WaPo: Bush "substantiated by intelligence" – UPDATED

What a long, strange trip it’s been, and here, some years later, we finally get someone in the press to tell it straight: Bush did not lie.

There’s no question that the administration, and particularly Vice President Cheney, spoke with too much certainty at times and failed to anticipate or prepare the American people for the enormous undertaking in Iraq.

But dive into Rockefeller’s [Intelligence Committee] report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq’s nuclear weapons program? The president’s statements “were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates.”

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president’s statements “were substantiated by intelligence information.”

On chemical weapons, then?Substantiated by intelligence information.”

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? “Generally substantiated by intelligence information.” Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? “Generally substantiated by available intelligence.” Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? “Generally substantiated by intelligence information.”

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you’ve mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda “were substantiated by intelligence information.” Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaedawere substantiated by the intelligence assessments,” and statements regarding Iraq’s contacts with al-Qaedawere substantiated by intelligence information.” The report is left to complain about “implications” and statements that “left the impression” that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.
[,,,]
After all, it was not Bush, but Rockefeller, who said in October 2002: “There has been some debate over how ‘imminent’ a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can.” [all emphasis mine - admin]

One reads this and thinks…it’s really too bad that when this story of Dems on the Intel Committee plotting against Bush broke in 2003, the mainstream press ignored it, taking umbrage that anyone would leak a memo (!) and ignoring its content. Why, suddenly, is the WaPo deciding, after 5 years of supporting and promoting the “Bush lied” meme, to clarify?

1) Perhaps they see things improving so much in Iraq that there is going to be a slow turning around of the narrative – like turning around the Titanic – so that Democrats can stop pretending they never voted for the action, and get ready to claim a share in victory. Then it gives room to the presumed Democrat president to settle the Iraq matter with an American “presence” in Iraq – comparable to our presences in Germany, and elsewhere – so that he can get on with the business of “changing” America domestically. After all, the WaPo editorial board warned Obama just last week that he needed to update his thinking on Iraq.

2) Perhaps they see that the relentless pounding the press has given Bush for the last 5 years has impacted him negatively enough that there is no risk of his having any sort of rehabilitation, either in the polls or in history, and so they figure they can put away the flamethrowers.

3) Perhaps there are still some journalists who are more interested in telling the whole story than in framing and enshrining a narrative.

I want to believe it’s #3.

The article’s writer, Fred Hiatt, acknowledges that at this point, people will believe what they’ve been told for the past 5 years, and this report is unlikely to change anyone’s opinion on anything – we’re too far gone for that – the narratives have been erected in stone, but he writes:

…the phony “Bush lied” story line distracts from the biggest prewar failure: the fact that so much of the intelligence upon which Bush and Rockefeller and everyone else relied turned out to be tragically, catastrophically wrong.


The phony “Bush lied story line…

Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Say it with me: The phony “Bush lied story line…

There, in black and white, in The Washington Post. Imagine that. The Emily Litella Press says “nevermind”. I’m stunned. And even, a little…dare I be…hopeful.

Martin Luther King said that “a lie won’t stand forever.”

Bush did not lie. Others did – lots of others – but Bush did not lie. All he ever said was the same thing Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jay Rockefeller, John Kerry, John Edwards, Madeline Albright and so many others said, over, and over, and over. Either they were all lying, or none of them were, and our intelligence (and much of the world’s and the UN’s) was a catastrophic failure.

Let’s take any remaining steps available, to see that the intel is more reliable in future.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey fleshes the story out (Ed was, I think, perhaps the only person in America (besides Stephen Hayes) actually paying attention to the Iraq/AlQaeda links being discovered in the tens of thousands of documents out of Iraq). Also, read this from the New York Sun:

“We have hard evidence that al-Qaeda is operating in several locations in Iraq with the knowledge and acquiescence of Saddam’s regime.”

Guess who wrote that? If you have been following the Democratic Party’s narrative on Iraq, you might guess Ahmad Chalabi, Douglas Feith, Vice President Cheney or some neoconservatives hell bent on twisting intelligence to overstate the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But those words are from Carl Ford, assistant state secretary for intelligence and research, whose bureau was singled out for praise after the war for its dissenting assessment of Iraq’s nuclear program.

Martin Luther King was right.

Also, it might be difficult for President Lightworker to prosecute Bush for war crimes when his own party says…he didn’t lie.

Gateway Pundit – as ever – has more

UPDATE II: The Arkansas Democrat Gazette does a slash and burn on the Rockefeller report. Glorious stuff. H/T Ace – who never, ever links to me! :-)

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