Hadley Objects to Deluder-in-Chief


The New York Times offered a strong critique of one of George W. Bush’s exit interviews — and Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley has just issued his protestations.
The Times offered this powerful punch:

It was skin crawling to hear him tell Mr. Gibson that the thing he will really miss when he leaves office is no longer going to see the families of slain soldiers, because they make him feel better about the war. But Mr. Bush’s comments about his decision to invade Iraq were a “mistakes were made” rewriting of history and a refusal to accept responsibility to rival that of Richard Nixon.
At one point, Mr. Bush was asked if he wanted any do-overs. “The biggest regret of the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq,” he said. “A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction” were cause for war.
After everything the American public and the world have learned about how Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney manipulated Congress, public opinion and anyone else they could bully or lie to, Mr. Bush is still acting as though he decided to invade Iraq after suddenly being handed life and death information on Saddam Hussein’s arsenal.
The truth is that Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been chafing to attack Iraq before Sept. 11, 2001. They justified that unnecessary war using intelligence reports that they knew or should have known to be faulty. And it was pressure from the White House and a highly politicized Pentagon that compelled people like Secretary of State Colin Powell and George Tenet, the Central Intelligence director, to ignore the counter-evidence and squander their good names on hyped claims of weapons of mass destruction.

Stephen Hadley offers in his statement the definitive dismissal of Vice President Cheney’s continuing under-the-breath grumblings that Sadam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction stockpiled, but he then rejects the Time‘s claims that the Bush/Cheney team pressured the intelligence community to generate cause for a war they wanted.
In a statement issued from his office today, Hadley writes:

Sunday’s New York Times contains an editorial expressing inaccurate and incomplete statements on pre-war intelligence and the war in Iraq.
While the President has repeatedly acknowledged the mistakes in the pre-war intelligence, there is no support for the Times’ claim that the President and his national security team “knew or should have known [the intelligence] to be faulty” or that “pressure from the White House” led to particular conclusions. Nothing in the many inquiries conducted into these matters supports the view of the Times‘ Editorial Board. Indeed, the independent Silberman-Robb Commission and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that no political pressure was brought to bear on the Intelligence Community.
As the President has stated, he regrets the intelligence was wrong, but it was intelligence that members of Congress, foreign governments as well as the Administration all believed to be accurate. Working with Congress, the President has since put in place a number of intelligence reform measures to try to ensure that such mistakes do not happen again.
While Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, he was a threat, and his removal has opened the door to a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East that is an ally of the United States.
The New York Times continues to have difficulty acknowledging the undeniable success of the President’s decision to surge an additional 30,000 troops into Iraq. Because of the surge, Iraq is a more stable and secure country. It is the success of the surge that is allowing American troops to withdraw from Iraq and return home with a record of heroic service and still unheralded success.

I have two quick points.
First, Richard Perle told me in October 2002 that “we would not find WMDs in Iraq.” Richard Perle said this to me in a conversation which I have written about before — and at that point, Perle was still very much a part of the inner circle of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and other fellow travelers. We have many others who have since made clear that the administration cherry-picked intelligence that fit pre-held biases towards war.
Secondly, Hadley’s justification of the invasion of Iraq on the basis of removing a bad leader and seeding some elements of democratic society is wrong-headed.
America does not have unlimited resources to topple the world’s bad leaders and engage in unlimited nation building. Thus, traditionally America has had to depend on a complex array of tools to apply leverage here and there to achieve outcomes that we and the world need.
By invading a mostly boxed-in nation and displacing a rational, self-dealing thug — we have undermined our ability in many other parts of the world to affect the calculations of other thuggish leaders who will not trust American rationality. They will see an America that has tilted towards justice crusades no matter what the costs, and this assessment in turn will make their behavior less predictable and more dangerous.
Hadley makes as clear as I have seen it a Bush administration embrace of an “emotional war” — one that undermined America’s core interests and which had repercussions globally for how other states viewed us and our behavior.
The Iraq War is a total disaster in that it has made America look small, limited, incapable of achieving its objectives, and as a state run by emotional whims and not serious strategists.
Hadley’s statement only further justifies the overall assessment of the New York Times.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Hadley Objects to Deluder-in-Chief

  1. Kathleen Grasso ASndersen says:

    Interrnational Herald Tribune article entitled Deluder-In-Chief
    I think “Deluder-In-Chief is rather genteel for what he really is.


