Ignoring Whig

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Iraq, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

My jaw dropped when I read this crap from Glenn Reynolds at MSNBC:

Perhaps Reid should look at this Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraqi WMD, which found that errors in intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction didn’t stem from White House pressure, but from groupthink and systematic failure within the Intelligence Community:

The Committee found significant short-comings in almost every aspect of the Intelligence Community’s human intelligence collection efforts against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction activities, in particular that the Community had no sources collecting against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 1998.  Most, if not all, of these problems, stem from a broken corporate culture and poor management, and will not be solved by additional funding and personnel.

Glenn apparently is happy to leave his analysis at that.   

What he ignores is that the Senate Intelligence Committee Report to which he refers pertained only to Phase One of the Senate’s investigation.  It’s only PART of the inquiry!!  And the focus of Phase One was limited to the problems within the Intelligence Community (and nobody is denying that there were problems). 

Phase Two, which Republicans have been stonewalling, was supposed to investigate The Bush Administration and its role in the manipulation, poor management, groupthinkity of intelligence.  It’s that phase that Reid is hopping mad about, because it isn’t going forward.

Glenn — intentionally, I think — pretends that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s work is done, and their Phase One report is the beginning and the end of the inquiry.  (Glenn, the report is entitled "Report on The Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments of Iraq".  That should tip you off that it was NOT a report about the Bush Administration’s use of intelligence).

So Glenn (intentionally) also avoids the obvious questions:

If the Intelligence Community had "no sources collecting against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 1998", then on what basis did the White House claim (in 2002) that Saddam posed an "imminent threat"?  How did old intelligence data suddenly render Saddam’s threat as being "imminent"?

To what extent was the White House complicit in, or fostered, the "groupthink" mentality of the Intelligence Community?

To what extent was the White House aware of the aforesaid problems in the Intelligence Community, and how much did it inform the American people of those problems?  For example, if the White House was aware that Intelligence Community information regarding WMD was from way back in 1998, was this fact converyed to the public, or was it kept hidden?

In a nutshell, this is really about WHIG, explained as follows by Wikipedia (internal link removed):

The White House Iraq Group (aka, White House Information Group or WHIG) was the marketing arm of the Republican Party whose purpose was to sell the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the public. The task force was set up in August 2002 by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and chaired by Karl Rove to coordinate all the executive branch elements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. One example of the WHIG’s functions and influence is the "escalation of rhetoric about the danger that Iraq posed to the US, including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’".