President Bush and his top advisers knowingly overstated the threat Iraq posed to the United States in the lead-up to the war, according to a report released Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The report, which ends a long congressional inquiry into prewar intelligence failures, pitted the statements of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other Cabinet officials against information provided by intelligence agencies.
"Before taking the country to war, this administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced," said committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "Sadly, the Bush administration led the nation into war under false pretenses."
The report amounts to the most direct rebuke to date of the Bush administration's use of intelligence to build support for the Iraq war. But the document, which catalogs hundreds of statements by administration officials, stops short of calling for any further inquiry or punishment.
The above is from Matt Canham's "Senate panel: Bush purposely inflated Iraq threat in prelude to war" (Salt Lake Tribune) and is noted by a visitor who writes that this site is worse than Democracy Now because Amy Goodman covered this in a headline "at least" but "you never said a word about it."
That story broke on Thursday. It was covered on Thursday. From Thursday's "Iraq snapshot:"
Meanwhile in the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino faced some semi-tough questioning and se danced away from every one of them with statements such as "I would say that the issue of pre-war intelligence on Iraq has been thoroughly reviewed over the years by the Congress, as well as by the independent WMD Commission." What was Perino avoiding? The latest report on Iraq from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The chair, Senator Jay Rockefeller, stated today, "Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe the threat from Iraq was much greater than actuall existed."
Key points from the report summarized by Rockefeller include:
* Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
* Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
* Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
* Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
* The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
* The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.
In a press conference today (here for audio or video), Rockefeller declared, "It has often been said that truth is the first casualty of war and today the Senate Intelligence Committee reports in detail that this was the case in the Bush administration's march to war in Iraq. You don't get to tell the truth just some of the time when going to war. The American people expect their government to tell the truth all the time, that being 100% of the time. Let's be clear as far too many of our own country men and their families know this is a very deadly serious matter Making the case for war is categorically different than any other approach to public policy. There is nothing more serious in public life than the decision to go to war. There is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberatly painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully supported by intelligence. The bottom line is this, we owed it to the troops and the American people to tell the truth about how we got there. These reports are about holding our government accountable and making sure that these mistakes never happen again." PDF format warning, the first report is on public statements (and runs 171 pages), also PDF, the second report focuses on the Counterrorism Evaluation Group and Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (and is 56 pages).
It was covered at length. We didn't cover the press coverage of it which was disappointing. The second report is really an indictment of Dick Cheney for anyone paying attention and, check your Real Media press outlets, no one was. I honestly expected (honestly and wrongly) that Panhandle Media would pick up on it Friday because it's cheap to cover that. A 'public' radio program just has to trot out the too-familiar faces who say the same things that they've said for the last five years. They all get to ego-stroke. There's not a member of this community that doesn't know Bully Boy lied to start an illegal war. Due to problems with Yahoo (the blank/white background being added to every e-mailed entry such as the snapshots), extra K is used (size is increased). 52K is pushing it when e-mailing something to the site. The white/blank screen means 52K is reached with far fewer words. On Thursday, I went back and forth on how much to include about the report but decided to include a healthy chunk of the snapshot on it because it was breaking and covering it Thursday meant we could cover other things on Friday -- like war resisters (the topic 'independent' outlets works so hard to ignore) and, you know, the illegal war that drags on.
I thought Panhandle Media would cover the report and use it as their excuse to claim, "Yes, we do cover the war!" (They rarely say "illegal," just "the war.") The fifth year mark was passed in March and where's the coverage of the very real, very ongoing illegal war?
Look in vain at most 'trusted' outlets. In addition, Iraq's fallen off the radar of Real Media. We noted this week that three US service members shot dead in Iraq on the same day, in the same incident, wasn't enough to get the front page of the New York Times. There's little to no interest in Iraq in All Things Media Big and Small.
The same visitor accusing this site of never noting the report (it was noted in the Thursday snapshot) apparently reads selectively because he also wants to know why LaVena Johnson wasn't covered in Friday's snapshot. (She's mentioned in Thursday's snapshot, which the visitor points to but apparently missed all the section of the Rockefeller report.)
