Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's Confirmed

Just in case you were wondering whether the Bush Administration led us into war in Iraq based on rumors and exaggerations, sexed-up intelligence, and a pre-existing desire to take out Saddam rather than a belief that he represented an imminent threat, it's now confirmed by none other than former CIA Director and Medal of Freedom recipient George Tenet.

Tenet's new book asserts that "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraq threat," that "White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before Sept. 11, 2001," and that there were "numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert 'crap' into public justifications for the war," including a speech by Cheney in August 2002 that "went well beyond what our analysis could support."

The Bush Administration's response is that there was a lot of wrestling with all the very serious questions leading up to the war, but that "the former CIA director might have been unaware of all the discussions. " That makes sense. If you're going to discuss questions of war and peace that turn critically on the quality of foreign intelligence, the last person you'd want in the room would be the CIA Director.

Of course, Tenet has his own axe to grind and so he may not be the most credible of sources, especially having presided over perhaps the two most disastrous intelligence failures in U.S. history -- failing to detect the 9/11 plot and telling us that Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction. But even the Administration's own former fair-haired boy is now telling us that the Administration deliberately led us into war based on overhyped intelligence.

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