Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Argument that should have been made

Mario Loyola at NRO makes the argument that the Bush Administration did not:

Intel is by its nature fragmentary and inferential. The evidence we needed in Iraq was on the ground in Iraq, and Saddam controlled all of it. When Tenet said the case for war was a “slam dunk” he was jumping the barrier that should separate intel and policy. The intel was ambiguous. Intel is always ambiguous, especially when the question is as vast as that posed by Iraq. Because the presumption was already against Saddam — and rightly so — the intel community’s ambiguous answer left Cheney and many other people with no doubt that Saddam had WMDs — as a policy judgment based on history and the totality of the circumstances, of which intel was only a part.

Policymakers do not have the luxury of coming to no firm conclusion simply because the intel comes to no firm conclusion. What has been consistently missing from this whole debate is an appreciation of the fact that, given Saddam’s history, we had to presume the worst. By 2002, the only thing that could assuage our fears about Saddam was transparency in his regime. Without transparency, we were facing a potential threat of unknown scope that — should it ever materialize — could cause much more damage than a punitive action would be able to remediate.

Earlier in the day I finally got around to listening to this conversation between Hugh Hewitt and Michael Isikoff from last week's LA Times Festival of Books. Ostensibly a discussion at least partly about Isikoff's collaborative work, Hubris, it devolved somewhat into an argument about pre-war intel for the sake of arguing pre-war intel.

Loyola's point about 'no firm conclusion' speaks directly to this Isikoff comment:

HH: That’s exactly what we knew about Zawahiri. It’s intelligence. We have to make guesses.

MI: And it was intelligence that was wrong. That’s the point. The point is that intelligence that was murky…

HH: Your spin, your spin…

MI: …that the intelligence that was murky was presented with certitude, and I think that’s ultimately the case against the selling of the war.

That argument wasn't convincing in 2004 and it isn't convincing now that Isikoff has teamed with David Corn to write a book about it. As Hugh states in reply:

HH: And I would argue that even on the mushroom cloud…

MI: Things that were very ambiguous were presented as we know…

HH: No, on the mushroom cloud…

MI: We know, we have learned.

HH: No, he said we cannot take the chance. That’s very different. Maybe it’s my lawyer’s training…

MI: Well, I think…

HH: …that you have to do probabilities.

Mario is right and this point is usually missed in the routine fits of "Bush Lied, People Died" rage. Intelligence by it's nature is nothing more at it's most basic level than a best-guess.

9/11 changed the way the President viewed what Tenet and the CIA told him. Tenet's comments on this point are, in my opinion, about the only worth-while thing he's got to say on the issue and they bolster the President's view of Iraq in 2002.

The whole Iraq equation changed in light of 9/11. Should the Administration be blamed for that? Hardly.


Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Paul and all,

Remember that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Consequently, if we fail to force these scoundrels to face the Truth and Justice necessary to end such evil, similar scenarios are guaranteed to occur again and again in the future.

The pivotal import of Yellow Cake, False Flags, & "Big Time" Evil

The combination of George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, Eisner & Royce's The Italian Letter and the books and research of many others in recent years now provides enough of a foundation for everyone to finally discern that 9:11 was a "false flag" operation against both the American public and the Muslim world. Likewise, the uncanny synchronicity of Al Qaeda's videos and other activities perfectly timed to reinforce and support the Bush/Cheney administration's political needs coupled with the actions of the Bush admin actually serving to strengthen Al Qaeda's position, now makes perfect sense. The apparent mistakes and chaos that have characterized the Iraq war, the easily prevented resurgence of the Taliban, and permitting Bin Laden to escape Tora Bora to a safe haven in Pakistan all fit the same pattern. It's hard to maintain a state of continuous war if you allow your made-to-order enemies to be defeated too early. It is likewise hard to remain a "war president" if your wars end too soon!

The letterhead used to forge the "Yellowcake letter" that was then used to help "sell" the Iraq war was stolen in Rome on 1/1/2001, more than nine months before 9:11 and before Little W. became president. Consequently, the use of the "Yellow-Cake Lie" was obviously discussed and planned before then! The import of this fact is that the Niger embassy in Rome was burglarized, before Bush became president, to lay the groundwork for the web of deception used to sell the Iraq War, after 9:11. More importantly, it is highly unlikely that the Iraq war could ever have been sold to the American public, without something like 9:11 happening first. Any excuses of other uses for the stolen letterhead are laughable since the letterhead burglary would have been pointless, without 9:11. This evidences foreknowledge of those attacks, a full nine months before they occurred, among other things!


Anonymous said...

We will have every Hizbollah women fucked by dogs.
We will send Phallus of ours into ass of All priests moslems.
We will have Khamenei and Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad and Khatami and Akbar Ganji fucked by a great penis Of donkey and whale .
We will fuck all foreign government which help mullah.
کیر سگ تو کس ننه سید اولاد پیغمبر.
کیر خوک تو کس ننه امام حسین.
کیر خر تو کس ننه شیعیان.
This is a beautiful cultural message for you.

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