President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been failing in their efforts to “set the record straight“, as their press team calls it, on the subject of Iraq-related WMD intelligence access before the invasion.
I am rushing off to a meeting tonight, and the material I’d like to comment on is piling up. Since I don’t want to entirely miss this subject, let me provide some links that I think are very compelling and important in exposing the serious flaws in White House claims.
1. Jofi Joseph, “It’s Not About the Yellowcake,” Foreign Policy, November 2005
2. Murray Waas, “Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept from Hill Panel,” National Journal, 22 November 2005 (allegedly the brief states that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11)
3. Mel Goodman, “The President’s Exclusive Access to Sensitive Intelligence,” Truthout Editorial, 20 November 2005
4. Senator Bob Graham, “What I Knew Before the Invasion,” Washington Post, 20 November 2005
5. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) & Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Response to White House Regarding Intelligence Community Statements on Pre-War Iraq Intelligence
I do believe that Democrats were knocked off balance by 9/11 and demonstrated few “profiles in courage moments” in the spending spree after 9/11 and in the key decisions that led to the Iraq War. However, the combination of a low Congressional bar for this war combined with the President’s preconceived desire to take out Hussein and invade Iraq led to distortion, fabrication, and manipulation of fundamental realities about Iraq’s WMD capacity.
Moreover, even among serious analysts who believed that Iraq might have nascent bio or chemical weapons programs, few believed that they were robust — justifying an invasion of the scale America engaged in. Brent Scowcroft and James Baker were leading opponents of such an invasion, arguing that even if Hussein had modest programs, he was containable and manageable as a threat.
Bush and Cheney wanted to go to war and punished and beat up all those who stood in their way — and that was the beginning and end of the story.
— Steve Clemons