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The WMD Lying Game.... and of course the raw facts if you can handle them

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Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
There is a possibility Bush was intentionally given bad evidence and not informed, but we will never know that. He has not made a fuss over the modern conventional French, German, Russian, or Chineese arms we found there, nor the French luxury goods found in Saddam's palaces, you think he is going to sell out Blair????

Gut feeling, Bush knew that 45 minute claim was bogus, and Blair knew he would take the heat if it ever came out...

I understand every piece was not 100% accurate, although some were. I will never expect any intelligence, especially covering an entire country, to be perfect. But it's not like Bush and Blair pulled a rabbit out of a hat and said "Spain has been taken over by communist robots from space". Saddam's history of WMD, both past and recent, were well known. The UN report is filled with instances of deception and attempted retention of WMD capabilities. They were still inspecting, they knew there were still things left unaccounted for, I doubt they were searching for things they felt did not exist.
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
Four years without inspection is a significant period. Given the history of Iraq?s proscribed
weapons programmes (see Appendix), Iraq potentially could have made considerable
advancements in that time, particularly in the biological and chemical fields. For example, within
Page 11 of 173
UNMOVIC Working document
6 March 2003
a period of about three years, Iraq built most of its chemical weapons plant at Al Muthanna and
went into large-scale production of a variety of CW agents and munitions. And it took just two
years to build its BW production plant at Al Hakam and produce over 27,000 litres of BW agent.
Plants of such a size would of course be easy to detect, but they could also be disguised as dual
purpose plants now producing some civilian product. In fact, that is exactly how Iraq presented
its BW production facilities to UNSCOM inspectors from 1991 to 1995. Smaller plants and
underground or mobile facilities would be harder to detect.
UNMOVIC has received many reports suggesting that Iraq has been engaged in a range of
proscribed activities during the absence of inspectors. The information has been of a variety of
types, from general assertions to detailed and precise intelligence. Some of it has been presented
publicly, much of it has not. It has included overhead imagery, reports from defectors and other
sources such as communications intercepts.
Intelligence Information and its interpretation: some examples
As mentioned above, UNMOVIC has received intelligence report from a number of
governments. Below are a few examples with some indications of the use UNMOVIC has made
of the information, although, for obvious operational reasons, not all of the details are disclosed.
Mobile BW agent production facilities
Several governments have provided UNMOVIC with information relating to truck-mounted BW
agent production facilities. The reports, which are reasonably consistent, refer to a series of
usually three large articulated trucks that together comprise a complete, but small, biological
factory. The reports indicate that one truck would carry fermenters, another the mixing and
preparation tanks and the third, equipment to process and store the product. Several such mobile
factories are said to exist and BW agent was reported to have been produced in them from 1998
to 2002, with some reports suggesting that production continues.
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
Although there have been some inconsistencies and discrepancies in Iraq?s semi-annual
declarations, the largest failing is the lack of information on suppliers. UNMOVIC has noted in
the biological area about 40 cases where insufficient information is provided on the supplier, and
in the chemical area, about 70. In the missile area however there are almost 500 examples of
imports where the supplier has been inadequately identified. On many occasions the imports are
simply referred to as coming from the ?local market? or from ?Iraq? when it is clear that the
items actually originated from overseas. In such cases, the actual supplier and country of origin
have not been identified. Items have included gyroscopes, chemicals and laboratory equipment.
There is evidence to indicate that many of components for Iraq?s declared RPVs and missiles
originated from overseas and the supplier has been inadequately identified.

