On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam’s inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.
Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.
More confirmation of what we already knew from the Downing Street memo
Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
We also knew that Congress never had the same level of intelligence that was avaiable to the president. What Congress received was watered down to suit an administration policy toward Iraq that was already written in stone. Bush’s talk about “his” success in Anbar is just more of the same, some distortion mixed with lies, Anbar: Not a Success, and Irrelevant to the “Surge”
There’s also the question of who’s safe in Anbar, and why? There’s a rise of gangsterism in the heavily Shia south of Iraq, but for the most part, the real danger to Iraqis is sectarian conflict, mostly between Shia and Sunni. But as defense analyst Anthony Cordseman says, Anbar is an anomaly. The White House has made a big deal about the drop in violence in Anbar cities like Ramadi. But there was never much reason to expect sectarian violence within Ramadi, as it’s a city of 200,000 with a tiny—3,000—Shiite population. Just because there’s not much sectarian violence in Anbar doesn’t mean it’s safe for Shia; it probably means that in almost exclusively Sunni Anbar, there aren’t enough of both Sunni and Shia to have serious sectarian violence.
Should, by some wild fluke of luck a Republican should be elected president in 2008 they might want to consider hiring Bush as their Minister of Propaganda. At this point he doesn’t even work at it, he opens his mouth and the fact less garbage just flows out like flood. Its possible that he can’t stop himself. Bush and his supporters have become as addicted to spinning yarns and distorting reality as addicts to crack. There are reasons lies matter. One is the cried wolf consequences. This administration and its dead end war supporters tell us everyday that we’re going to die if we don’t tow the ideological line of the fringe Right. It wears thin, it smacks of paranoia and insecurity and welcomes the cynicism that was sure to follow. That is a shame, because something might really happen, facts may support the assertions, yet we all look at the Right’s track record of fabrication and embellishment and yawn. What if Iran is acting in a way that deserves a limited military response. Most Americans, including a good number of Republicans are not going to support that response. This phenomenon is as old as the cry wolf faerie tale so there is no excuse for the Right not to be aware of it, yet they continue to think of beating the wars drums at every turn as a way to salvage the disgrace into which they have dragged the Conservative movement, not out of genuine or rational concern for our national security. More Iran Drumbeats
The same careful dishonesty about sources is apparent in the much-touted document “Iran’s Proxy War against the United States and the Iraqi Government” by Kimberley Kagan and jointly published by the newly-formed Institute For the Study Of War (of which she appears to be the only employee) and Kristol’s Weekly Standard. Her citation for several of her accusations against Iran is a TIME article by Michael Ware – an apparently unbiased source – but she neglects to mention that Ware’s article itself is based on a U.S. intelligence document mysteriously and conveniently leaked to TIME. Other than that, it’s military statements and stenography of Bush administration leaks by the likes of Michael Gordon.
While the Right has given the U.S. military a battering we still have plenty of bombs and missiles left. Enough to turn Iran into a giant sandbox so why all the frantic arm flailing and strident calls for military strikes now based on intelligence that follows the remarkably similar pattern as what the Bushies sold to the nation about Iraq.