No, Bush Was Not Misled by Bad Intelligence

As the question of whether the Republican presidential candidates would have ordered the invasion of Iraq given what we know now becomes the must-answer question of the day, all of the candidates are quick to say that Bush was misled by bad intelligence in making his decision. David Corn debunks that nonsense.

Here are a few examples of how Bush and Cheney cooked the books:

  • In an August 2002 speech that kicked off the administration’s campaign for war against Iraq, Cheney asserted, “Simply stated, there’s no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” But earlier in the year, Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had told Congress that Iraq possessed only “residual” amounts of WMD. There was no confirmed intelligence at this point establishing that Saddam had revived a major WMD operation. As Cheney made this claim, Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command, was on the stage. He was stunned to hear Cheney say that Iraq was actively pursuing WMD. As he laterrecalled, “It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn’t believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program.” In other words, bad intelligence did not cause Cheney to make this categorical, bold, and frightening statement. He just did it.
  • In September 2002, Cheney insisted there was “very clear evidence” Saddam was developing nuclear weapons: Iraq’s acquisition of aluminum tubes that were to be used to enrich uranium for bombs. But Cheney and the Bush White House did not tell the public that there was a heated dispute within the intelligence community about this supposed evidence. The top scientific experts in the government had concluded these tubes were not suitable for a nuclear weapons program. But one CIA analyst—who was not a scientific expert—contended the tubes were smoking-gun proof that Saddam was working to produce nuclear weapons. The Bush-Cheney White House embraced this faulty piece of evidence and ignored the more-informed analysis. Bush and Cheney were cherry-picking—choosing bad intelligence over good—and not paying attention to better information that cut the other way.
  • Cheney repeatedly referred publicly to a report that maintained that 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta had met secretly in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer—even though the CIA and FBI had dismissed this allegation. This is a damning example of Cheney citing discredited intelligence to score points. Intelligence experts had said there was nothing to this tale, but Cheney kept on mentioning the alleged Atta-Iraq connection to suggest Iraq was involved with the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 Commission later reconfirmed that this report of a Prague meeting was bunk.
  • The Atta allegation was part of a wider effort mounted by the Bush-Cheney administration to link Saddam to 9/11. In November 2002, Bush said Saddam “is a threat because he’s dealing with Al Qaeda.” Weeks earlier, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had claimed he had “bullet-proof” evidence that Saddam was tied to Osama bin Laden. In March 2003, Cheney asserted that Saddam had a “long-standing relationship” with Al Qaeda. The intelligence did not show this. As the 9/11 Commission later concluded, there had been no intelligence confirming significant contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Once again, Bush and Cheney were not being fooled by flawed intelligence; they were were pushing disinformation.
  • At a press conference at the end of 2002, Bush declared, “We don’t know whether or not [Saddam] has a nuclear weapon.” He clearly was suggesting that Saddam might already possess these dangerous weapons. Yet no intelligence at the time indicated that the Iraqi dictator had by then developed such weapons. The administration also insisted Saddam had been shopping for uranium in Africa, even though the intelligence on this point was dubious.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld weren’t given bad information by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, they pressured those agencies and distorted their findings in order to build a dishonest marketing campaign for the war. The notion that Saddam Hussein was even a remote threat to this country in 2003 is patently ridiculous.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    The notion that Saddam Hussein was even a remote threat to this country in 2003 is patently ridiculous.

    Sure, but what about 2004? 2005? 2006? We had to step in because we couldn’t take the chance that he’d continue to not be a threat.

  • gshelley

    IIRC, Blair did something very similar in the UK with the Intelligence there

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    In a way, they’re right. He was mislead by bad intelligence. His intelligence, that is.

  • raven

    Rocky Squirrel: Oh Bullwinkle, that trick never works.

    As much as I admire Rocky the flying squirrel, he didn’t get this quite right.

    We did the same thing with the Vietnam war. The Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

    And then we did it again with Iraq II. And it worked for a while at least.

  • busterggi

    This has to be frustrating, the Repubs have worked so hard on pretending the Bush administration never existed.

  • https://www.facebook.com/metaburbia David Jones

    he notion that Saddam Hussein was even a remote threat to this country in 2003 is patently ridiculous.

    [Weapons inspector David] Kelly believed it was most likely that Iraq had retained some biological weapons after the end of inspections

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1032698,00.html

    I and most others always thought Iraq had something in the WMD line;

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1032698,00.html

  • zevonsky72

    For all those people who have forgotten what happened in the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003, the Frontline episode “Bush’s War” is a must-see. There is no question that the Bush White House was determined to build a case for war.