(now where would you get chineese and german and french missilles? how about russian night vision goggles?)
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
UNSCOM found that the accounting for some of the unilaterally destroyed bombs was not
possible given the hazardous conditions created by the method of destruction. In addition, Iraq
has produced no documentation that could have substantiated its statements that the surplus and
rejected R-400 bombs had been melted at NSE. The one document submitted as evidence of the
meltdown did not specifically refer to R-400s. In addition, photographic evidence shows that
biological R-400A bombs had been located at Al Walid Air base in October 1991, which is not
consistent with Iraq?s FFCD and CAFCD.
Through sampling of excavated bombs at Al Azzizziyah in 1997, UNSCOM found botulinum
toxin in an R-400 bomb. Iraq had never declared that it had filled R-400 bombs with this agent.
Sampling of R-400 chemical bombs did confirm the presence of the alcohol component for
binary Sarin/Cyclosarin.
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
Assessment
During the period 1992-1998, Iraq changed its declaration on the quantity of bombs it had
produced from 1,200 to 1,550. Over the same period, Iraq changed its declaration as to the types
of CBW agent fill, leaving UNMOVIC with little confidence in either the numbers produced or
types of agent filled. It is not clear from Iraqi statements and documentation how many R-400
bombs had been ordered for CW purposes and the fill between unitary weapons and binary
components. Although Iraq has stated that it ordered the production of 200 R-400A bombs, this
may not have been the only order.
In addition, photographic evidence shows that R-400A bombs had been located at Al Walid
Airbase in October 1991. This contradicts the declaration by Iraq that R-400A bombs had only
been deployed to Al Azzizziyah and Airfield 37 and that all such bombs had been destroyed in
July or August 1991.
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
UNMOVIC does not have a complete understanding of the coding system for the R-400 bombs.
Iraq?s explanation that this was in some way random or based on materials available is not
credible. The classification and marking of the R-400s, which indicated the agent fill, should
have been fundamental to their deployment and use.
By its design and technical parameters, the R-400 bombs could be quite suitable as a delivery
means for some chemical warfare agents, but less so for the proper aerosolization of biological
agents. With an impact fuse, the R-400 could have been effective for delivering a Sarin weapon;
fitted with an air burst fuse it could have been suitable for delivering persistent agents, such as
VX and Mustard. With respect to biological agents, the relatively large volume of liquid agent
together with the small burster tube and thick bomb walls means that much of the agent would
not be dispersed as respirable particles but as relatively large droplets. However, any use of
biological weapons by Iraq, regardless of their technical efficiencies, could have a significant
political and psychological impact.
Al Azzizziyah firing range was declared as the destruction area for all of the filled biological R-
400 bombs and was excavated under the supervision of UNSCOM in 1997. UNSCOM identified
three intact bombs and fragments of about another 20 R-400 bombs. Excavation was stopped
because of the risk of unexploded ordnance in the area. In February 2003, Iraq notified
UNMOVIC that it had recommenced excavation of R-400 bomb fragments at Al Azzizziyah
firing range. As at 03 March 2003, Iraq had recovered eight complete bombs, 94 base plates and
over 250 bomb fragments from a number of excavation sites at the range. Analysis of samples
taken from the intact bombs as well as from the bomb fragments cannot confirm the content of
the bombs although further analysis continues. Some fragments had a black stripe and there was
evidence on some fragments of an epoxy coating, both indicative of biological agent-filled
bomb.
It should be noted that, given the uncertainties surrounding R-400 production and the fact that
the base plates from R-400A bombs are indistinguishable from R-400 bombs (and may be
exactly the same as the BRIP-400) it is unlikely that the results from the excavation will enable
this issue to be resolved.
As it has proved impossible to verify the production and destruction details of R-400 bombs,
UNMOVIC cannot discount the possibility that some CW and BW filled R-400 bombs remain in
Iraq.
 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
It is known that Iraq already possesses the technical knowledge and infrastructure for producing
R-400 type bombs, and could easily construct bomb bodies from existing resources. Any moulds
that may have been destroyed could have been reconstituted, photographic analysis of the tail
assemblies supports the conclusion that Iraq used only one type of tail assembly and parachute
system for the new bomb and Iraq probably has a number of tail assemblies from existing stocks
of conventional bombs available for use.


(this is the official UN report to the UN on March 6th of 2003....)
 

CaptnKirk

Lifer
Jul 25, 2002
10,054
0
71
John W. Deans take on the Bush Administrations actions:

The LINK

The text:

