Cheney, the CIA, & war in Iraq
Most of the news from Iraq lately has been positive, for a change, but there are still some disturbing trends. There's been another surge in attention to spats within the intelligence community, occasioned by Ron Suskind's book The One Percent Doctrine. It claims that Dick Cheney declared that, given the risk of another holocaust like 9/11, even a one percent likelihood that Al Qaeda had obtained a nuclear weapons had to be treated as though it were a certainty. Eric Umansky (via Instapundit) shares some of the author's suspicions about the White House, but wonders "whether we're getting the full story. For one thing the quotes just seem too perfect."
A parallel line of criticism toward the Veep was launched by PBS Frontline last week, in a gripping episode about Cheney's dominant role in setting U.S. war policy, entitled "The Dark Side." Parts of it seemed very one sided, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that Cheney was single-mindedly determined to go to war with Iraq. He may well have pushed the intelligence officials to tailor their reports to portray Saddam Hussein as more dangerous than he really was. CIA Director George Tenet comes off as a weak-willed "enabler" of the pre-war public relations effort by the Bush team. He apparently felt he had to atone for the failure of intelligence services to warn about the impending 9/11 attack. I was never as worried about Iraq's possession of WMDs as some people, and to me that was a less compelling rationale for overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime than his connections to terrorists and the psychological value of his continuing defiance of U.N. sanctions, which made him seem like a hero to many Arabs. It will be years before we get a full enough picture of what really happened in Iraq prior to the 2003 liberation, so the utility of debating the WMD question is limited, in my view. Nevertheless, the appearance that intelligence findings were manipulated by the White House does tarnish the justification of the war to some extent, and Cheney and the Neocons are mainly responsible for that.
WMDs in Iraq
I try not to get too worked up about omissions by the mainstream media, and their fetish for negative news coverage, but it is odd how little attention they have paid to the recent report on WMD findings in Iraq. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) held a press conference to call attention to a Pentagon report on WMDs that have been found in Iraq. The problem is, the reports are classified, so Santorum and Hoekstra want them to be made available to the public. See Bobby Eberle at GOPUSA.com.