Thursday, June 5, 2008

You Can't Have It Both Ways

Let's go back and look at how the White House responded to Kevin Rudd's anti-war comments last week:
"No-one else in the world, no other government, had different information and so we acted based on what was the threat that was presented to us. When the intelligence community presents you with their concerns, you'd better take them seriously... "
But the newly released Senate Intelligence report concludes “that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.” This is from Think Progress:
In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was dismissive of the report, explaining that President Bush made false statements before the Iraq war simply because he was kept in the dark:
PERINO: That dissent amongst experts within the intelligence community at some level did not reach the president.
In reality, Bush kept himself in the dark. As the report notes, the intelligence reports did contradict the administration’s hawkish statements. In fact, the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, which the White House used to make the case for war, also included a “clear dissenting views” section:
The Estimate itself expressed the majority view that the program was being reconstituted, but included clear dissenting views from the State Department’s Buerau of Intelligence and Research, which argued that reconstitution was not underway, and the Department of Energy, which argued that aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were probably not intended for a nuclear weapon.
The revelations pour cold water on Bush’s rationale as to why he makes a good wartime leader. In 2007, he said that he is credible as commander in chief because he “reads” the intelligence:
Q: Can you explain why you believe you’re still a credible messenger on the war?

BUSH: I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David.
“All of the intelligence I looked at…the Congress looked at, said the same thing,” Bush said in 2004. Unfortunately, it seems that Bush only selectively “looked at” the intelligence.
See Think Progress for URLs.

Time to impeach?

UPDATE: And now the White House backs down:
The White House on Thursday backed off its repeated claim that "the entire world" had the same pre-war intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorists.

"Maybe 'entire world' was probably a little bit too strong or too broad," spokeswoman Dana Perino said as a key Senate committee charged President George W. Bush knowingly made false claims about Iraq before the US-led invasion.

"But, clearly, other governments that looked at the same intelligence that we had came to the same conclusions. I don't think that's in dispute," the spokeswoman said.
Of course that is just another ridiculous lie. Actually, a lot of governments looked "the same intelligence" and came to quite different conclusions. Canada, Russia, France, Germany, New Zealand and many other nations decided the US intelligence was not strong enough to support an argument for invasion.

The question for Australians is whether all members of our government were allowed to see ALL the intelligence "that we had" or just carefully selected (and carefully created) bits. Certainly Andrew Wilkie saw quite a bit of contrary intelligence, but his efforts to highlight it were suppressed. Why? On whose orders?

This abyssmal nonsense from the White House only confirms the urgent need for a full Royal Commission into Iraq.