<SPAN class=smalltext>
President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake - acts of war against another nation.
Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet, and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) go away - unless, perhaps, they start another war.
That seems unlikely. Until the questions surrounding the Iraqi war are answered, Congress and the public may strongly resist more of President Bush's warmaking.
Presidential statements, particularly on matters of national security, are held to an expectation of the highest standard of truthfulness. A president cannot stretch, twist or distort facts and get away with it. President Lyndon Johnson's distortions of the truth about Vietnam forced him to stand down from reelection. President Richard Nixon's false statements about Watergate forced his resignation.
Frankly, I hope the WMDs are found, for it will end the matter. Clearly, the story of the missing WMDs is far from over. And it is too early, of course, to draw conclusions. But it is not too early to explore the relevant issues.
<B>President Bush's Statements On Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction</B>
Readers may not recall exactly what President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction; I certainly didn't. Thus, I have compiled these statements below. In reviewing them, I saw that he had, indeed, been as explicit and declarative as I had recalled.
Bush's statements, in chronological order, were:
<I>"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."</I>
<P align=right>United Nations Address
September 12, 2002
<I>"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."</I>
<I>"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."</I>
<P align=right>Radio Address
October 5, 2002
<I>"The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."</I>
<I>"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."</I>
<I>"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."</I>
<I>"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" - his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."</I>
<P align=right>Cincinnati, Ohio Speech
October 7, 2002
<I>"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."</I>
<P align=right>State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003
<I>"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."</I>
<P align=right>Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003
<B>Should The President Get The Benefit Of The Doubt?</B>
When these statements were made, Bush's let-me-mince-no-words posture was convincing to many Americans. Yet much of the rest of the world, and many other Americans, doubted them.
As Bush's veracity was being debated at the United Nations, it was also being debated on campuses - including those where I happened to be lecturing at the time.
On several occasions, students asked me the following question: Should they believe the President of the United States? My answer was that they should give the President the benefit of the doubt, for several reasons deriving from the usual procedures that have operated in every modern White House and that, I assumed, had to be operating in the Bush White House, too.
First, I assured the students that these statements had all been carefully considered and crafted. Presidential statements are the result of a process, not a moment's thought. White House speechwriters process raw information, and their statements are passed on to senior aides who have both substantive knowledge and political insights. And this all occurs before the statement ever reaches the President for his own review and possible revision.
Second, I explained that - at least in every White House and administration with which I was familiar, from Truman to Clinton - statements with national security implications were the most carefully considered of all. The White House is aware that, in making these statements, the President is speaking not only to the nation, but also to the world.
Third, I pointed out to the students, these statements are typically corrected rapidly if they are later found to be false. And in this case, far from backpedaling from the President's more extreme claims, Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer had actually, at times, been even more emphatic than the President had. For example, on January 9, 2003, Fleischer stated, during his press briefing, "We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
In addition, others in the Administration were similarly quick to back the President up, in some cases with even more unequivocal statements. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly claimed that Saddam had WMDs - and even went so far as to claim he knew "where they are; they're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
Finally, I explained to the students that the political risk was so great that, to me, it was inconceivable that Bush would make these statements if he didn't have damn solid intelligence to back him up. Presidents do not stick their necks out only to have them chopped off by political opponents on an issue as important as this, and if there was any doubt, I suggested, Bush's political advisers would be telling him to hedge. Rather than stating a matter as fact, he would be say: "I have been advised," or "Our intelligence reports strongly suggest," or some such similar hedge. But Bush had not done so.
So what are we now to conclude if Bush's statements are found, indeed, to be as grossly inaccurate as they currently appear to have been?
After all, no weapons of mass destruction have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find - for they existed in large quantities, "thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone. Moreover, according to the statements, telltale facilities, groups of scientists who could testify, and production equipment also existed.
So where is all that? And how can we reconcile the White House's unequivocal statements with the fact that they may not exist?
There are two main possibilities. One that something is seriously wrong within the Bush White House's national security operations. That seems difficult to believe. The other is that the President has deliberately misled the nation, and the world.
<B>A Desperate Search For WMDs Has So Far Yielded Little, If Any, Fruit</B>
Even before formally declaring war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the President had dispatched American military special forces into Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, which he knew would provide the primary justification<I> </I>for Operation Freedom. None were found.
Throughout Operation Freedom's penetration of Iraq and drive toward Baghdad, the search for WMDs continued. None were found.
As the coalition forces gained control of Iraqi cities and countryside, special search teams were dispatched to look for WMDs. None were found.