  2. ... says:

    Richard Perle… it is hard to trust the words of a person who is on the payroll of the military industry when it comes to matters of making war… Richard Perle is beneath any level of respect, and his voice contributed to the war in iraq… same goes for Stephen Hadley a rubber stamping traitor, helping the traitors at the top – Bush and Cheney… i hope americans can find a way to bring all of these traitors and corrupt individuals to some form of justice.. they have shed the blood of american soldiers and countless innocent iraqi citizens.. the whole group of them are sickening.


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Uhm, speaking about deluding, this little odorous bit delusional horseshit is straight off the AIPAC website…..
    “Israel’s Quest for Peace”
    “As Israel undergoes a political transition, it still remains committed to peace and continues to take numerous steps to encourage peace negotiations with its neighbors and to facilitate humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians”
    Who the hell are they pitching this garbage to? Are there really people reading the AIPAC website that are that so unbelievably uninformed and ignorant???
    Meanwhile, it seems Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have been tasked to spin Bush into something other than a murderous treasonous lying sack of shit. Good luck to them, thats not an enviable task.


  4. bob h says:

    Odd how Bush, Rove, Rice, et.al., seeking to put the blame for Iraq on “intelligence failures”, neglect to mention their removal of Hans Blix, who in time would have given categorical assurances of the absence of WMD.
    The dishonest argument of these people continues to the very end.


  5. jhm says:

    It is perhaps not within the topic at hand to say, but the point
    that should be emphasized when ‘mistakes’ of the war are
    discussed, it that it is really a two-part question.
    Even if we stipulate that this administration was correct in
    wanting to eliminate Saddam,and discontinue our current policy
    of no fly zones and sanctions; and that they were correct in
    viewing military invasion as the best way to achieve these aims,
    we still have the mistaken idea that an occupation would be
    unnecessary. Not only did they assume that the conflict would
    be quick (and were telling our soldiers this even after Baghdad
    started to deteriorate), they were so confident that they had no
    contingency for any other result. Not only did they have no
    contingency, but when it became clear to most Americans that
    things were going to be much more difficult, they first denied
    that this was the case, then declared that they had always said
    that things would be difficult, and all the while had developed no
    plan for the occupation, sent the most junior and inexperienced
    personnel, and tried to resist the nascent wish of Iraqis to
    rebuild their country by de-Ba’athification and dismissing the
    miliatary (not to mention trying to stop quick elections).
    In short, even if everything they now try to say about our
    reasons for engaging in this misadventure were true (and this is
    so far from being the case, it hurts to see our President* say it),
    there is still much that this administration has to answer for.


  6. Carroll says:

    If we had a dime for every press rag, neo and zio-nazi who now claims it was ALL the idea and fault of the village idiot in chief and they had nothing to do with it we could pay off the national debt.
    We have all been seeing these..”It was all Bush’s Fault”..ever since it was obvious three years ago even to the retarded that the Iraq war was FUBAR. Is there a press rag, neo, zio, right wing org., talking head or chicken hawk congressperson who hasn’t recanted and blamed it all on Bush?..except for MacCrazy?
    Sorry..you don’t get to rewrite history. We know about ‘everyone’ who was complict in this…every single one of them.
    Want me to name them?…I’ve kept a list.


