On Pre-War Intelligence and Post-War Lies

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

A hat tip to Eric Alterman who realizes that he is going to be branded as an anti-Semite for merely pointing to this article from the nation’s leading Jewish newspaper. The article describes the recent Senate Intelligence Committee Report dealing with pre-war intelligence. It also refers to the Knesset report — the Israeli equivalent of the Senate report. The money quote:

Along similar lines, the Senate report criticized what it described as the creation of an "assumption train" — a chain of false assumptions based on faulty, unscrutinized intelligence. Judging from the Knesset report, issued in March by an investigative committee appointed by the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, several of the assumption train’s cars were made in Israel.

That’s a pretty hefty accusation, coming from the Jewish media.

So if our pre-war intelligence came from Iraqi defectors (folks like Chalabi with an axe to grind and a vested interest in Iraq’s overthrow), and Israel (not exactly a neutral party either), why is everyone so dumbfounded about intelligence failures? It’s like thinking you will uncover accurate information about the Hatfields by interviewing the McCoys . . . and then acting "surprised" when the intelligence turns out to be faulty.

And now to the post-war lies . . .

Eric Alterman also opens himself to being labeled (libeled?) an America-hater and a Saddam supporter, simply for referring to this article, which tells how Saddam’s mass killings were apparently exaggerated by Blair.

Let me get the perfunctories out of the way. You see, certain idiots think that if you raise facts and allegations that indicate Bush or Blair exaggerated/mislead/lied, then you must therefore hate America, and (as Alterman puts it) "wish that Saddam was back in power". I’m not sure which is more embarrassing: the idiots’ illogical argument, or giving credibility to the idiots’ argument by actually responding to it with all seriousness. Nonetheless, I will state that which I think should be hopefully obvious: I do not hate America. Nor is this a defense of Saddam. After all, one unjust death is one unjust death too many.

But the point is this: if Saddam Hussein was truly evil (and I personally think he was), why was it necessary to lie and exaggerate to demonstrate that? Why was it necessary for Blair to say that "’400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves", when the truth is that only 5,000 have been found (in the 215 of the 270 sites inspected so far)?

Did our leaders have to lie about Hitler in order to rally public support for the war? Did they have to "pad" the death toll from Pearl Harbor?

Wasn’t the truth, stately plainly, good enough? If the Iraq war was justifiable, there would have been no need to "make a case" for it before it began. And there would be no need to continue to lie about the war rationale after-the-fact.