Hogan's Alley

Friday, May 25, 2007

Did The Administration Cherry Pick The Intelligence?

Reports are emerging today from the Senate Intelligence Committee that in the weeks and months prior to the invasion of the Iraq the CIA was providing opinions that pointed to the great difficulty to be faced in Iraq and the region after the overthrow of Hussein's government.

It is not yet clear how these, now isolated reports, fit into the full array of materials available to the White House when it finalized plans for the invasion. How they fit may be the key historical puzzle of these times, nothing less.

If, as charged by George Tenet and others, the administration determined to invade come hell or high water and ignored as "nervous nellies" (in Lyndon Johnson's terms) those who raised reasonable cautions, then America was clearly mislead by this President. One can argue that the screw up regarding WMD's was a genuine mistake. But if all the advise provided pointed toward great difficulty in a civil chaos that would follow, then Bush and Co. clearly chose to lie and dissemble. We need to find out if there were contemporaneous findings that pointed to the likelihood of a facile and positive outcome. If they don't exist, then it would seem we were guided solely by the rich fantasy life of Dick Cheney.

But in the end, does it really matter so much if the President knew the likely post-war difficulties? The fact is he should have known before committing our young people to be killed and maimed. The general incompetence of the Bush Administration, both at home and abroad is already certified as being of historic proportions.

Our apparent fascination, at this very early date, with the 2008 Presidential campaign is nothing so much as a way of denying the existence of this President. Dreaming of a future great President helps us believe that America can and will work again.

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