  7. K Galt says:

    Hadley fails to mention that that the Office of Special Plans was off limits to the Silverman Robb investigation. He also fails to talk about his role in pushing for those 16 false words that were put back in Bush’s Cincinnati speedh
    Hadley also fails to mention that there were two part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was incomplete until recently. That Senator Pat Roberts did everything in his power to delay, divert and dilute those investigations.
    Hadley failed to discuss his roll in intelligence failures in the early part of the Bush administration when he and Condi Rice failed to listen to the warnings of Richard Clarke about the potential of terrorist air attacks
    a few sentences from the most recently released Phase II of the SSCI report
    In early 2006, a National Archives’ Information Security
    Oversight Office audit disclosed that records had been removed
    from public access at the National Archives for classification
    reasons. In April 2006, the officials from Information Security
    Oversight Office briefed Committee staff on the results of the
    audit. The audit found that a large number of documents had
    been improperly classified, declassified, or reclassified, and
    made a number of recommendations for improvement of the
    classification process. The audit and recommendations were
    publicly released and can be found on the web page of the
    National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/declassification/).
    The final Phase II of the SSCI
    Our Reps never have gotten to the bottom of those Niger Documents. We never have witnessed anyone responsible for creating, cherry picking or dessiminating false WMD intelligence held ACCOUNTABLE. This would appear to be the very least that our Reps could do for those who have lost their lives or been injured (both Iraqi’s and Americans) in a war based on a “pack of lies”
    But I know in Washington it seems to take lies under oath having to do with a blow job to get those Republican justice juices flowing. A was based on an INTELLIGENCE SNOWJOB just does not seem to concern them.


  8. arthurdecco says:

    “By invading a mostly boxed-in nation and displacing a rational, self-dealing thug — we have undermined our ability in many other parts of the world to affect the calculations of other thuggish leaders who will not trust American rationality…”
    I don’t know who is worse – Hadley for outright lying in the interests of his dear leader or Steve Clemons for describing foreign leaders as thugs without any mention of how America has eclipsed the rest of the world in its promotion of thugs to the very pinnacles of its politics, economics, academia and the law.
    Compare Saddam to Cheney. Or to Bush. Or Rumsfeld. Or to Wolfowitz. Or Abrams. Or to…
    The list could take days to assemble and every name on it would be more terrible than Saddam’s, their well rehearsed and sanctimonious claims of moral superiority notwithstanding. The fact is their deliberate lies led directly to the deaths of over one million, two hundred thousand Iraqi civilians and to the displacement of five million more civilians from their homes, occupations and futures.
    Then there’s the barely legal theft of trillions of dollars of American middle class tax payer’s dollars from government coffers to enrich the already wealthy individuals who hold stakes in the Military/Industrial Complex and the financial institutions that profit from them!
    (These foul and murderous deeds have to count for something if anyone in a position of influence is keeping score.)
    …And just how hallucinogenic have the atmospheres of Washington and Thinktankopia become for you to ever consider America 2000-2008 rational, Mr. Clemons?
    Rational?!? This has gotta be deep cover satire. Gotta be. Or maybe all you need is a good night’s sleep in your own bed.


  9. kotzabasis says:

    The Times contention is fatuous: That the President and his advisers ‘knew or should have known [the intelligence] to be faulty’. But if this should be so, it should also apply to all the other leaders of the West who also acted on this faulty intelligence.
    ‘Quick points’ are bound to be thoughtless.
    Clemons, as often he does on this issue, revises the facts to make his own tailor made argument. The war in Iraq did not aim in “removing a bad leader” but in preventing a future coupling of Saddam’s regime with terrorists. The war on terror in the aftermath of 9/11, was not a “crusade’ but an existential necessity. And for Clemons to countervail Bush’s “emotional war” with his “emotional peace”, shows him to be strategically and historically irrelevant.
    And he still refuses to acknowledge Iraq’s great potential of becoming a Democratic state in the region. It’s a perfect example of personal weakness trumping reality.


  10. Bil says:

    Excellent Steve.