I do what the community wants, not what drive-bys want. We linked to the website for Johnson and members checked it out. While not disliking Johnson (whose story we've covered many times before), they don't want that site linked to. That site has a link list that includes a number of sites that used sexism non-stop in the primary season. Maybe they can 'atone' by fighting for the truth about Johnson (most likely, they'll never follow the issue) but if all those sites are on board then (a) we're not needed and (b) we don't want to be part of a sexist community. (All the links are not the problem, four are. They are vile and disgusting sites and we don't promote them here and will not promote them by linking to things that link to them.) LaVena Johnson we've covered before but if the four pathetic sites are on board with the issue than we'll assume they'll cover it and find a better way to utilize our time and one that doesn't require our hopping in bed with misogynists.
We'll cover it in terms of VFP (and a friend with VFP asked for the link we gave on Thursday). But members went to the page on Johnson, that site (not linked to in this entry), and complained loudly in e-mails. I agree with them. I don't break bread with misognists. And I don't do anything to promote their work or 'traffic.' So they're on their own and the page's decision to get in bed with those people -- who ignore the Iraq War, to be clear -- means it's not an interest of the community's. Something may develop that means the issue gets included in a snapshot or two but we won't be linking to that site. Most likely, when the issue is noted it will be due to VFP or MSM.
That's life. There are many aspects of the ongoing, illegal war to cover. We'll find something else. We did our part early on. Now that others are noticing it, let them run with it. If past history is any indication, they won't run with it. They don't care about the illegal war today. They don't write about it. They don't call out the War Hawks. Every now and then, they work up a little energy to play, "Blame the Republicans!" That game got a little old several years ago. It was exposed as fraudlent when the Dems took control of both houses of Congress in the Nov. 2006 elections.
It's as pathetic and fake as the efforts to insist John McCain is just like the Bully Boy. John McCain, whether you like him or not (I don't like him, I do know Cindy McCain and have no ill will towards her), is not the same as the Bully Boy, does not hold the same beliefs as the Bully Boy. We have and will continue to call McCain out. We will not push a known lie just because MoveOn and the other liars feel it's okay to resort to any smear to destroy a Republican. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for John McCain (and though my ballot is my own business, I've long shared here that I would never vote for McCain). There are many things he's said, voted on and done that can destroy his candidacy.
MoveOn, et al's strategy not only depends upon lying it's a bust. It won't work. They're failures and didn't we see that with their 2004 efforts?
Bad enough that they lie, but they're not even smart enough to think up a workable lie. They cater to the fringes and are out of step with the average American who is not even closely following the election right now. The lie that McCain and Bully Boy are the same will not bring over swing voters to the Democrats. It will, instead, be used as proof that the Democrats lie. It wasn't real smart of MoveOn, et al, to attempt a strategy that would go against popular opinion and harm the Democratic Party but, then, those outlets aren't real smart to begin with.
To the average swing voter, McCain is a stand up guy. Now that can be discredited but doing so requires real work and not just repeating a lie that McCain's the same as the current White House occupant.
Someone in the Democratic Party should have strongly advised MoveOn that this effort was not needed or wanted but you see the Cult of Obama repeating the same thing. It's a losing strategy because to swing voters it is a lie. If you're caught lying, you lose credibility.
Anything the MoveOn faction now attempts to utilize will be built upon the original lie and will not go over well for obvious reasons, swing voters will remember the lie. And that's going to hurt them. It's going to hurt the campaign they're trying to build up as well.
At some point, these factions working with the Democratic Party need to be discplined because they're already setting up the stage for a losing campaign in November. You peel off support for McCain by exposing his record, not by repeating a lie over and over loudly.
Doing the latter just makes you a liar and, come November, a loser as well.
McCain and the current occupant of the White House have a long history and it includes opposition to one another (most infamously in the 2000 smears against McCain). You cannot paint them as being the same in the minds of swing voters. And when you chant "McSame," you come off like a petulant child and not as an informed adult.
But the 'left' appears to be heavy on petulant, loud mouth children today (all too old to qualify as children) so it appears likely that McCain will have a real shot at the White House in November.
You destroy McCain via his record, not by absurd charges that, if you missed it, Arianna already went off the reservation on, insisting McCain told her he didn't vote for the Bully Boy.