    What’s more, I was an intern at the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in early 2003. I can assure you, by January 2003, more than two months before the war began, it was understood by everyone there that the White House had already decided to launch the war, and that Colin Powell would be a bit player at best. All that was left was a final pretext and a timetable that would allow the war to be completed before the Iraqi summer.

  • k_machine

    Policy dictates intelligence, not the other way around. It’s always like this. If the intelligence syncs up with the policy, you’ll have the illusion of intelligence dictating policy. An Iraqi defector (later murdered by Iraq) told the US that Iraq destroyed its WMD programs in the 90s, but they choose to tout “Curveball” instead.

    @6 That there were remnants of the Iraqi weapons programs after the Gulf War was never in question. The question was if Iraq was actively pursuing them and had active weapons programs aimed at attacking the West. Which it did not. Besides you need America’s backing if you’re going to use WMDs: Iraq got the green light to use them against Iran and Iraqi Kurdish rebels. In the Gulf War Iraq did not, because that would’ve been suicide.

  • colnago80

    Bottom line, Bush and Cheney lied us into war. End of story.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    I think Britain and ‘Murka were sitting back reminiscing about that time they overthrew the elected Iranian government in 1953 on bullshit pretenses and thought about how fun it would be blasting up that country’s next door neighbors in 2003 on bullshit pretenses, and how it would give them the excuse to set matches to lots of explodey things for a by-gawd awesome diamond anniversary celebration.

    Oh, and to establish a “democratic government” in the Middle East. Wink, wink.

  • llewelly

    Now we have this:

    Jeb Bush:

    Al Qaeda in Iraq was wiped out when my brother was president.

    tpm .

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    @ 11

    In the same sense that the Martian ant-men in Tokyo were wiped out when James Madison was president.

  • favog

    When ever I get the whole “there was no way for them to know there were no WMDs”, my response is to ask how then it was that I personally knew? And further I knew that the Bush administration did in fact know, because even they couldn’t be stupid enough to know that if Saddam Hussein had them, and was told we’re coming on a deadline to take them, at T minus an hour, or a day, I don’t know what unit it would actually be, he’s not going to hand them over — he will then use them. ALL of them. On us, and on any other enemy he has. I could also see it in the fact that the very day the invasion started, when all of a sudden there was no longer any talk of WMDs, now it was all about how nice we’re being in liberating the Iraqi people. It was plain as day from the very beginning.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    The administration also insisted Saddam had been shopping for uranium in Africa, even though the intelligence on this point was dubious.

    Yeah, I also seem to recall that after a diplomat was sent to Niger to investigate such claims, and he came back stating that there was nothing to them, the administration retaliated against him by outing a covert CIA agent who was his wife, thus endangering her life and ending her career. Remember that one? Fun times!

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld weren’t given bad information by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, they pressured those agencies and distorted their findings in order to build a dishonest marketing campaign for the war.

    AND those agencies went along with it.

    Powell didn’t say “Wait, this is bullshit!”

    CIA analysts didn’t whisper to the press, “Hey, this is bullshit!”

    Tenet didn’t resign in protest

    Congress went along with it.

    Do not let that horrible mistake be scapegoated onto Darth Cheney and Bubba Blockhead — the entire Washington establishment went along with it, including Congress. The intelligence committee that just swallowed a bucket of codswallop from Cheney without complaining about its taste? They’re all fucking guilty. If you point the finger just at Cheney and/or Bush you’re letting all the other fuckers off a bit too lightly. Next thing you know we’ll be thinking Hitler personally loaded people into train cars and extermination camps…

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    An Iraqi defector (later murdered by Iraq) told the US that Iraq destroyed its WMD programs in the 90s, but they choose to tout “Curveball” instead.

    One interesting and provocative theory that I always thought was quite plausible is that Saddam may have also thought he had some WMD programs. It’s just quite possible that the level of corruption in Iraq was so high that the money being spent on WMD R&D was being Halliburtoned. At the very least that theory could well explain some of the Iraqi response — imagine if the US was suddenly asked to try to identify where and how its stockpiles of WMD had been destroyed…. Oh, wait, you don’t have to imagine! The US has something like 60 tons of chemical weapons that are lost … presumably destroyed. But, well, who knows, it’s complicated. The good news is that we know where our supplies of smallpox are. Mostly. Except for the ones that occasionally crop up at universities. If the US were pressured to tell all about its WMD programs, the result would be a bigger dog’s breakfast than the response Iraq submitted.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “All that was left was a final pretext and a timetable that would allow the war to be completed before the Iraqi summer.”