  11. Joe M. says:

    I just want to clarify. I did not mean that the damage caused by the war was a good thing. I feel deeply for all those Iraqis who lost their lives and have suffered from the arrogance and stupidity of the Americans. The good thing is that the USA is suffering. It is self-imposed suffering, and the USA deserves to feel the pain of its own stupidity. Hopefully it will make the world a better place. And it will wake up a lot of people (especially puppet foreign leaders) about how impotent the USA is.


  12. Linda says:

    Question really is if all the Bush Administration people will just go out of the administration and back to universities, think thanks, law and lobbying firms, and/or retirement on government pensions with honor and prestige. Well, I also should add probably write their memoirs with seven-figure advancees
    Or will there be some official truth and reconciliation or other investigation to find out what really was going on inside our government for the past eight years.


  13. DonS says:

    If many, many outside observers, not to mention the el Baradi’s, etc., disputed the claim for WMD before the invasion, it continues to be shameful lying and doublespeak for the Bush/Chenyists to claim “everyone” formed an opposite concensus.
    I know we who were in opposition, who were willing to have our eyes open, who pointed to authorities who disputed the WH assertions, and the multiple sources who challenged the WH, don’t count for anything in the administration’s continuing attempt to rewrite history.
    May Bush, Cheney, Rice, all the neocons, and every elected official and enabler of this murderous policy reap in proportion to what they have sown.


  14. Joe M. says:

    “The Iraq War is a total disaster in that it has made America look small, limited, incapable of achieving its objectives, and as a state run by emotional whims and not serious strategists.”
    This is the best thing to have come out of the Iraq war. I don’t know why you are protesting it. The America that controlled the world and ran a global empire is the alternative. The view of America that you protest in the sentence above is a true picture of America.
    In this respect, I hope that parties like the Palestinians and the Israelis see American power for its emptiness and no longer rely on the USA to “solve” (read “impose”) idiotic external plots on them. And I hope other leaders are forced to listen to their own people rather than to American aid and dictates.
    That the war with Iraq weakened the USA is the best thing to happen to the world in a long time. it’s about time for the USA to have been slapped in the face like this. As MLK said:
    “America, you are too arrogant, and if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God. Men will beat their swords into plowshafts and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations shall not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore.” I don’t know about you, I ain’t going to study war anymore.”


  15. Zathras says:

    NSA Hadley, probably at the direction of the Vice President, has issued a talking-point defense of the Bush administration record.
    There’s nothing here that hasn’t come out of the White House and the remaining Bush Republicans before, right down to the phrases used. “…a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East that is an ally of the United States” is a particular favorite of mine, as it contains both an obviously true statement about an uncontroversial fact — Iraq has always been located in the heart of the Middle East — and breathtakingly dubious uses of two words (“democratic” and “ally”) employed because they are words of which an American audience would normally be expected to approve. It also omits any mention of the costs of the Iraq commitment to the United States, the signature trait of Bush administration policy in this and many other areas.
    With the new administration preparing to take office, there has been some discussion as to the proper roles of various officials, including the National Security Adviser. It is worth considering the models left us by the incumbent administration, of NSA’s who saw their jobs as looking after the emotional comfort of the President to the exclusion of other responsibilities (Rice) or who thought it important to serve as an enabler for the Vice President in private and, in public, a presenter of well-worn talking points depicting all success as due to the President’s wisdom and courage and all failures as someone else’s fault (Hadley).
    For the last eight years a large portion of White House staff has been, with apologies to Ms. Goodwin, a team of bootlickers — people prepared to act as Hadley has, subordinating any view or thought they may ever have had to the overriding need to celebrate their chief, attack his enemies, and make excuses when things go wrong. Barack Obama and other future Presidents would do well to consider the personal character of job candidates for responsible federal office in this light, using Bush’s White House staff as examples of the people who should never be allowed to work in the federal government.


  16. JohnH says:

    One can only hope that a White House insider will give the American public a true gift as Bush leaves office–the recipe for the stuff he’s been drinking. We’ll all need it in the coming months. It might even make us feel prosperous!


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