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What if Bush did come out and say "The reports were wrong"?(56 posts)

What if Bush did come out and say "The reports were wrong"?94Nole
Jan 29, 2004 5:12 AM
What would/should be the outcome? Does W. take the fall for faulty intelligence? What is Blair's responsibility? Didn't he then, and continue today, stand shoulder to shoulder with the President and confirm the intelligence reports and support the actions taken? How is the intelligence community so faulty that several countries bought in? Or did Bush and Blair concoct this in Crawford or at #10 Downing Street over a cup of hot cocoa for the sake of free flowing oil reserves and then sell to those throughout the world that supported and continue to support the action?
I like the impeachment option.OldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 5:34 AM
But that's just me.
Does incompetence count as a "high crime or misdemeanor"?dr hoo
Jan 29, 2004 5:46 AM
I like it too. Certainly by the standards used last time, articles could be drafted.
I've mercifully forgotten the specific counts, but wasn'tOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 6:01 AM
there some kind of 'abuse of power' article against Clinton? It's certainly a stickable charge against this thuggish gang of know-nothings.
Held accountable? Yes. Impeachable? No.HouseMoney
Jan 29, 2004 7:47 AM
As you mentioned below, I understand you're only being 'sardonic'.

If there's a "George" who will (should) be made to walk the plank, his last name is "Tenet". Between the lack of 9/11 intel & now this, I don't see how he survives.

But Bush needs to answer some questions, too. Kay's report is not flattering to the President, but it's far from an indictment. That won't stop the Dem candidates from trying to make as much political hay out of this as they can. (not that I blame them; if the roles were reversed, the Repub's would do the same)
Suppose they try to blame the CIA et al for the "mistake".dr hoo
Jan 29, 2004 5:40 AM
I think everyone already knows the intelligence was messed up. Of course, the administration has stood in the way of investigations that would teach us the lessons of WHY it was SOOOOOO messed up.

The administration has continued and continues to maintain that the war was both JUSTIFIED and the RIGHT THING to do.

The justifications have turned out to be wrong on almost every count. Certainly on "threat assessment". They led us down the road to war based on their justifications. The reasoning process, the decision making process of the administration IS very relevant in how I judge the President and how he does his job. If a CEO of a company made THIS many mistakes on a SERIOUS and COSTLY decision, I would want them out as a stockholder. As a citizen, I require better performance from my leaders.

Is invasion the RIGHT THING? We can judge by outcomes of NATION BUILDING (the second half of "regime change"), MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE, and TERRORISM. All can only be judged long term.

However, since the administration has set a hard deadline of June to turn over power in Iraq, I think they are NOT focused on the long term (even though they said it would be a long haul). I expect a big banner behind the President in his June speech that will say "Nation Built!" That will just as true as his "Mission Accomplished" banner on the aircraft carrier.
Like Clinton did when he blew up the Chinese Embassy? nmracerx
Jan 29, 2004 6:13 AM
Cheney would probably fire him (nm)mickey-mac
Jan 29, 2004 6:07 AM
Wouldn't be the first time...TJeanloz
Jan 29, 2004 6:09 AM
We've been to war on false "intelligence" before - the Spanish-American War ("Remember the Maine") was a direct result of it.

McKinley wasn't impeached over it - and a lot more lives were lost in that fiasco. On the other hand, he was assassinated, so there's that precedent.
Kennedy suffered massive political consequencesOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 6:28 AM
for the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which was in part a failure of intelligence (the Cuban people had no interest in rising up to depose Fidel). Johnson suffered massive political consequences (indirectly) for trumping up the Gulf of Tonkin 'incident' to justify a ground war in SE Asia.

