Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Intelligence Was All Wrong, But the War Is All Right

So Pres. Bush "accepts full responsibility" for the "faulty" intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. And then quickly adds that others in the intelligence community also believed the intelligence was solid. And then adds in for a second qualifier the canard that Congress saw the same intelligence he did. And then says that, even though the intelligence he used to start the war was wrong, and even though it was his decision alone to start the war, he was still right to start the war.

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq, and I am also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities and we're doing just that," he said.

But he said, "My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision" because he was deemed a threat and that regardless, "We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of a brutal dictator. It is to leave a free and democratic Iraq in his place."

Say WHAT? The intelligence that said Saddam was a threat was wrong, but it was right to invade because Saddam was deemed a threat?

Obviously, Bush's implicit claim in all this is that the intelligence was flawed because of some internal or structural problem with the intelligence-gathering mechanism; and that he, Bush, was thus led to trust and believe intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

That is bogus bull, as everyone but the most die-hard Bush supporters know by now. Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al., cherry-picked intelligence that they liked and ignored intelligence they didn't like. They used intelligence they knew was unconfirmed, questionable, and outright fraudulent. That's the mistake for which Bush needs to take full responsibility.

Don't hold your breath. When Bush says he was right to invade Iraq even though the intelligence used to justify it was wrong, what he's really saying is that the accuracy or inaccuracy of the intelligence is just not that important to him.

Steve Benen [who writes the blog, The Carpetbagger Report], said he was not sure the speech really broke any new ground, even with Mr Bush accepting responsibility for invading Iraq based on faulty intelligence.

"This isn't exactly a concession that we went to war under false pretences - Bush has acknowledged the problems with pre-war intelligence many times before.

"It's always a treat to hear the president use the 'I am responsible' phrase, but the comments appear to be little more than the same buck-passing the White House has always embraced.

"Indeed, the bigger issue is not that Bush has publicly conceded that 'much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong', but rather that he doesn't much care whether it was right or not."

This lack of concern for the truth speaks louder than Bush's words. Example: Yesterday it came out that the Pentagon is planting pro-American messages in media outlets all over the world, without any indication that the U.S. is the source of the messages.

One of the military officials in charge of the programme told USA Today the campaign was designed to counter terrorist ideology and sway foreign audiences to support American policies. It will target newspapers, websites, radio and television.

This comes on the heels of the revelations of U.S. military officials in Iraq paying and bribing Iraqi journalists to write happy, positive articles about the war and the American occupation. And it comes at the same time as the news that the Pentagon is collecting information about Americans who oppose the Iraq war.

The Pentagon has a secret database that indicates the U.S. military may be collecting information on Americans who oppose the Iraq war and may be also monitoring peace demonstrations, NBC reported on Tuesday.

The database, obtained by the network, lists 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the United States over a 10-month period and includes four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, some aimed at military recruiting, NBC's Nightly News said.

So when Bush says that the U.S. is in Iraq "to leave a free and democratic Iraq in [Saddam Hussein's] place," you know he is not being truthful or sincere. Because world leaders who value freedom and democracy do not view antiwar activists as enemies of the state. Free and democratic societies do not allow their defense departments to set up secret databases to collect information on peace organizations involved in countering military recruitment efforts.

The Bush administration does have its reasons for being in Iraq, but those reasons have nothing to do with wanting to establish a free and democratic society.

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