Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I'm Still Glad We Took The Road To Bagdhad

Certain Bush Administration critics will be all over this Washington Post article with the "Bush Lied - People Died" meme. It looks to me like the Administration had a pre-conceived notion leading them to distrust the intelligence community because it missed several key events:
But the Bush administration had reasons to imagine the worst. The CIA had faced searing criticism for its failures to foresee India's resumption of nuclear testing in 1998 and to "connect the dots" pointing to al Qaeda's attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Cheney, the administration's most influential advocate of a worst-case analysis, had been powerfully influenced by his experience as defense secretary just after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

Former National Security Council official Richard A. Clarke recalled how information from freshly seized Iraqi documents disclosed the existence of a "crash program" to build a bomb in 1991. The CIA had known nothing of it.

"I can understand why that was a seminal experience for Cheney," Clarke said. "And when the CIA says [in 2002], 'We don't have any evidence,' his reaction is . . . 'We didn't have any evidence in 1991, either. Why should I believe you now?' "
Still, the article makes it clear that the Iraqi government was seeking nuclear weapons, just that they weren't immanent. Since that was not the most important reason I wanted to go the war I am not bothered by this. I am more worried about the damage to Bush the candidate. I have seen this pattern followed many times when business or political decisions are made. I would call it "a pattern of self deception in an uncertain situation". Bush's enemies will just call it "a pattern of deception". It is in my interest to cut the administration some slack and it is in their interest to pull the noose tight. Ain't politics fun!