During the past two and a half months, according to reliable news reports, military patrols have visited over 300 suspected WMD sites throughout Iraq. None of the prohibited weapons were found there.
<B>British and American Press Reaction to the Missing WMDs</B>
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also under serious attack in England, which he dragged into the war unwillingly, based on the missing WMDs. In Britain, the missing WMDs are being treated as scandalous; so far, the reaction in the U.S. has been milder.
<I>New York Times</I> columnist, Paul Krugman, has taken Bush sharply to task, asserting that it is "long past time for this administration to be held accountable." "The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat," Krugman argued. "If that claim was fraudulent," he continued, "the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra." But most media outlets have reserved judgment as the search for WMDs in Iraq continues.
Still, signs do not look good. Last week, the Pentagon announced it was shifting its search from looking for WMD sites, to looking for people who can provide leads as to where the missing WMDs might be.
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, while offering no new evidence, assured Congress that WMDs will indeed be found. And he advised that a new unit called the Iraq Survey Group, composed of some 1400 experts and technicians from around the world, is being deployed to assist in the searching.
But, as <I>Time</I> magazine reported, the leads are running out. According to <I>Time</I>, the Marine general in charge explained that "[w]e've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad," and remarked flatly, "They're simply not there."
Perhaps most troubling, the President has failed to provide any explanation of how he could have made his very specific statements, yet now be unable to back them up with supporting evidence. Was there an Iraqi informant thought to be reliable, who turned out not to be? Were satellite photos innocently, if negligently misinterpreted? Or was his evidence not as solid as he led the world to believe?
The absence of any explanation for the gap between the statements and reality only increases the sense that the President's misstatements may actually have been intentional lies.
<B>Investigating The Iraqi War Intelligence Reports</B>
Even now, while the jury is still out as to whether intentional misconduct occurred, the President has a serious credibility problem. <I>Newsweek</I> magazine posed the key questions: "If America has entered a new age of pre-emption --when it must strike first because it cannot afford to find out later if terrorists possess nuclear or biological weapons--exact intelligence is critical. How will the United States take out a mad despot or a nuclear bomb hidden in a cave if the CIA can't say for sure where they are? And how will Bush be able to maintain support at home and abroad?"
In an apparent attempt to bolster the President's credibility, and his own, Secretary Rumsfeld himself has now called for a Defense Department investigation into what went wrong with the pre-war intelligence. <I>New York Times</I> columnist Maureen Dowd finds this effort about on par with O. J.'s looking for his wife's killer. But there may be a difference: Unless the members of Administration can find someone else to blame - informants, surveillance technology, lower-level personnel, you name it - they may not escape fault themselves.
Congressional committees are also looking into the pre-war intelligence collection and evaluation. Senator John Warner (R-VA), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee would jointly investigate the situation. And the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans an investigation.
These investigations are certainly appropriate, for there is potent evidence of either a colossal intelligence failure or misconduct - and either would be a serious problem. When the <U>best</U> case scenario seems to be mere incompetence, investigations certainly need to be made.
Senator Bob Graham - a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - told CNN's Aaron Brown, that while he still hopes they find WMDs or at least evidence thereof, he has also contemplated three other possible alternative scenarios:
<DIV class=quote>
One is that [the WMDs] were spirited out of Iraq, which maybe is the worst of all possibilities, because now the very thing that we were trying to avoid, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, could be in the hands of dozens of groups. Second, that we had bad intelligence. Or third, that the intelligence was satisfactory but that it was manipulated, so as just to present to the American people and to the world those things that made the case for the necessity of war against Iraq.</DIV>
Senator Graham seems to believe there is a serious chance that it is the final scenario that reflects reality. Indeed, Graham told CNN "there's been a pattern of manipulation by this administration."
Graham has good reason to complain. According to the <I>New York Times</I>, he was one of the few members of the Senate who saw the national intelligence estimate that was the basis for Bush's decisions. After reviewing it, Senator Graham requested that the Bush Administration declassify the information before the Senate voted on the Administration's resolution requesting use of the military in Iraq.
But rather than do so, CIA Director Tenet merely sent Graham a letter discussing the findings. Graham then complained that Tenet's letter only addressed "findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq," and ignored information that raised questions about intelligence. In short, Graham suggested that the Administration, by cherrypicking only evidence to its own liking, had manipulated the information to support its conclusion.
Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decisionmaking process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggests manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus of <I>Vanity Fair</I> magazine, said: "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason." More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that "[t]he country swims on a sea of oil."
<B>Worse than Watergate? A Potential Huge Scandal If WMDs Are Still Missing</B>
Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.
As I remarked in an earlier column, this Administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is <U>all</U> Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.
To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."
It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives <U>for misusing the CIA and FBI</U>. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.
Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a President to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case. <SPAN class=smalltext>
President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake - acts of war against another nation.
Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet, and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) go away - unless, perhaps, they start another war.
That seems unlikely. Until the questions surrounding the Iraqi war are answered, Congress and the public may strongly resist more of President Bush's warmaking.
Presidential statements, particularly on matters of national security, are held to an expectation of the highest standard of truthfulness. A president cannot stretch, twist or distort facts and get away with it. President Lyndon Johnson's distortions of the truth about Vietnam forced him to stand down from reelection. President Richard Nixon's false statements about Watergate forced his resignation.
Frankly, I hope the WMDs are found, for it will end the matter. Clearly, the story of the missing WMDs is far from over. And it is too early, of course, to draw conclusions. But it is not too early to explore the relevant issues.
<B>President Bush's Statements On Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction</B>
Readers may not recall exactly what President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction; I certainly didn't. Thus, I have compiled these statements below. In reviewing them, I saw that he had, indeed, been as explicit and declarative as I had recalled.
Bush's statements, in chronological order, were:
<I>"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."</I>
<P align=right>United Nations Address
September 12, 2002
<I>"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."</I>
<I>"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."</I>
<P align=right>Radio Address
October 5, 2002
<I>"The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."</I>
<I>"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."</I>
<I>"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."</I>
<I>"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" - his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."</I>
<P align=right>Cincinnati, Ohio Speech
October 7, 2002
<I>"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."</I>
<P align=right>State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003
<I>"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."</I>
<P align=right>Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003
<B>Should The President Get The Benefit Of The Doubt?</B>
When these statements were made, Bush's let-me-mince-no-words posture was convincing to many Americans. Yet much of the rest of the world, and many other Americans, doubted them.
As Bush's veracity was being debated at the United Nations, it was also being debated on campuses - including those where I happened to be lecturing at the time.
On several occasions, students asked me the following question: Should they believe the President of the United States? My answer was that they should give the President the benefit of the doubt, for several reasons deriving from the usual procedures that have operated in every modern White House and that, I assumed, had to be operating in the Bush White House, too.
First, I assured the students that these statements had all been carefully considered and crafted. Presidential statements are the result of a process, not a moment's thought. White House speechwriters process raw information, and their statements are passed on to senior aides who have both substantive knowledge and political insights. And this all occurs before the statement ever reaches the President for his own review and possible revision.
Second, I explained that - at least in every White House and administration with which I was familiar, from Truman to Clinton - statements with national security implications were the most carefully considered of all. The White House is aware that, in making these statements, the President is speaking not only to the nation, but also to the world.
Third, I pointed out to the students, these statements are typically corrected rapidly if they are later found to be false. And in this case, far from backpedaling from the President's more extreme claims, Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer had actually, at times, been even more emphatic than the President had. For example, on January 9, 2003, Fleischer stated, during his press briefing, "We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
In addition, others in the Administration were similarly quick to back the President up, in some cases with even more unequivocal statements. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly claimed that Saddam had WMDs - and even went so far as to claim he knew "where they are; they're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
Finally, I explained to the students that the political risk was so great that, to me, it was inconceivable that Bush would make these statements if he didn't have damn solid intelligence to back him up. Presidents do not stick their necks out only to have them chopped off by political opponents on an issue as important as this, and if there was any doubt, I suggested, Bush's political advisers would be telling him to hedge. Rather than stating a matter as fact, he would be say: "I have been advised," or "Our intelligence reports strongly suggest," or some such similar hedge. But Bush had not done so.
So what are we now to conclude if Bush's statements are found, indeed, to be as grossly inaccurate as they currently appear to have been?
After all, no weapons of mass destruction have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find - for they existed in large quantities, "thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone. Moreover, according to the statements, telltale facilities, groups of scientists who could testify, and production equipment also existed.
So where is all that? And how can we reconcile the White House's unequivocal statements with the fact that they may not exist?
There are two main possibilities. One that something is seriously wrong within the Bush White House's national security operations. That seems difficult to believe. The other is that the President has deliberately misled the nation, and the world.
<B>A Desperate Search For WMDs Has So Far Yielded Little, If Any, Fruit</B>
Even before formally declaring war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the President had dispatched American military special forces into Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, which he knew would provide the primary justification<I> </I>for Operation Freedom. None were found.
Throughout Operation Freedom's penetration of Iraq and drive toward Baghdad, the search for WMDs continued. None were found.
As the coalition forces gained control of Iraqi cities and countryside, special search teams were dispatched to look for WMDs. None were found.
During the past two and a half months, according to reliable news reports, military patrols have visited over 300 suspected WMD sites throughout Iraq. None of the prohibited weapons were found there.
<B>British and American Press Reaction to the Missing WMDs</B>