Normally, the American people don't take kindly to being lied to by their president on matters of war and peace.
But none to the impeachment level (nm)TJeanloz
Jan 29, 2004 6:34 AM
I guess that was my point, but IOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 6:51 AM
didn't spell it out. I was being mostly czardonical in calling for impeachment. The fact is, presidential deceptions/screw-ups tend to be corrected electorally, in fairly short order.
Well.............Len J
Jan 29, 2004 6:43 AM
the more clear it becomes that the justification was manufactured in order to justify a preconceived goal, the less likely Bush is to win in November.

There is a continuem here between an intelligence error at one end and starting with a goal and manipulating the data to hear what you want to hear and "Lying" to congress & the american public. There is also a difference between where the reality was on this continuem and what the public perceives. The further along the continuem the public believes, the more trouble for Bush to get reelected. It's why everything coming from anyone associated with the administration keeps repeating "Faulty intelligence, we acted based on what we knew", and why the Dems keep repeating " Blatent manipulation/Lying".

Whoever wins the perception war on this issue, wins the election, IMO.

Of course a dramatic event like:

-Capture or death of Bin Laden
-Large domestic terrorist event
-WMD discovered in Iraq
-Invasion of another country.

Changes the dynamic and focus of attention dramatically. But right now, the election may hinge on what the public believes about thte war justification.

Won't happen...Dwayne Barry
Jan 29, 2004 6:53 AM
because 500+ deaths and 80 billion+ dollars is too huge a cost to admit a mistake was made. Not to mention, it was heavily debated before the war if it was necessary to remove Saddam WHEN everyone assumed he had weapons, I don't think any right-minded person would say we needed to go into Iraq if we'd known he had dismantled his WMD programs, etc.

What I suspect will happen is Bush et al. will continue to mince words saying something like there were "shortcomings" in the intelligence but never admitting they were grossly wrong, implying we've found something although not really ever saying that, while reminding everyone of the tragedy of 9/11, quickly followed by how bad of a guy Saddam was. If nothing else the presidential debates next year should be fun when Bush has to answer specific questions.
the trouble with the intelligencerufus
Jan 29, 2004 8:20 AM
is that there was a lot there that said that saddam wasn't developing a nuclear threat, or it wasn't clear just what certain information indicated, or that yes, this could mean that saddam was developing chemical weapons, but it could also indicate other actions.

the trouble was, the bush administration either filtered out all the caveats, or browbeat the intelligence agencies until the qualifying language was removed from their reports, or buried pages deep in tiny footnotes, or tougher language substituted, and this was the intelligence results that they took to congress and the american people.

this is very similar to the way that they rewrote the EPA assessments about the air quality and potential helath hazards in new york city after 9/11.
It sounds like you're making guessesNo_sprint
Jan 29, 2004 8:28 AM
Do you know anything was filtered out or removed? Is it so ridiculous that the current admin. came to the same conclusion the last did?

Secondly, you've got a guy on the other side whose posture alone appeared terribly guilty.

Everyone thought they were there, they probably were, the only thing any reasonable person would do is say they're not there now, at least we haven't found them to this point.
Furthermore, they have to make a lot of guesses as well...No_sprint
Jan 29, 2004 8:36 AM
and act upon them. Mistakes are inevitable.
and given situations where possibly multiple conclusions....rufus
Jan 29, 2004 8:45 AM
could be drawn, this administration always chose the most dire conclusion possible.
Jan 29, 2004 10:37 AM
"Furthermore, they have to make a lot of guesses as well...
and act upon them. Mistakes are inevitable"

Exactly why Unilateral Pre-emptive Warfare is a bad idea.