    Did they say which summer?

    Marcus Ranum:

    You are correct but lets remember that the sharpening the knife of the guillotine is a lost art and we don’t want to give them firing squads.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    Do not let that horrible mistake be scapegoated onto Darth Cheney and Bubba Blockhead — the entire Washington establishment went along with it, including Congress. The intelligence committee that just swallowed a bucket of codswallop from Cheney without complaining about its taste? They’re all fucking guilty. If you point the finger just at Cheney and/or Bush you’re letting all the other fuckers off a bit too lightly.

    I also think a finger needs to be pointed at Christopher Hitchens, who was well respected at that point (the build up to the war) as a Leftist who knew a lot about the Middle East and had eloquently opposed the Gulf War. He became one of the Iraq War’s chief intellectual cheerleaders, and continued to support it long after the point that the emperor’s nudity was recognized by everybody else.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    sharpening the knife of the guillotine is a lost art

    They work fine when they’re dull, actually.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Lady Mondegreen@#18 I also think a finger needs to be pointed at Christopher Hitchens

    That’s my point: the blame should go to everyone who supported it.

    Growing up, I was indoctrinated with the idea that Hitler caused WWII. Hitler and some Japanese guy and maybe an Italian. But Germany and Austria, you know, were sort of magically controlled by Hitler and a few bad guys, and …. well, the story mostly ends there. Of course we know now that the majority of the civilian populace supported what was going on. All those guys in uniform, not just the guys in the black uniforms with deaths’ heads, went along with it. It’s amazing how much Hitler was able to accomplish, given that he (and maybe Eichmann and Goering and Himmler) were pretty much working alone, isn’t it?

    The Iraq war, like the Vietnam war (remember that one? That was all MacNamara’s fault. And some frenchies. And maybe Johnson and …. Well, it was all their fault. Johnson and MacNamara were up really late one night digging the Gulf of Tonkin, or something. And of course Kissinger helped. But all the other assholes who supported it? Blameless.

    That’s what’s nuts to me about how humans deal with this shit. I guess it’s because, what, otherwise we’d have to say “deep rifts” whenever one of our old friends who supported the atrocity comes along and wants to talk about the weather or something. I was a huge fan of Hitchens before the war, but, seriously, afterwards I wouldn’t have given him the time of day. I think humans just have a great big memory hole that we throw this kind of shit down, so that we can all kind of get along after we’re done killing eachother.

  • llewelly

    Area Man:

    … the administration retaliated against him by outing a covert CIA agent who was his wife, thus endangering her life and ending her career.

    Yep. And what was Valerie Plame Wilson’s career? Monitoring potential proliferation of nuclear materials. That was the operation they trashed.

    The message was clear: Try to interfere with the promotion of lies about WMDs, and we’ll be so eager to retaliate we won’t even consider that actual legitimate intelligence operations about WMDs would be sabotaged.

    But Libby’s sentence got commuted, so it must be ok to leak the names of CIA officers involved in important operations, provided the leaking is done in order to retaliate against those who object to lies.

  • dingojack

    What was that sign that used to sit on the US President’s desk, ‘The buck stops here’?

    Dingo

  • corporal klinger

    German satirist Volker Pispers. I would be very interested to read what you think.

    https://youtu.be/AdIkTNnnBFo

  • corporal klinger

    Sorry, I thought I was only posting the link to YouTube

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    This is not the first time someone has said this. The difference now is that some of the US public and media lapdogs are listening. But will anyone admit that the US has war criminals and turn them over for prosecution? Nice fantasy, but I doubt it.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/31/the-gloating-of-the-neocons/

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    @15:

    AND those agencies went along with it.

    Powell didn’t say “Wait, this is bullshit!”

    CIA analysts didn’t whisper to the press, “Hey, this is bullshit!”

    Tenet didn’t resign in protest

    Congress went along with it.

    Do not let that horrible mistake be scapegoated onto Darth Cheney and Bubba Blockhead — the entire Washington establishment went along with it, including Congress.

    This is all true. But it misses the reason why the Washington establishment went along with it. The administration bullied everyone into it, and it quickly became easier for everyone to go along than to endure the constant abuse they were in for if they dared expressed skepticism. To take these in order:

    1. Powell actually did say “this is all bullshit!” when briefed on what to say to the UN, though not publicly of course. But the administration made it clear what his orders were. And like a good solider, he followed them.

