Faulty Intelligence

The President gave an address today, and the big news, apparently, is that he's admitted we went to war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence:

“It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,” the president told the Woodrow Wilson Center on the eve of elections to establish Iraq's first permanent, democratically elected government. “And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that.”

I suspect there will be a lot of second-guessing on the “much” part. What intelligence was wrong? Certainly specifics on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, but there were material breaches of the treaty that stopped the first Iraq war. We found enriched uranium, chemical warheads, long-range rockets that could reach Israel and other material. We didn't find mobile labs and full-scale active programs. It is suspected a lot of similar material went over the border into Syria and some of that material showed up in Jordan.

Unfortunately, Bush is also making an “ends justify the means” claim:

“We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of brutal dictator,” he said. “It is to leave a free and democratic Iraq in his place… My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Saddam was a threat and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power,” he said.

If we had had this as the centerpiece of the arguments to go to war, that would have been better. Of course, it could never be the centerpiece in an argument to the UN, but we should have stuck to the rhetoric of “material breach” of standing agreements. We had that. It should have been compelling.

We'll see if Bush fighting back against Iraq criticism will work. He got a small jump in approval ratings that has already eroded so far.

Josh Poulson

Posted Wednesday, Dec 14 2005 09:41 AM

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« Fall Quarter Over
Bill of Rights Day »





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