Saturday, July 10, 2004

The Fingerprints of Warmongering The GOP has done its best to spin the Senate Intelligence Report on the CIA into a document showing how the poor President was duped by his own intelligence agencies. This is primarily because the GOP is the majority and they were able to postpone the investigation of the White House use of intelligence until after the election. Of course, despite what the Committee says and how it is being spun, we were alive in the last two years and know that many had their doubts back then -- you may remember them by the label that FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC labeled them by in late 2002 and early 2003: "Un-American". Even under the best case scenario for Bush this paints a disturbing portrait. That Bush isn't smart enough to ask the right questions or wonder weather he is getting information he wants to hear, as opposed to what he should hear. Do you really want such a person making decisions on the biggest of all issues, war or peace? But that is, as said above, the "best case scenario". The more likely scenarios are even more profoundly disturbing:
In a classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared before the Iraq war, the CIA hedged its judgments about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, pointing up the limits of its knowledge. But in the unclassified version of the NIE — the so-called white paper cited by the Bush administration in making its case for war — those carefully qualified conclusions were turned into blunt assertions of fact, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence. The repeated elimination of qualifying language and dissenting assessments of some of the government's most knowledgeable experts gave the public an inaccurate impression of what the U.S. intelligence community believed about the threat Hussein posed to the United States, the committee said. Dedicating a section of its 511-page report to discrepancies between the two versions of the crucial October 2002 NIE, the panel laid out numerous instances in which the unclassified version omitted key dissenting opinions about Iraqi weapons capabilities, overstated U.S. knowledge about Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons and, in one case, inserted threatening language into the public document that was not contained in the classified version.
There are three likely scenarios IMO describing how these changes came about. First, is the point above, CIA incompetence, exacerbated by the "W"incompetence of the President. Bad news all around, but both fixable, the former through internal reform, the latter through the ballot. The second and third are more malevolent, but equally off-putting. Either the CIA was trying to give the Bush Administration what it THOUGHT it wanted to hear, OR it gave the Bush Administration what it was INSTRUCTED to provide. [Note: The Senate Report attempts to resolve the Bush Administration of the latter, I remain unconvinced]. Either scenario portrays incredible recklessness, either implicitly, or explicitly Bush and his confederates took us to war via the *wink* or by fiat.
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