assessment. It was a momentum built on a pattern of haste, secrecy, ambiguity, bureaucratic maneuver and a persistent failure in the Bush administration and among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to ask hard questions.

Those who followed this story through the reporting of Knight-Ridder's Landay and Stobel will find the NY Times article covers much of the same ground they covered since before the war started. And certainly much of what the NY Times article says was known last year when I put together the Iraq Timeline which has links to many of the reports and articles that the NY Times describes.

One new piece of information for me in this article was how much tension there was between the intelligence groups who backed either the tubes or the Niger evidence. The NIE developed before the vote to give Bush authorization to use force had the various intelligence agencies agreeing that there might be evidence that Saddam was reconstituting his nuclear program, but disagreeing on the validity of the other group's evidence used to back that assertion.

The estimate would instead emphasize that the C.I.A. and the Energy Department both agreed that Mr. Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. Only the closest reader would see that each agency was basing its assessment in large measure on evidence the other considered suspect.

When the Senate Intelligence Committee began to go through the evidence, they were decidedly unhappy with how poor the quality of intelligence was for justifying this war.

Today, the Intelligence Committee's report makes clear, that 93-page estimate stands as one of the most flawed documents in the history of American intelligence. The committee concluded unanimously that most of the major findings in the estimate were wrong, unfounded or overblown.

This was especially true of the nuclear section.

...Yet as they studied raw intelligence reports, those involved in the Senate investigation came to a sickening realization. "We kept looking at the intelligence and saying, 'My God, there's nothing here,' " one official recalled.

As I've noted before, those who voted to grant Bush authorization to use force have every right to be angry at the betrayal of this President for his lies. And President Bush lied outrageously during the debate when he said Kerry had the same information as he did. Not so.

BUSH: My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat.

He also said in December of 2003 that anyone who doubts that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein does not have the judgment to be president.

The one who does not have the judgment to be president is the one who believes lying to the Congress, lying to the American public and lying to the world is okay when one wants to get his war on.

The Bush administration continues to brazen out the exposure of their deception. Condi Rice, the worst NSA ever, told the Sunday talk shows that she still stood behind the decision to go to war. I'm sure the families of the 1060 Americans that have died in Bush's war of choice would agree. Perhaps someday she might clue people into why exactly did we have to go to war in March 2003 since Iraq wasn't exactly an imminent threat?

Nevertheless, it is good that the "first-tier" press is finally doing its job and showing how duplicitous the Bush administration has been regarding taking the country into this quagmire. Because it is important that the American public be aware of their president's betrayal when they go to the polls in 30 days.

Mary :: 1:06 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!