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also under serious attack in England, which he dragged into the war unwillingly, based on the missing WMDs. In Britain, the missing WMDs are being treated as scandalous; so far, the reaction in the U.S. has been milder.
<I>New York Times</I> columnist, Paul Krugman, has taken Bush sharply to task, asserting that it is "long past time for this administration to be held accountable." "The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat," Krugman argued. "If that claim was fraudulent," he continued, "the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra." But most media outlets have reserved judgment as the search for WMDs in Iraq continues.
Still, signs do not look good. Last week, the Pentagon announced it was shifting its search from looking for WMD sites, to looking for people who can provide leads as to where the missing WMDs might be.
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, while offering no new evidence, assured Congress that WMDs will indeed be found. And he advised that a new unit called the Iraq Survey Group, composed of some 1400 experts and technicians from around the world, is being deployed to assist in the searching.
But, as <I>Time</I> magazine reported, the leads are running out. According to <I>Time</I>, the Marine general in charge explained that "[w]e've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad," and remarked flatly, "They're simply not there."
Perhaps most troubling, the President has failed to provide any explanation of how he could have made his very specific statements, yet now be unable to back them up with supporting evidence. Was there an Iraqi informant thought to be reliable, who turned out not to be? Were satellite photos innocently, if negligently misinterpreted? Or was his evidence not as solid as he led the world to believe?
The absence of any explanation for the gap between the statements and reality only increases the sense that the President's misstatements may actually have been intentional lies.
<B>Investigating The Iraqi War Intelligence Reports</B>
Even now, while the jury is still out as to whether intentional misconduct occurred, the President has a serious credibility problem. <I>Newsweek</I> magazine posed the key questions: "If America has entered a new age of pre-emption --when it must strike first because it cannot afford to find out later if terrorists possess nuclear or biological weapons--exact intelligence is critical. How will the United States take out a mad despot or a nuclear bomb hidden in a cave if the CIA can't say for sure where they are? And how will Bush be able to maintain support at home and abroad?"
In an apparent attempt to bolster the President's credibility, and his own, Secretary Rumsfeld himself has now called for a Defense Department investigation into what went wrong with the pre-war intelligence. <I>New York Times</I> columnist Maureen Dowd finds this effort about on par with O. J.'s looking for his wife's killer. But there may be a difference: Unless the members of Administration can find someone else to blame - informants, surveillance technology, lower-level personnel, you name it - they may not escape fault themselves.
Congressional committees are also looking into the pre-war intelligence collection and evaluation. Senator John Warner (R-VA), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee would jointly investigate the situation. And the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans an investigation.
These investigations are certainly appropriate, for there is potent evidence of either a colossal intelligence failure or misconduct - and either would be a serious problem. When the <U>best</U> case scenario seems to be mere incompetence, investigations certainly need to be made.
Senator Bob Graham - a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - told CNN's Aaron Brown, that while he still hopes they find WMDs or at least evidence thereof, he has also contemplated three other possible alternative scenarios:
<DIV class=quote>
One is that [the WMDs] were spirited out of Iraq, which maybe is the worst of all possibilities, because now the very thing that we were trying to avoid, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, could be in the hands of dozens of groups. Second, that we had bad intelligence. Or third, that the intelligence was satisfactory but that it was manipulated, so as just to present to the American people and to the world those things that made the case for the necessity of war against Iraq.</DIV>
Senator Graham seems to believe there is a serious chance that it is the final scenario that reflects reality. Indeed, Graham told CNN "there's been a pattern of manipulation by this administration."
Graham has good reason to complain. According to the <I>New York Times</I>, he was one of the few members of the Senate who saw the national intelligence estimate that was the basis for Bush's decisions. After reviewing it, Senator Graham requested that the Bush Administration declassify the information before the Senate voted on the Administration's resolution requesting use of the military in Iraq.
But rather than do so, CIA Director Tenet merely sent Graham a letter discussing the findings. Graham then complained that Tenet's letter only addressed "findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq," and ignored information that raised questions about intelligence. In short, Graham suggested that the Administration, by cherrypicking only evidence to its own liking, had manipulated the information to support its conclusion.
Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decisionmaking process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggests manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus of <I>Vanity Fair</I> magazine, said: "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason." More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that "[t]he country swims on a sea of oil."
<B>Worse than Watergate? A Potential Huge Scandal If WMDs Are Still Missing</B>
Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.
As I remarked in an earlier column, this Administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is <U>all</U> Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.
To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."
It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives <U>for misusing the CIA and FBI</U>. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.
Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a President to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case. </SPAN><!--#include virtual="/includes/writ/writ.findlaw.com/includes/mboards_incl.html" --></SPAN><!--#include virtual="/includes/writ/writ.findlaw.com/includes/mboards_incl.html" -->
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,929
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I hope Alistar doesn't take a notion there's a bogy man in his closet. He's going to be a tough case to cure.