    2. Everyone paying attention knew that the intelligence agencies didn’t really buy what was being sold. There were lots of such “leaks”. But the administration simply drowned them out (with the aid of a cowed and compliant press). And as the Plame affair showed, they were prepared to extract revenge on anyone who said the wrong thing, even for the most petty of reasons.

    3. Tenet was a coward, no question about that. He may well have been the most heavily bullied man by the administration. They repaid his loyalty by turning him into a scapegoat and firing him when everything fell apart.

    4. Even the senior Republican leadership in Congress expressed utter bewilderment when told that war with Iraq was on the agenda. But the Bush administration had long since made it clear that Congress was not to act as an independent branch of government, but as an extension of the administration’s will. Nevertheless, a majority of Democrats in both houses voted against authorization, as did a few brave Republicans. Didn’t matter. Bush even explicitly said he didn’t need Congress’s authorization. So…they either went along with something that was going to happen anyway, or they hung their necks out.

    So yeah, with few exceptions no one covered themselves in glory here, and the press in particular was amazingly cowardly, but let’s be clear about what happened. This was entirely an administration project. With the exception of their lackeys in the right-wing hate-o-sphere, nearly everyone thought the whole idea was crazy until it became a fait accompli, at which point everyone was giving the choice of either having the administration attack them mercilessly and publicly question their patriotism, or just give up and go with it. You can accuse everyone for rolling over, but not for having created the condition in the first place.

  • laurentweppe

    To be fair, had the American people wanted to be led by good intelligence, they’d have voted for the other guy in 2000.

    Oh Wait!, they did vote for the other guy in 2000.

  • Nick Gotts

    There was of course a team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq at the time. That’s why it was so important to launch the invasion quickly – before Hans Blix could correctly report that there was no WMD programme (which millions of us who protested against the war realised was almost certainly the case). But I must admit to being surprised that the invaders were unable to find anything that could credibly be represented as representing an existing or potential chemical weapons threat.

  • https://www.facebook.com/metaburbia David Jones

    @Nick Gotts, there was a team of weapons inspectors – who’d been in, who’d left because they were being denied access, who’d gone in again….and one of their number, David Kelly, thought there were WMDs.

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0

  • https://www.facebook.com/metaburbia David Jones
  • StevoR

    For the record :

    http://www.freedomagenda.com/iraq/wmd_quotes.html

    Bush and the neo-cons sure weren’t the only ones’ fooled.

    The decision to invade Iraq was wrong and has been catastrophic in its consequences on the world.

    Also Saddam Hussein really was a genocidal douchebag piece of shit. Who here will dispute that?

    The war -and more notably the occupation of Iraq – could’ve ended so much better had different decisions been made and a lot of the parties in the conflict including the Iraquis as well as the Americans behaved and thought better.

    Can’t turn back time. Got to deal with the situation we’ve got which lately has been, I think (& ok, hey, yes, I could be wrong), more down to events in Syria than Iraq itself.

    I’ve expressed my views on this on a couple of previous thread when it comes to Jindal and Jeb Bush’es answers to this questions.

    But summed up, war in Iraq was wrong, Saddam Hussein still a douchebag who the world is better off without and whole situation is just fouled up totally and awful for all. I’m so fucking glad I don’t live there and my sympathies – quite sincerely – to anyone who does. What a nightmare with no good end in sight.

    Blaming and asking about the past, well,maybe we can learn from it, maybe, likely we won’t.

    But what do we do now?

    Okay, yes, not invading Iran and repeating mistakes there or anywhere else I’ll agree before anyone says it – but I’m meaning about Iraq? Maybe the world should never have created Iraq in its present form to begin with. I don’t know and won’t claim to. Its up to them.

    FWIW,My best guess split Iraq up. Definitely, let the Kurds have a nation of their own which is de facto reality now anyway, let the Shia and Sunni groups there have their own lands too perhaps if they don’t threaten harm to others and the utter murderous evil that is Daesh (IS-IL/S) need to be beaten, somehow, ASAP. But without too many dead if it can be at all avoided. If yo think I’m wrong then please tell us all what your better alternative is .. Not that anyone who matters is likely to read it here and then implement it because of this thread but still, who knows?

  • dingojack

    Stevo – re: The (putative) partition of Iraq.

    Giving the Kurds a separate homeland* will go down so well with our (sometime) ally, Turkey. Too bad we need their airspace, personnel and political support.

    (Real world politics is, most often, complicated).

