Monday, August 09, 2004


In the last “Point,” Mark Hyman admitted that he screwed up history by a using a film clip of Teddy Roosevelt during an editorial that mentioned Franklin Roosevelt. Now, if he’ll just admit that he distorts current events as much as historical ones . . . .

“The Counterpoint” isn’t holding its breath. A case in point is the inclusion of Hyman’s distortions concerning the National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq and its relationship to John Kerry. Hyman points out that Kerry’s campaign publicly questioned whether anyone in the White House had read the full NIE before going to war, but that then Kerry’s team admitted that Kerry had not read the full 90+ pages of the document before “voting to invade Iraq.” (For more on the NIE and its use, misuse, or non-use by the Bush administration, check out this link from Disinfopedia ).

First, neither Kerry nor the rest of the Senate voted to invade Iraq. They voted to give President Bush permission to use military options to ensure Iraq gave up the WMDs the President assured us it had. Admittedly, giving Bush blanket permission to use force, assuming that he would exhaust other measures and get international support before doing so, can be considered a serious lapse in judgment. But the vote was not a vote “to invade Iraq” but to allow the military option to be used should it be necessary. Unfortunately, Bush didn’t tell the Senate that he had already made that decision long before. It’s interesting to note, however, that Hyman’s attempt to link Kerry to the decision to go to war in Iraq serves as a tacit admission that this decision was a mistake, or, at the very least, has become a political liability. Until quite recently, Hyman has touted the invasion as a triumph for Bush.

But the supposed backtracking Hyman refers to isn’t what’s important, here. As this article from Slate notes, not many expect even the president (any president, let alone this one) to plow through every word of such a report. The problem is that this intelligence report wasn’t ordered until well after fairly detailed plans had been made for the invasion. The decision to go after Iraq had in fact been made shortly after 9/11, and possibility of doing so was part of the Bush administration’s plans from the very beginning. Rather than offering information upon which to base the decision, the NIE was an administration tool for selling the Iraq plan.

Added to this are reports from multiple sources that pressure was exerted by the administration on the intelligence services to come up with data that would support the decision to go to war. Now, the administration is attempting to scapegoat these very organizations for the Iraq quagmire.

If this wasn’t enough, we know that while John Kerry and other Senators, even if they hadn’t read every page of the briefing, were briefed in detail about the contents of the NIE, the president’s “briefing” came in the form of a one-page memo. That’s right: one page. This page apparently ignored any evidence or opinion that ran counter to the verdict the administration wanted: Iraq has WMDs and has relationships with al-Quaeda and other terrorist groups. Of course, we don’t know exactly what this one-page Cliff’s Notes version of the NIE says, because the administration is refusing to release it. Hmmmm…I wonder why?

In the end, Kerry’s campaign used an ill-advised rhetorical tactic of asking a simple question (“Did anyone at the White House read the NIE?”) to stand in for a series of more complex ones. (“To what extent was contradictory opinion included in the NIE? Were these opinions discussed? To what extent? By whom? What was the rationale for discounting them? Where was the decision-making process at when the NIE was issued? Could there have been anything the NIE might have said that would have precluded war, or was the die already cast?”). But Republican spinmeisters such as Hyman are willfully distorting the facts to manufacture an attack on Kerry.

And while it may be a sign of panic and desperation that Bush supporters are now reduced to arguing that John Kerry was just as uninformed as the president, this doesn’t excuse their misrepresentation. Teddy Roosevelt isn’t Franklin Roosevelt, and George Bush is no John Kerry.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you consider that there has been a long-range plan to reposition American military assets, including sea and land bases, in the Persian Gulf region, that Saudi Arabia has proven inhospitable, that the island of Guam isn't big enough and neither are Qatar or Kuwait, then you might conclude that the pressure on Iraq had more to do with softening them up to make them receptive to the fourteen military land bases that have been planned and are now being constructed. You might also opine that the policy developers in the Pentagon had grown impatient with Saddam Hussein's recalcitrance and ANY excuse for taking aggressive action was to be welcome.
If so, then the failure to pay close attention the NIE is easily explained by the recognition that it was just a smoke screen, or perhaps a fig leaf, to disguise the real agenda.
In my mind, the absolute absence of even a trace of WMD in Iraq suggests that Saddam had the place scrubbed clean in order to show up the U.S. policy as a fraud.
What I further suspect, if my hypothesis has merit, is that the provoked uprising in Iraq will continue until the countries in the region run out of patience and agree that it might be a good idea for the Americans to bring in their military assets on a permanent basis, especially if they continue to pay through the nose for the messes they are creating.
I find it interesting that, under the guise of challenging the Administration's attitude towards nuclear proliferation, the possibility of Saudi acquisition of nuclear arms is being surfaced. If Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel all have nuclear weapons, what better reason do we need for the Americans to sit in their midst and keep the peace?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.