Even if the Clinton Administration came to the same conclusions as the Bush Administration re WMD in Iraq (which I am not convinced that they did), the Clinton Administration did not put enough credence or immediancy on those conclusions to start a Unilateral Pre-emptive War.
"yeah, but goddammit, they should have"rufus
Jan 29, 2004 10:43 AM
"damn clinton, too busy getting his knob polished to worry about threats to our nation."
Apples/oranges. Circumstances differed. nmNo_sprint
Jan 29, 2004 10:54 AM
nope, no guesswork involved.rufus
Jan 29, 2004 8:41 AM
and while i don't have access to the raw intelligence reports, and what was eventually shown to the senate intelligence committee, i've done enough reading over the past year to know just how this administration handled intelligence.

if we knew they were there, why didn't we let inspections work again, keep going, instead of bush yanking them back out so he could have his war. then maybe we could have actually gotten an updated intelligence assessment.
In David Kay's own words ...HouseMoney
Jan 29, 2004 10:16 AM
"In the course of doing that, I had innumerable analysts who came to me in apology that the world that we were finding was not the world that they had thought existed and that they had estimated. Reality on the ground differed in advance.

And never -- not in a single case -- was the explanation, "I was pressured to do this." The explanation was very often, "The limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that there's another explanation for it."

And each case was different, but the conversations were sufficiently in depth and our relationship was sufficiently frank that I'm convinced that, at least to the analysts I dealt with, I did not come across a single one that felt it had been, in the military term, "inappropriate command influence" that led them to take that position."

Let me ask you, rufus, if the Bush Admin browbeat the intel agencies to massage the info so it would support their case, would it not also want to exert a similar influence over Kay's inspectors to come up with a result that doesn't leave them with egg on their collective faces?

Most of us haven't seen the complete report & are only relying on headlines & lead-in news reports. Right now, it appears to be a decision based on misinformation, but falls short of being "the lie". The justification for going in, IMO, involved more than just WMD anyway.
not the low level, front line analysts.rufus
Jan 29, 2004 10:41 AM
who gathered the information, but their managers at the top levels of the agency, guys like tenet and his department heads. the management, not the operators.
just so I'm clear.eyebob
Jan 29, 2004 12:33 PM
If there were no WMD and therefore SH wasn't an imminent threat to his neighbors or us, you'd still be in favor of the war?

I was in favor ...HouseMoney
Jan 29, 2004 1:07 PM
of the removal of Saddam from power. Felt that way during Bush #1, 8 yrs of Clinton, and Bush #2.

If it were possible without resorting to war, all the better. But I didn't see Saddam voluntarily stepping down ... ever.

I don't wish to revisit that whole "imminent threat" phrase ... again.
Independent inquiry required whether he admits'wrong' or not.128
Jan 29, 2004 7:01 AM
If we can be this wrong the process deserves scrutiny.

He'd stand a better chance of weathering the imminent gathering storm indications if he admits it earlier than later.
My wacky thought--I wonder if Saddam believed the reportsContinental
Jan 29, 2004 8:18 AM
Tuesday (or Monday) on NPR All Things Considered I heard a brief report that Iraqi Scientists took money to develop WMD and never did any work. If true, they must have told Saddam quite a story. I wonder if he thought that he really had WMDs and advanced programs but no one was foolish enough to tell himm the truth. Could have Saddam believed what Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Rice (also Daschle, Kerry, and both Clintons) were saying?
Yes! That's whatOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 8:27 AM
Maureen Dowd wrote about this morning:

NY Times

The awful part is that George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein were both staring into the same cracked spook- house mirror.

Thanks to David Kay, we now have an amazing image of the president and the dictator, both divorced from reality over weapons, glaring at each other from opposite sides of bizarro, paranoid universes where fiction trumped fact.

It would be like a wacky Peter Sellers satire if so many Iraqis and Americans hadn't died in Iraq.

These two would-be world-class tough guys were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to show that they couldn't be pushed around. Their trusted underlings misled them with fanciful information on advanced Iraqi weapons programs that they credulously believed because it fit what they wanted to hear.

Saddam was swept away writing his romance novels, while President Bush was swept away with the romance of rewriting the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf war to finish off the thug who tried to kill his dad.

The two men both had copies of "Crime and Punishment" — Condi Rice gave Mr. Bush the novel on his trip to Russia in 2002, and Saddam had Dostoyevsky down in the spider hole — but neither absorbed its lesson: that you can't put yourself above rules just because you think you're superior.