    Dingo

    ———

    * If today it’s the Kurds, will tomorrow be for the Armenians, the day after the Ossetians?

    And so on and so forth…

  • colnago80

    One of the reasons we are where we are in Iraq, where the only effective fighting forces are Shiite militias and the Peshmerga, is because the Iraqi Army was disbanded after the occupation of Iraq. Once again, the Obama Administration was handed a shit sandwich by the Bush Administration, as it was relative to the recession, from which, in considerable part due to obstruction of Rethuglicans in Congress, we are painfully slow in recovering from. This is in addition to the incompetent Malaki regime in Iraq which did nothing to reconstitute a decent armed force and relied on Shiite militias to keep it in power. Of course, we have the events taking place in Syria where a supposedly decent armed force, the Syrian Army, appears to be incapable of defeating the ISIL which just captured the town of Palmyra. The Obama Administration is under heavy fire from the neo-cons for not doing something about the situation in Syria, although what they propose, committing US ground troops, is totally idiotic. Having yet to learn the lesson of Vietnam and Iraq, they are like the Bourbons who ran France before the revolution. They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

  • raven

    Jeb Bush: It’s ‘Just Really Arrogant’ To Say The Science Is Decided On Climate Change

    By Steve HollandBEDFORD, N.H., May 20 (Reuters) – Republican Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that the Earth’s climate is changing but that

    Almost on topic. It’s official. Jeb Bush is a dumb as his brother. The next data point is above.

    St. Augustine’s flooding problems getting worse …

    jacksonville. com/…/2015…/st-augustines-flooding-problems-getting-wor…

    St. Augustine’s centuries-old Spanish fortress sits feet from the encroaching … The city relies on tourism, but visitors might someday have to wear waders at high tide. … As sea levels rise, Florida’s coastal communities feel it.

    Jeb Bush is a Florida resident and former Florida governor. Florida is already having problems from sea level rise. They are already spending many millions of dollars dealing with it.

    All the GOP clowns are doing the same thing. Echoing the party line word for word without once having a real thought. A parrot could do the same.

    I imagine senator Marco Rubio, also from Florida, will have some evasive nonanswer to the same question.

  • raven

    One of the reasons we are where we are in Iraq, where the only effective fighting forces are Shiite militias and the Peshmerga, is because the Iraqi Army was disbanded after the occupation of Iraq.

    True. It’s even worse.

    1. The current Iraqi national army is completely incompetent. Everyone from the top generals on down to the lowest private is someone’s buddy. It’s a corrupt conduit for patronage money. I’m not even sure most of the soldiers ever show up or have ever had…military training.

    2. Which is odd. Iraq has seen continuous warfare since the Iranian-Iraq war of the early 1980’s. There should be millions of people who have had both military training and combat experience.

    So where are they? Who knows. But we do know they aren’t part of…the Iraqi army.

  • StevoR

    @33. dingojack : Yep. Turkey’s attitude to the Kurdish people leaves a whole lot to be desired. They’ll have to just lump it if notilike it I guess. There’s a lot to admire about Turkey and its history and culture (Kemal Ataturk is a hero of mine) but their treatment of the Kurds is certainly not on that list and the Kurds deserve and have earnt far better.

  • StevoR

    D’oh! Make that : The Turks will have to just lump it if not like it I guess.

    http://journals.worldnomads.com/stowaway/photo/53/72589/Turkey/Gallipoli-Memorial-at-Anzac-Cove-by-Ataturkbr-andquotThose-heroes-that-s

    This = some of the finest and best words e’er spoken I reckon! That’s one big reason along with his secularisation and modernisation program why I really admire Kemal Attaturk. I wish Turkey hadn’t slid backwards so far from his position.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …Saddam Hussein still a douchebag who the world is better off without…

    Given the utterly appalling amount of ethnic strife, bloodshed and destruction of civil institutions that’s been happening in that region since Saddam was overthrown, your claim is not only ignorant and lazy, it’s downright irresponsible. Are you really saying that the bloody charlie-foxtrot we’re seeing in that region — a state of chaotic tribal war that so far shows no sign of ending — is BETTER than how things would have looked under Saddam’s continued rule? Better for the Iraqi people? Better for the Syrians? Better for the USA?

    And do you really think that any of the people currently in charge of either of the belligerent parties in that region are less “douchebaggy” than Saddam? Is there some militia or faction leader you’d like to point out as a better leader than Saddam? If so, who? I guess Iran and the Shiite militias look pretty good right now, if only in comparison to ISIL…are they the folks you want to see replacing Saddam as rulers of Iraq?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Blaming and asking about the past, well, maybe we can learn from it, maybe, likely we won’t.

