Friday, November 11, 2005

Say It Plain, Bush Lied Again

In an infamous Thatcher-era spy trial, the then Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong defended himself as not having lied, but rather being "economical with the truth". The Phrase Finder describes the quote thusly:

Conveying an untrue version of events by leaving out the important facts. A euphemism for lying, in short.

I'm fairly sure Karl Rove, with his love of all things Thatcherite, has heard the phrase before...and I am dead certain veteran journalist Walter Pincus has.

The Washington Post puts it thusly:

President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

In other words, Bush was being economical with the truth. Pincus and Dana Milbank to a good job of explaining much of the why and how of the lies.

Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

There's far more on how the historical revisionist is in fact Bush himself. Definitely worth a read.

Then there's this from the Booman Tribune on how Bush referred to yet another document that was likely forged in his speech - the highly suspect Zawahiri letter to Zarqawi.

And Sadly No has a comparison of the speech today with a speech Bush gave at the National Endowment for Democracy back in October. Huge chunks are identical - obviously the veterans don't deserve the honor of a new speech...

Update And then there is this, from Think Progress, who look at the differences between the classified and unclassified National Intelligence Estimates:

Classified NIE: “Although we have little specific information on Iraq’s CW stockpile, Saddam Hussein probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons” of such poisons.
Unclassified NIE: The phrase “although we have little specific information” was deleted. Instead, the public report said, “Saddam probably has stocked a few hundred metric tons of CW agents.”

Classified NIE: “Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW [biological weapons] agents and is capable of quickly producing … a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers and covert operatives.”
Unclassified NIE: The words “potentially against the U.S. homeland” are inserted at the end of the statement.

Classified NIE: Stated Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents.”
Unclassified NIE: A footnote in the classified version from the Air Force stating its disagreement with this claim was eliminated. The Senate Committee report stated the public NIE missed “the fact that… [the] agency with primary responsibility for technological analysis on UAV programs did not agree with the assessment.”

Classified NIE: Included a reference to State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research dissenting view on whether Iraq would have a nuclear weapon this decade.
Unclassified NIE: Did not contain any mention of INR’s dissent.

Bush is being "economical with the truth" still. It may even be strictly true that there was no political pressure to change the information. Why apply political pressure when you can just make the changes yourself?

Update 12th Nov,

Cori Dauber has a realistic rightwinger response to the WaPo article over at Ranting Profs. She admits that much of what Pincus and Milbank write has merit but also points out that Democrats had available the 92-page unclassified NIE days before the votes in Congress but that "no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary."

Dauber concludes that maybe a lot of these guys voted based on "what everyone knew," and then "what everyone knew" turned out to be wrong and now they're looking to blame someone. Given that they had access to the full unclassified NIE before the vote, there's no doubt in my mind that any Democrat who bothered to look would have found the information Think Progress cites - and should have then voted "no", no matter what the public would have thought of them at the time. That several no doubt knew that information but voted "yes" anyway is an indictment of the Albright school of hawkish Democrat as well as an indictment of Democrat leaders who were more worried about how their vote would play to the public than actually doing the right thing.

I wouldn't personally vote for a single person who didn't have the cojones to stand up and vote "no" back then -and if they didn't vote "no" because they hadn't read the full 92 pages then that's even worse because that is what they get paid to do. I'm not saying that the Democrats were, in the final analysis, misled - if you think I am then you mistake my point.

My point is that we, the people, were misled. WE didn't have access to the unclassified NIE and that was used by the Bush administration to inflame passions and create a public pressure for war. The Dems, like the Republicans who also knew the classified truth, voted the way they did because they knew the public would crucify them if they voted against what the public thought it knew. WE were misled, not the politicos. Misled literally - led into mistakingly thinking the invasion of Iraq was necessary as a response to a clear and present danger (WMD vs The West - the old "mushroom clouds over US cities" line) and not given the true information soon enough for enough of the public to change it's mind before we were already at war.

Who gives a flying naughty word about what the politicians knew - they are supposed to work for us and they didn't tell us in time. But let's be clear - the Dems who voted "yes" just went along with it for self-serving reasons, but the prime movers of the public's deception were the Bush and Blair administrations.

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