When Dr. Kay spoke these words on W.M.D. — "It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing" — both America and Iraq learned that when you try too hard to control the picture of reality, you risk losing your grasp of it.

In interviews, Dr. Kay defended the war with Iraq, saying that the U.S. "has often entered the right war for the wrong reason," and he defended Mr. Bush, saying, "if anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president." He also told Congress "there's no evidence that I can think of, that I know of" that Saddam collaborated with Al Qaeda.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, the ex-C.I.A. weapons sleuth used a metaphor that was perhaps inspired by Martha Stewart, comparing the C.I.A. with a lousy stockbroker.

"If I were your broker," he told Senator Jack Reed, "and you were investing on my advice . . . and at the end of the day, I said Enron was the greatest company in the world, and you had lost a substantial amount of money on it because it turned out differently, you would think I had abused you."

Certainly the C.I.A. has a lot to answer for. For a bargain price of $30 billion a year, our intelligence aces have been spectacularly off. They failed to warn us about 9/11 and missed the shame spiral of a deranged Saddam, hoodwinked by his top scientists.

They were probably relying too much on the Arabian Nights tales of Ahmad Chalabi, eager to spread the word of Saddam's imaginary nuclear-tipped weapons juggernaut because it suited his own ambitions — and that of his Pentagon pals.

But while he is skittering away from his claims about Iraqi weapons, President Bush is not racing toward accountability. It's an election year.

The Times's David Sanger wrote about an administration debate "over whether Mr. Bush should soon call for some kind of reform of the intelligence-gathering process. But the officials said Mr. Bush's aides were searching for a formula that would allow them to acknowledge intelligence-gathering problems without blaming" the C.I.A. or its chief.

The president wants to act as though he has a problem but not a scandal, which he can fix without rolling heads — of those who made honest mistakes or dishonest ones by rigging the intelligence.

Dick Cheney, who declared that Saddam had nuclear capability and who visited C.I.A. headquarters in the summer of 2002 to make sure the raw intelligence was properly interpreted, is sticking to his deluded guns. (And still trash-talking those lame trailers.)

The vice president pushed to slough off the allies and the U.N. and go to war partly b
Arrogance & Ignorance.Len J
Jan 29, 2004 8:44 AM
The most dangerous combination in a leader.

It sounds like both of them Were arrogant about what they wanted to think and ignorant of their own blind spots.

Pity anything lead by anyone who only hears what they want to hear (or only rewards people that agree with them).


Arrogance & Ignorance.rufus
Jan 29, 2004 8:50 AM
Pity anything lead by anyone who only hears what they want to hear (or only rewards people that agree with them).

and that's exactly what we have with this president, who "doesn't read the newspapers because my staff gives me the most objective view possible."
and that's precisely what a lot of people in here are. nmNo_sprint
Jan 29, 2004 8:52 AM
Granted, but............Len J
Jan 29, 2004 8:57 AM
we can't commit people to die,
nor invade a foreign country.

Our arrogance & ignorance doesn't kill people!

Just because we might be like that, does that excuse the President from resoponsibility for his being that way?

Human nature is just that...No_sprint
Jan 29, 2004 9:00 AM
There is never 100% agreement on anything. There will always be some group somewhere that can find some injustice in any conflict. Just because you or someone else is on one side or another in judging any particular conflict at some point doesn't make your side inherently correct. I am not a fan of hindsight judgments.
Hindsight jusgments, that's laughable.Len J
Jan 29, 2004 9:20 AM
The entire public justification for the invasion was that Iraq was an "Imminent threat". There were many of us, including many countries, that were not convinced that his was true. It is becoming more and more apparent that we were correct. Worse than that, it appears that only favorable (to invasion) interpretations of intelligence data were considered.