Whether he did or didn't, Arianna used all her limited authority to say McCain did not. And they still want to pimp the lie that the two men are the same?
I know McCain's record and statements and that's why I won't vote for him. He is not the same as Bully Boy, but he's not a candidate I can support (now or ever). I'm not going to invent lies to keep him from office. That's really pathetic and the sort of thing that Democrats used to decry when they still had any level of standards. They threw those away for the 2008 election and now they're so desperate that they think they can lie their way into a White House victory.
Swing voters will no doubt be the next to be smeared. They're out of touch, or maybe they're racists or any number of smears Panhandle Media has used to target Democrats that don't like Obama's policies, his voting record (his sleight voting record) or his actions.
It's going to be a long election as the 'left' demonstrates just how childish they are over and over, week after week. When "Pelosi Democrat" is used (to imply extreme leftist) by a Republican in a race against a Democrat, the Democrats decry that. But they have no trouble resorting to the same smears against McCain. That's a set-up for failure as well as an abandonment of any ethical standards.
They've already floated attacks on McCain to paint him as "crazy" based on his P.O.W. experience and that's shameful. Thing is, when the Bully Boy campaign did similar tactics in 2000, the 'left' called that out as shameful. Today, they engage in the same tactics.
I was against the illegal war in Vietnam in real time. I am not one of the 'left' today that practices revisionary tactics (as a number do). I am as against it today as I was then. And I find it offensive that McCain's P.O.W. experience is being targeted by the 'left' (meaning psuedo left). No American should have ever been sent to Vietnam. McCain was and he supports that illegal war. I don't but I don't turn around and chuckle over his P.O.W. experience. I don't find it something to smear him with. I'm very sad that there were any P.O.W.s on any side because that war was illegal and should never have happened. I'll cry for the dead and the wounded and the prisoners of that illegal war on all sides. I think the 'left' has demonstrated that the first thing they sacrificed for the 2008 election was their own humanity -- if they ever had it to begin with.
Throughout the nineties, there was a split on the left. The 'left' thought the answer was an echo chamber like the right-wing had. The real left believed that getting the truth out made the difference. Campaign 2008 has demonstrated what faction won out (the psuedo left). It's going to be really embarrassing in the coming months and though we've tried to be welcoming of all on the left, on this I have no problem drawing lines. This site will not knowingly repeat lies just because it might mean a 'victory.' At what cost? I'm not willing to sell whatever's left of my own humanity. I can be a real ass (and admit that upfront) and I can be wrong more often than right (ditto) but I do not knowingly repeat lies here.
I loathe the slaughter in Vietnam to this day. But I will not take part in trashing McCain for being a prisoner of war or implying that being held captive means he may have been brainwashed or he may be crazy. That is appalling. It's nothing but the gutter politics of the right-wing. If you missed it, a number of those right-wingers have migrated over to the left in the last ten years. There's a reason they've been warmly embraced and it goes to an admiration of gutter politics. (To be clear, I am not speaking of David Brock. Brock wrote at length about his own awakening and Media Matters tries to stay focused on the issues.)
A lot of the smears may be coming out of fear. When you've rallied behind a candidate with no record to speak of and one who has electoral college challenges, you may be left with nothing but smear techniques. That's why the false charges at ABC for the April debate were so hilarious. It'll only become more hilarious as The Cult of Obama insists every question to Obama is unfair, is smearing him by association, et al while they do the exact thing to McCain.
Again, I'm not voting for McCain. This isn't a McCain site. But we won't be repeating the latest echo chamber lie about McCain just because all the howlers monkies supposedly on the left are doing it at their websites, in their magazines and on their radio programs. We do have standards here. When you give up your standards, you have nothing, even in so-called victory.
Elaine's "Norman Solomon cries oink-oink" went up last night. She missed one thing. I read the essay she's commenting on and agree with her comments; however, she missed a section. She said, "I read as much of his crap I could." Understandable. But along with the sexist oink-oink, Solomon's engaging in exactly the tactics we're talking about here. It's embarrassing and Norman knows better.
We hope to address it at Third tomorrow.
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