Now You Tell Me
I watched the HBO documentary "Left of the Dial" last night, about the rise, near-fall, and eventual rise of Air America Radio (I had no idea that it was that close to collapse). In it, Janeane Garofalo's conservative father Carmine, in a pre-election discussion about the war in Iraq, states that if he can find clear evidence that Bush and Cheney lied to get us into war, he wouldn't vote for them. Specifically, he said "if they don't find any WMD, that'd be my proof."
Well Carmine, here's that proof you were looking for.
How about "the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction"?
How about "A senior intelligence officer warned then-CIA Director George J. Tenet that he lacked confidence in the principal source of the assertion that Saddam Hussein's scientists were developing deadly agents in mobile laboratories... Mr. Tenet replied with words to the effect of 'yeah, yeah' and that he was 'exhausted,'"?
Dissent was silenced. The presupposition of WMD in Iraq was pushed forward. That's the answer. Not much in this report comes as news to those of us who expressed doubts about the validity of prewar intelligence. The new thing, as Magorn sagely writes, is the coverup:
Watch a cover-up unfold in plain sight and real time:
WMD Report footnote 830 to chapter 1: There is a separate issue of how policymakers used the intelligence they were given and how they reflected it in their presentations to Congress and the public. That issue is not within our charter and we therefore did not consider it nor do we express a view on it.
Senator Pat Roberts' (R-KS) Statement to the Press 3/31/05: "I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence," the Kansas Republican said. "I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to re-plow this ground any further."
Yep, total waste of time to look into anything else, like say, Whether the Intelligence was deliberately manipulated to start a war!
They drew out these reports long enough to outpace the outrage. They obfuscated the real issue (manipulation of prewar intelligence) by focusing solely on the intelligence gathering, and setting the manipulation issue outside of the boundaries of all the investigators. And then the report's commissioners have the audacity to state in a letter that:
"The commission found no indication that the intelligence community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. What the intelligence professionals told (the president) about Saddam Hussein's programs was what they believed. They were simply wrong."
...when that was COMPLETELY OUTSIDE THEIR JURISDICTION, and presumably not a part of their information-gathering process.
This is all a smokescreen. The idea was to place the blame on the CIA and the FBI while exonerating by silence the President, the Office of Special Plans, and the Pentagon. But what's in the report is damning enough. I just wish it had been out there in time for Novemebr '04.