Bush Ignored Intelligence (Again)

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

The party line from the right is that faulty intelligence is what screwed things up in Iraq.  And, no doubt, there were many incorrect intelligence assessments regarding Iraq prior to the war.  (There were also, as neocons ignore, many intelligent assessments casting doubt about Saddam’s capabilities).

But that "faulty intelligence" argument presumes that the Bush Administration would have listened to intelligence assessments that contradicted their preconceived world view.  Clearly, the Bush White House would not have.  A clear example of the Bush Administration’s tone-deafness to sound intelligence shows itself in this Knight Ridder article:

Among the warnings, Knight Ridder has learned, was a major study, called a National Intelligence Estimate, completed in October 2003 that concluded that the insurgency was fueled by local conditions — not foreign terrorists — and drew strength from deep grievances, including the presence of U.S. troops.

…. Robert Hutchings, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 2003 to 2005, said the October 2003 study was part of a "steady stream" of dozens of intelligence reports warning Bush and his top lieutenants that the insurgency was intensifying and expanding.

"Frankly, senior officials simply weren’t ready to pay attention to analysis that didn’t conform to their own optimistic scenarios," Hutchings said in a telephone interview.

So, once again, the White House ignored intelligence that lacked the rosy-ness of their political fantasies.