The legs of the table of "Imminent Threat" were:

- Close association/funding of Al Quida. No real relationship existed.
- WMD imminent. They existed and SH was going to deply. Not only did they not exist, but there no one (that has been captured) appears to have any idea of an intention to deploy anything.

All of these questions were raised by those of us who did not feel that the admin had adequately justified an invasion of a soverign country.

Just because it seems we were right, don't try to negate Bush's responsibility by casting it as a Hindsight judgement.

Nice try though.

Yeah, hindsight judgments can lead you toBottomBracketShell
Jan 29, 2004 9:31 AM
question the wisdom of such *water under the bridge* decisions as taking up glue sniffing for a hobby. Once you're on that path and committed, theres no reason to look back, I agree.
Now THERE'S an unimpeachable sourcemoneyman
Jan 29, 2004 9:00 AM
Maureen Dowd, she of completely objective observations.

It was appropriate that the text got cut off, because I can only take so much "smarminess" in one day.

I have read that Saddam wanted WMDs so much that his generals may have been fearful of their lives if they told him they did not have them. Saddam may have gone to the spider hole believing there were stockpiles of those things all around Iraq. When all the evidence is put together from all the sources - the UN weapons inspectors, Iraqi defectors, CIA, British Intelligence (whatever they are called), and a host of other reputable, reliable intelligence gathering and evaluating agencies, its extraordinarily difficult to believe that he did not have the WMDs. The preponderance of evidence certainly led to that conclusion.

the preponderance of evidencerufus
Jan 29, 2004 9:14 AM
showed that he had them at one time. there wasn't much evidence that indicated he still had them, or was developing them again. should we have made a greater effort to determine so before we attacked the country. i believe so. or can we always attack anywhere based purely on assumptions.

and anyway, i thought we went into iraq to free the poor iraqi people.
preponderance of evidence is the wrong standardContinental
Jan 29, 2004 9:32 AM
When there is a known megalomanical dictator with a history of aggressive actions I want him taken out if possible when there is the slightest evidence that he is pursuing WMD's.

The war was the right thing to do. In hindsight, the Bush Admin obviously should have stated the case for war differently. They could have gained support without presenting the evidence as clear-cut proof.
By your standards......Len J
Jan 29, 2004 9:52 AM
when do we invade North Korea?, Iran? Which one first?

Let's face it Iraq was convenient, it satisfied the american public & the administrations desire for retaliation (at someone) and the Neo-cons seized the opportunity to act. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Too late for North Korea, too soon for IranContinental
Jan 29, 2004 11:48 AM
North Korea's conventional army and weapons focused on South Korea and their nuclear weapons make invasion virtually impossible. All we can do with North Korea is contain them.

Iran is not yet run by a megalomanical dictator with a history of aggression. If fundementalist religious clerics consolidate power, crush the more liberal elected leaders, and develop a Taliban-type government, then we should go in.
I don't know about youmoneyman
Jan 29, 2004 9:51 AM
But when I make a decision, I gather all the information about the subject I can. Sometimes the information is incomplete or conflicting. I often seek expert advice when I don't have enough background to make the decision without that advice. After compiling all the information, I make a judgment based on the information and my interpretation of it, taking into consideration my own experience and knowledge. Even with that lengthy process, sometimes I am wrong.

The stakes in Iraq were higher by magnitudes than any decision I could make for myself. Yet it seems to me that the process I employ is the same process used by the Bush administration, which is perhaps why it makes so much logical sense to me. They acted on the best available data they had. However, one cannot get past the adage "garbage in, garbage out" if, indeed, there were/are no WMDs. Bad information leads to bad decisions. The consequnces of this path of action have been the deaths of 500 brave Americans and thousands of Iraqis as well as massive amounts taken from this nations treasury. But we must ask ourselves, in assessing the results of the process, are we (The US, Iraq, the world) in a better position today than we were before the war? While certainly arguable and very short term, I believe the answer is yes.

