Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

The White House didn't like the lead editorial which appeared in yesterday's Times. In fact, they hated it so much, that they published a blog-style rebuttal right there on the people's website. Your tax dollars at work. (Though I suppose we should be glad that the White House was, for once, able to say something without using on-duty soldiers or firefighters as background props.)

Let's break down some of the protestations:

The New York Times: "Foreign intelligence services did not have full access to American intelligence. But some had dissenting opinions that were ignored or not shown to top American officials." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

Chimpy: But Even Foreign Governments That Opposed The Removal Of Saddam Hussein Judged That Iraq Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD).

This is a pretty lousy reply. It's hard to see, even, how its on point. The Times makes two accusations here (1) The White House didn't share all of its intelligance with other countries and (2) some other countries didn't agree with the meager, water-downed information were shown because (3) their own intelligance told a different story, which the White House, in their rush to war, ignored. Does the fact that some of those same countries may have thought there were WMDs in Iraq answer the critism? No. Those other countries who agreed about the WMDs may have been basing themselves on the White House's bad intel. Also, why do we think the ones who had dissenting intel were the same countries who agreed about the WMDs? In the White House's rebuttal those dots are never connected.

The New York Times: "Congress had nothing close to the president's access to intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate presented to Congress a few days before the vote on war was sanitized to remove dissent and make conjecture seem like fact." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

Chimpy: But The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Judged Not To Have Different Intelligence Than The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Provided To Congress, Which Represented The Collective Opinion Of The Intelligence Community.

Two words. Colin Powel. The former secretary of State is on the record saying that he was given flawed information. Also, the fact that the PDB and the NIE contained the same information, is hardly proof of anything. Congress got its information from the NIE, and nothing else. Do we really think that the president -and the war mongers in the Defense Department - saw the PDB and nothing else? Do you really think they'd have allowed information which discredited their argument to be put into the NIE? If I was going to sanitize the information I gave to Congress, the very first thing I'd do to cover my tracks would be to make sure that the bogus info I gave Congress matched the official info I gave the president. The mere fact that the PDB and the NIW match isn't proof of wrongdoing, but it also doesn't absolve the president's mistakes, or do anything to discredit his opponents.

The New York Times "It's hard to imagine what Mr. Bush means when he says everyone reached the same conclusion. There was indeed a widespread belief that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. But Mr. Clinton looked at the data and concluded that inspections and pressure were working a view we now know was accurate." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

Chimpy: But Former President Bill Clinton Warned After 9/11 That The United States Could Not Allow Saddam Hussein To Continue Defying Weapons Inspectors.

Oh this is too funny. Is George W. Bush really using Bill Clinton - the man he's endlessly disapraged - as a source? Some other points: (1) Clinton was out of office, with no access to Intel - aside from what the president and his people consented to show him. Is his opinion -after 9/11 - worth anything? (2) Clinton did say -in June 2004!- that he agreed that Hussein couldn't be allowed to defy inspectors. But does that mean he favored war? Or does it mean he thought inspections, sanctions and other preassure were the way to force Iraq to comply with the will of the International community? As usual, the White House muddies the water.

The New York Times. "The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

Chimpy: But The President Never Connected Iraq To The 9/11 Attacks While Other Politicians And Independent Commissions Judged That There Were Contacts Between Iraq, Al-Qaeda And Other Terrorist Groups.

Now the war president is just lying:

1) "President Bush on Thursday said that there were "numerous contacts" between Iraq and the terror network."
June 17, 2004

2) "Bush: Iraq, al Qaeda linked" - January 30, 2003

3) "Bush Defends Assertions of Iraq-Al Qaeda Relationship " -
June 18, 2004

Claiming he linked Iraq to Al-Qaeda but not to 9/11 is just word games.

Setting the record straight, indeed.