    The standard dodge of the ignorant, uncaring chickenhawk after the war he advocated proved so disastrously dead-wrong.

    I gotta hand it to you, StevoR, your latest blathering rationalizations have now made your fellow Likudnik Chickenhawk colnago look downright sensible and compassionate. As your fellow neocon warmonger George W. Bush used to say, you’re doing a HECKUVA job!

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #39

    Hey, I’m a sensible guy except when it comes to Israel. In this regard, my attitude is much like that of Jason Rosenhouse.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Hey, at least you’re admitting your position WRT Israel is not sensible. That’s a huge step forward for you. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

  • dingojack

    The fact is Stevo that giving someone a homeland of their own has the risk (sometimes great, sometimes not) of creating a rush of ‘me-too-ism’ and this makes established states very nervous (especially if they are well known for brutally oppressing any attempt to create such a homeland). This is particularly true in the Middle-East.

    Geo-politics on this scale is something to big and too dangerous to leave to demagogues, flag-wavers, chicken-hawks, gung-ho generals and the like. It needs quiet, patient, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, sadly, for democracies particularly, this is not regarded as being ‘a vote-winner’.

    Dingo

  • M. L.

    It makes no sense to act like what that person thought was relevant to what the Bush administration knew or should have known and whether it lied about such things. The information he had access to would have been vastly more limited than that of the Bush administration because he wasn’t the entire intelligence community and was never a part of any UK intelligence agency regardless of working with it as an advisor. The various intelligence agencies spent most of it explaining why everything the Bush administration was cherry picking was misleading and dubious while intelligence agencies had everything they were saying contrary to that ignored. The Bush administration didn’t say that it was most likely they had continued having biological weapons after inspections ceased. They said there were mobile biological weapons labs, attempting to buy yellow cake uranium, they didn’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud, and many more things that they guy you are linking to would say was full of shit in much more polite words.

    And nothing about those articles show that the Bush administration didn’t lie or at least bullshit (in that he didn’t care if they were true or not) in various ways that are now extremely obvious thanks to declassified information. The guy’s reasoning is actually very different from everything the administration provided to justify the Iraq War which went well beyond anything he was claiming as well as what the intelligence agencies were telling the administration. The most obvious one was the yellow cake uranium. That was either an outright lie or ignoring everybody, including people sent to investigate such a possibility, and simply going with whatever would support the Iraq War justifications. Heck, the guy you are linking to shows some of the lies like the mobile biological weapons labs that he explained couldn’t be biological weapons labs as well as many others in the intelligence community. But the Bush administration ignored this and brought it up as good evidence. There are numerous other instances of this sort of thing. Saying they could have made the case for WMDs without lies doesn’t mean they weren’t basing it on a ton of lies. For example, repeatedly connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda despite the intelligence community explicitly telling them there are no real links. This has all been well documented over the years. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline

    But even talking about the actual justifications proffered is weird because this isn’t a case where evidence they grossly misinterpreted led them to thinking war is necessary. This is a case where the desire to go to war wasn’t based on intelligence but on desiring to go to war leading to looking for justifications. This is actually fairly clear from the background stuff released over the years since then. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld’s Deputy Paul Wolfowitz were longstanding advocates of invading Iraq since before the Bush administration and even contributed to an article saying Iraq should be invaded so the US could “play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security” The Bush administration in general already stated its interest in “liberating” Iraq. The justification had not yet turned to almost exclusively terroristic use of WMDs like it would after 9/11 but was usually more what the 2000 Republican party platform stated with “Republicans recognize that peace and stability in the Persian Gulf is impossible as long as Saddam Hussein rules Iraq.” This includes the Clinton administrations shit. The rationale provided for the bombings in 1998 involved WMDs, sure, but even that appears to have been more of a surface thing. I am not just talking about the allegations of Clinton using it to distract from the Lewinsky affair, but even then a lot of people pointed out how the targets had little to do with WMDs, including Brian Jones and William Morrison. More importantly, the Iraq Liberation Act called for at the same time was all about overthrowing Saddam and establishing democracy as its justifications. Al Qaeda committing the 9/11 terrorist attacks provided them with the opportunity to do what they were already wanting to do. Rumsfeld literally made a memo in November 2001 with the bullet point “how start?” with several justifications they might use. Again, all of this has been well covered over the years.