Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bush didn't lie. Dem's ignored their eyes.

For years the opposition has cried for hearings and investigations into the lies leading up to the overthrow of Iraq in 2003. Finally they get their way and it seems that there is nothing to show. In this article by by Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post, we see that the real lies are the ones told by members of Congress with access to classified files. They were lies of omission. They seem to have forgotten that they saw everytihing the Bush Administration saw. And agreed with the analysis.

The pithy catchphrase of 2004, "Bush Lied, People Died" is easy to remember. It also serves as a good substitute for thinking. Who said Fox News was the best in propaganda?

From the Washington Post:

'Bush Lied'? If Only It Were That Simple.
By Fred HiattMonday, June 9, 2008; A17

Search the Internet for "Bush Lied" products, and you will find
sites that offer more than a thousand designs. The basic "Bush Lied, People
Died" bumper sticker is only the beginning.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, set out to provide the official foundation for what has become not only a thriving business but, more important, an article of faith among millions of Americans. And in releasing a committee report Thursday, he claimed to have accomplished his mission, though he did not use the L-word.

"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," he said. There's no question that the administration, and particularly Vice President Cheney, spoke with too much certainty at times and failed to anticipate or prepare the American people for the enormous undertaking in Iraq.

But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally
substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery
vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.

In the report's final section, the committee takes issue with Bush's statements about Saddam Hussein's intentions and what the future might have held. But was that really a question of misrepresenting intelligence, or was it a question of judgment that politicians are expected to make?

After all, it was not Bush, but Rockefeller, who said in October 2002: "There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."

Rockefeller was reminded of that statement by the committee's vice chairman, Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), who with three other Republican senators filed a minority dissent that includes many other such statements from Democratic senators who had access to the intelligence reports that Bush read. The dissenters assert that they were cut out of the report's preparation, allowing for a great deal of skewing and partisanship, but that even so, "the reports essentially validate what we have been saying all along: that policymakers' statements were substantiated by the intelligence."

Why does it matter, at this late date? The Rockefeller report will not cause a spike in
"Bush Lied" mug sales, and the Bond dissent will not lead anyone to scrape the
"Bush Lied" bumper sticker off his or her car.

But the phony "Bush lied" story line distracts from the biggest prewar failure: the fact that so much of the intelligence upon which Bush and Rockefeller and everyone else relied turned out to be tragically, catastrophically wrong.

And it trivializes a double dilemma that President Bill Clinton faced before Bush and that President Obama or McCain may well face after: when to act on a threat in the
inevitable absence of perfect intelligence and how to mobilize popular support
for such action, if deemed essential for national security, in a democracy that
will always, and rightly, be reluctant.

For the next president, it may be Iran's nuclear program, or al-Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan, or, more likely, some potential horror that today no one even imagines. When that time comes, there will be plenty of warnings to heed from the Iraq experience, without theneed to fictionalize more.


At Mon Oct 06, 10:22:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the weekend Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of "palling around" with terrorists--a reference to his longstanding friendship and professional association with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, husband-and-wife Chicago college professors who are unrepentant about their activities in the Weather Underground gang.

According to an "analysis" by Douglass Daniel of the Associated Press, "[Palin's] attack was unsubstantiated." Palin said she got her information from the New York Times, and we suppose it says something that this isn't good enough for the AP. Odder still is Daniel's claim that Palin's statement "carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret."

Reader, Mr. and Mrs. Ayers are persons of pallor. What could possibly be racist about Palin's criticizing Obama for associating with a couple of despicable characters who are white? This question brings us into the weird world of Douglass Daniel's imagination:

Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

Daniel does no reporting to back this up. He accuses Palin of racism because in his mind, terrorist implies Muslim, Muslim implies dark-skinned, and dark-skinned implies black.

This exercise in free association scarcely qualifies as analysis. Nonetheless, let us consider it step by step:

Terrorist implies Muslim. It is certainly true that America's terrorist enemies today are Muslims who justify their actions in Islamic terms. The terrorist fringe of the 1960s far left, by contrast, has withered away (or "sold out," in the parlance of the times). But there is nothing distinctively Islamic about tactics like bombing and kidnapping, which were used by outfits like the Weather Underground in their time and are employed by al Qaeda and its ilk today.

Moreover, as we have noted, the AP is sometimes at pains to avoid drawing a connection between terrorism and Islam when reporting stories about Islamic terrorism. Why does Daniel make the connection so casually here, when it is not even relevant?

Muslim implies dark-skinned. In fact, "Muslim" is a religious identifier, not a racial or ethnic one. Muslims are of all races and ethnicities. Daniel must be conflating Muslims with Arabs, the ethnic group to which the Sept. 11 terrorists belonged. Arabs do generally have darker complexions than people of Northern European origin.

Dark-skinned implies black. The racial identity of Arabs was a matter of some legal controversy in the U.S. early in the last century, but the courts generally concluded that they were white and thus eligible for naturalization under the racially discriminatory immigration laws in effect at the time. Arabs also are classified as white under the Census Bureau's racial taxonomy.

So Daniel seems to be saying that it is racist of Palin to note a nonracial commonality between Obama's white pals and the white men who attacked America seven years ago. Can you make any sense at all of this?

Neither can Daniel, so he changes the subject:

Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

Most troubling, however, is how allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves McCain's purpose so well. As the fallout from [Jeremiah] Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.

Wait, didn't the Jeremiah Wright controversy prompt Obama to give the most magnificently brilliant speech on the subject of race since Martin Luther King, or at least Abraham Lincoln? That's what it said in the papers, anyway.

Getting back to Daniel and Palin, it seems his claim is that her speech was racist because it somehow called attention to Obama's race. To be sure, there are people who are prejudiced against Obama because he is black. Shame on them. People like them used to have a lot more influence on elections than they do now, both because they were more numerous and because in many parts of the country they disfranchised blacks (including through terrorism!).

Yet we'd venture that there are voters who are troubled by Obama's palling around with terrorists irrespective of his, or anyone else's race. Does the public not have a right to know because some part of the public may be racist?

Furthermore, let's assume for the sake of argument that an actual racist has the brainpower to puzzle through the complex twists and turns that led Douglass Daniel from the information that Obama pals around with terrorists to the conclusion that Obama is black.

Isn't it a good bet that he already knew?


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