Alistar, did you know that Gore won?
 

ProviaFan

Lifer
Mar 17, 2001
14,993
1
0
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
I hope Alistar doesn't take a notion there's a bogy man in his closet. He's going to be a tough case to cure.

Alistar, did you know that Gore won?
Moonie, did you know that that's irrelevant to this argument? Did you know that Gore tried to rig the voting process by having selective recounts done, and when it dragged on too long, the judicial branch intervened and did not let him continue to play his little game.
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
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Originally posted by: jliechty
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
I hope Alistar doesn't take a notion there's a bogy man in his closet. He's going to be a tough case to cure.

Alistar, did you know that Gore won?
Moonie, did you know that that's irrelevant to this argument? Did you know that Gore tried to rig the voting process by having selective recounts done, and when it dragged on too long, the judicial branch intervened and did not let him continue to play his little game.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did. The legal challenge was 14th's equal clause on the recount method which was under the contol of others not Gore.

 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
10,597
0
0
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to only select heavily democratic counties to recount.

Uh, nope.
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
Originally posted by: etech
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to only select heavily democratic counties to recount.

Uh, nope.
There is law that defines the method of contesting and if the percentage is greater than the threshold the options available are also in law... He could select under the provisions of law.

 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
10,597
0
0
Originally posted by: HJD1
Originally posted by: etech
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to only select heavily democratic counties to recount.

Uh, nope.
There is law that defines the method of contesting and if the percentage is greater than the threshold the options available are also in law... He could select under the provisions of law.
Right, and he only selected four heavily democratic counties to contest. He did not call for a recount of the entire state of Florida.

The point is, Gore was not compelled to only select the counties that he did by Florida law. He picked and chose very carefully the counties he wanted recounted.

 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
Originally posted by: etech
Originally posted by: HJD1
Originally posted by: etech
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to only select heavily democratic counties to recount.

Uh, nope.
There is law that defines the method of contesting and if the percentage is greater than the threshold the options available are also in law... He could select under the provisions of law.
Right, and he only selected four heavily democratic counties to contest. He did not call for a recount of the entire state of Florida.

The point is, Gore was not compelled to only select the counties that he did by Florida law. He picked and chose very carefully the counties he wanted recounted.
As defined in the options available to him under law.... the USSC held the 'equal' issue against him. They recounted in a manner not equal... is how I read the opinion.

 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
Gore deserved to lose the eletion. No republican has ever won the white house without winning Ohio. Gore could have owned Ohio and chose not to, he lost right there.

How did he have this chance? Ever hear of Senator Glenn? Former astronaut, quite freking popular in Ohio, ok, that's an understatement. Let's put it this way, if you want to carry Ohio, you have two choices for a gurantee , suit up for the Browns and lead them to Super Bowl Victory, or align yourself and appear with Glenn as much as you can.

Glenn offered to appear with Gore in Ohio 3 times, Gore declined every opportunity given to him. There has not been a candidate Glenn has given that much support for fail in ohio, ever. It would be like a republican campaigning in Texas and refusing assistance from the Bush family.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,929
3,736
126
Moonie, did you know that that's irrelevant to this argument? Did you know that Gore tried to rig the voting process by having selective recounts done, and when it dragged on too long, the judicial branch intervened and did not let him continue to play his little game.
---------------
jliechty, did you know that relevance isn't apparent to all. As for what Gore did, it's irrelevant. Bush was an alcoholic. Should have been disqualified from the job automatically, right? The dragging on too long is a canard. The judicial branch was called in to stop the vote count. It's the vote count that determines who won. Gore won regardless of what he asked to be counted. There was only one vote that should have been counted from the very first, the entire state. There's a micro chance that Gore is a bigger idiot than Bush, but he still won. Asking for the wrong count don't mean Jack, Jack. Did anybody learn to think? :D
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
Originally posted by: etech
Originally posted by: HJD1
Originally posted by: etech
Gore was compelled by Florida law to select as he did.
Gore was compelled by Florida law to only select heavily democratic counties to recount.

