Friday, February 03, 2006

More leaks raise the stench level

The Bush administration, undoubtedly, inflated, fabricated and manipulated the facts about Iraq's threat to the United States before the war.
Policymakers have the right to their own policies, but they don't have the right to their own intelligence "facts," as was the case with Vice President Dick Cheney. As documents are declassified an ugly, sordid picture is emerging about the way this administration crafted the argument for war with Iraq.
This is a sad stretch of history in our American legacy. We have a commander-in-chief who plays loose and fast with international policies and human lives, and who seems not to care a whit for taking responsibility for egregious errors that led this nation into war against a sovereign nation.
Oh yea, I know. Saddam is the devil incarnate and killed thousands of people for no justifiable reason other than to exert his power. But think about this. Take a look at the kill-rate in Iraq today and through the past days right up to the day the war began and tell me who is responsible for those lives?
Bad men or misguided idealists? Hell, what kind of logic even allows that question? When people are killed for no reason it's called murder in this country. And murder is a sin and a crime, isn't it?
The legacy Bush has built himself is one of twisted logic and manipulation for the purpose of starting a war. At least, that's how it appears.
When the Secretary of State Colin Powell, made the case for war at the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, he told the world that the United States had concrete, factual information that brooked no doubt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources. Solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence," Powell said.
Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff at the time, recently told "Now" reporter David Brancaccio, "I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations security council. How do you think that made me feel?" His conscience is causing him pain, he said.
Wilkerson is a lifelong Republican a former colonel in the U.S. Army and a decorated Vietnam military veteran. So his credentials, far as staunch Republicans go, are unimpeachable. Of course, there are people who will insist that Wilkerson has some nefarious motive for announcing his misgivings to the public; some political reason that he's come out and said he believes that the administration knew about the skepticism that was rampant among intelligence operatives at the time that Vice President Cheney was telling the American public that the evidence he and the administration were considering was ironclad and provably true. Now we learn that much of the "evidence" was actually fictional stories told by a guy from Iraq called "Curveball," a flaky source for intelligence at best, an outright liar at worst. Yet Cheney and Bush hitched their horse to this guy's story, framing it as "fact," "intelligence" and "first-hand information" that was irrefutable.
Who are these people? What kind of president takes the flimsiest of stories and takes his nation to war based on the conclusions derived from that basis? Most of the "intelligence" used to direct the American public toward war with Iraq was pure bulls*#@, and it's nearly impossible to believe that the president and vice president didn't know that BEFORE they began lobbying the American people to support war. Now if Cheney and Bush weren't lying to the American people, they certainly were willfully myopic about the value of the claims made about Iraq's role in 9/11, or Iraq's weapons stores, or Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida (turns out there was none; never was, not ever!).
But Cheney pushed the Iraq/al-Qaida connection so hard that it was believed by many.
I say again, this is a sad period in this nation's history. We the people have been made to make war on a nation of people who had no ability to threaten our well-being, let alone the will to attack us. We've been dressed in the clothes of tyranny on behalf of this president's desire to rule a nation at war.
Wilkerson says Cheney "leaned" on the CIA, the United Nations weapons inspectors in the person of Hans Blix, and anyone else who might present a problem with regard to the predetermined plan to attack Iraq.
Blix told Brancaccio that Cheney told him, "I want to tell you that we will not hesitate to discredit you in favor of disarmament," meaning that Blix should shutup about any perceived lack of facts about WMDs in Iraq.
That encounters speaks volumes about the mindset this administration was operating under when we went to war.
This war was a "wag-the-dog" scenario from the start. Hell, it's ripped straight out of the script for that movie. Mind-boggling!