That is where you and I differ.

but that's not the way they did it.rufus
Jan 29, 2004 10:39 AM
instead of the raw intelligence data being sent to the banks of intelligence experts who worked in the NSA or CIA, or any of the other intelligence services, where they could look at it, compare it to the things they knew, analyze the source that it came from and their ability to know this information, and their veracity in the past on other things, the raw data was sent right to rummy's DIA, or cheney, perle and the rest of the guys running this thing at the pentagon.

as many people have noted, the staff at the DIA were not professionals in the intelligence business, they were staffers and others picked more for their loyalty to the top guys than their expertise in examining intelligence data.

so when the latest bit from ahmed chalabi's organization, or some other place, came in describing how there was a chemical weapons plant operating out of some pharmaceutical front company, there was no one to look at the source and determine if he held a position or was in an area to know this, how exactly he came across this information, what corroborating documentation was there, and was it legitimate. it was just taken as fact by those in the pentagon, and added to the dossier they were compiling that indicated there were WMD's and saddam was developing them.

hence, things like the "mohammed atta meeting iraqi leaders in prague" bit of info, which got passed on and taken as gospel by the admin and the neo-cons, and still spoken of, despite the leader of the czech government telling the admin it wasn't legit, despite all the work from the FBI that followed atta's path, tracing his travels and expenditures, and bases him in florida at the time of the alleged meeting.
She's at least as objective as you and me. nmOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 9:20 AM
You, perhaps.moneyman
Jan 29, 2004 9:34 AM
Me, on the other hand, am completely objective and open minded. So open minded, in fact, that I believe you should not be arrested for your Nihilistic actions or your traitorous Confederate sympathies.

When the Revolution comes, I'll be sure to tellBottomBracketShell
Jan 29, 2004 9:41 AM
the Commissar in charge of your re-education how tolerant you were.
There's nothing traitorous aboutOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 9:43 AM
resisting your Yankee aggression.
So you admit you're a Nihilist?moneyman
Jan 29, 2004 9:53 AM
By not denying it, you admit it. I knew it all along, by the way.

I've sent a copy of this conversation to the Committee. They now have the information they have been looking for.

Ah! Guilt by failure to deny.OldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 10:00 AM
You been talkin to Ann and her hero Joe!
There's nothing traitorous aboutOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2004 9:51 AM
resisting your Yankee aggression.
no one caresgtx
Jan 29, 2004 9:50 AM
Bush wanted this war before he came into office. WMD is what played best in the polls in the first Gulf War, so they just used it again, with a smattering of 9/11 references thrown in to sweeten the deal. And so now Bush gets to play victim of the intelligence community. It's perfect, really. He can act misled, shrug it off, say everyone makes mistakes, and he still gets what he wanted from the get go.
Even the people who support Bush knowBottomBracketShell
Jan 29, 2004 9:55 AM
in heir heart of hearts that he intended to invade Iraq from the start and was only looking for an excuse. They won't admit it but they do.
well, i don't know about georgie...rufus
Jan 29, 2004 10:46 AM
but cheney, rummy, perle, wolfie, libby, and the rest of the bunch sure did. and they had the right puppet to manipulate.
Nearly all Dems and Reps said "regime change"Continental
Jan 29, 2004 11:58 AM
for the past 6 years. In their heart of hearts they all wanted Saddam removed from power and they are all glad he's gone. Bush actually did what others just talked about. Good for him.
And killed thousands in the process. . .czardonic
Jan 29, 2004 12:35 PM
. . .misled the American people, undermined our international credibility, etc.
And killed thousands in the process. . .Jon Billheimer
Jan 29, 2004 2:58 PM
None of this seems to matter. Bush got his way and America got its badly bruised ego puffed up by waging another "winning" war against a regime unable to defend itself or retaliate in any meanigful way. Might makes right, and the Bully reinforces his inflated self-image.

None of this really has anything to do with morality, respect for international law, public safety or national self-defense.