Uh, nope.
There is law that defines the method of contesting and if the percentage is greater than the threshold the options available are also in law... He could select under the provisions of law.
Right, and he only selected four heavily democratic counties to contest. He did not call for a recount of the entire state of Florida.

The point is, Gore was not compelled to only select the counties that he did by Florida law. He picked and chose very carefully the counties he wanted recounted.



link

read justice Breyer's opinion of 12/12/2000 this is my feelings as well
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,929
3,736
126
Gore deserved to lose the eletion. No republican has ever won the white house without winning Ohio. Gore could have owned Ohio and chose not to, he lost right there.

How did he have this chance? Ever hear of Senator Glenn? Former astronaut, quite freking popular in Ohio, ok, that's an understatement. Let's put it this way, if you want to carry Ohio, you have two choices for a gurantee , suit up for the Browns and lead them to Super Bowl Victory, or align yourself and appear with Glenn as much as you can.

Glenn offered to appear with Gore in Ohio 3 times, Gore declined every opportunity given to him. There has not been a candidate Glenn has given that much support for fail in ohio, ever. It would be like a republican campaigning in Texas and refusing assistance from the Bush family.
----------------------
Actually Bush deserved to lose because he lost in California. California is the nation's future and where the rest of you will be in 20 years. Nothing like selecting to pin the tail of the donkey on the country's head. Thanks Supreme Coup.
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Moonie, did you know that that's irrelevant to this argument? Did you know that Gore tried to rig the voting process by having selective recounts done, and when it dragged on too long, the judicial branch intervened and did not let him continue to play his little game.
---------------
jliechty, did you know that relevance isn't apparent to all. As for what Gore did, it's irrelevant. Bush was an alcoholic. Should have been disqualified from the job automatically, right? The dragging on too long is a canard. The judicial branch was called in to stop the vote count. It's the vote count that determines who won. Gore won regardless of what he asked to be counted. There was only one vote that should have been counted from the very first, the entire state. There's a micro chance that Gore is a bigger idiot than Bush, but he still won. Asking for the wrong count don't mean Jack, Jack. Did anybody learn to think? :D
MB,
see the link I posted to etech above... go to Breyers opinion as joined by others I can't print or copy it it is adobe but it says what you've been saying, for the most part.

 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
0
0
Who in Cali made such an effort to help him that he turned down, and who realistically could have helped him carry the state. Don't think many people in Ohio didn't know he snubbed Glenn, that cost him more votes than he will ever know.

I have seen a republican win and not take Cali, one has never won without Ohio though, feel free to check yourself.....
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,929
3,736
126
Originally posted by: Alistar7
Who in Cali made such an effort to help him that he turned down, and who realistically could have helped him carry the state. Don't think many people in Ohio didn't know he snubbed Glenn, that cost him more votes than he will ever know.

I have seen a republican win and not take Cali, one has never won without Ohio though, feel free to check yourself.....
Well I certainly would if I thought it somehow was important. Gore won the actual election. That's enough for me.

HJ, does Breyer talk funny. I hate heavy thinkers. They sound funny when they write. I'll try your link, but I can smell a pork roast that just came out of the oven all covered in Rosemary twigs.


 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
10,597
0
0
read justice Breyer's opinion of 12/12/2000 this is my feelings as well
moonie, are you sure that isn't an equine roast in the oven? Perhaps HJD1 would like a slice. It certainly ought to be very tender by now.

Anyway, Let's say the USSC did not take the case. The outcome would not have changed. Pres. Bush would still have been elected. The USSC decision did not affect the outcome of the election. Gore picked his counties and still would have lost.
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
Originally posted by: etech
read justice Breyer's opinion of 12/12/2000 this is my feelings as well
moonie, are you sure that isn't an equine roast in the oven? Perhaps HJD1 would like a slice. It certainly ought to be very tender by now.

Anyway, Let's say the USSC did not take the case. The outcome would not have changed. Pres. Bush would still have been elected. The USSC decision did not affect the outcome of the election. Gore picked his counties and still would have lost.
Etech..... Etech..... Etech..... why hath thou forsaken me... oops.. wrong story..

Gore won.... if all the selected counties were counted as proscribed by Breyer... or by a fair interpretation of intent.
If there was a general election redo... with all the non voters voting it would have been a landslide to gore.... maybe not landslide but, by 15000 votes as per the USCCR findings.
 

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