ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bush Lied, People Died!!!

Errr, wait... apparently that isn't the case.

H/T to Instapundit

It seems that at least someone in the traditional media has decided to actually do some work and compared the reasons for war as presented by the Bush administration and the resulting facts.

Judging the case for war
Published December 28, 2005

Did President Bush intentionally mislead this nation and its allies into war? Or is it his critics who have misled Americans, recasting history to discredit him and his policies? If your responses are reflexive and self-assured, read on.

On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.

The matrix below summarizes findings from the resulting nine editorials. We have tried to bring order to a national debate that has flared for almost three years. Our intent was to help Tribune readers judge the case for war--based not on who shouts loudest, but on what actually was said and what happened.

The administration didn't advance its arguments with equal emphasis. Neither, though, did its case rely solely on Iraq's alleged illicit weapons. The other most prominent assertion in administration speeches and presentations was as accurate as the weapons argument was flawed: that Saddam Hussein had rejected 12 years of United Nations demands that he account for his stores of deadly weapons--and also stop exterminating innocents. Evaluating all nine arguments lets each of us decide which ones we now find persuasive or empty, and whether President Bush tried to mislead us.

In measuring risks to this country, the administration relied on the same intelligence agencies, in the U.S. and overseas, that failed to anticipate Sept. 11, 2001. We now know that the White House explained some but not enough of the ambiguities embedded in those agencies' conclusions. By not stressing what wasn't known as much as what was, the White House wound up exaggerating allegations that proved dead wrong.

Those flawed assertions are central to the charge that the president lied. Such accusations, though, can unfairly conflate three issues: the strength of the case Bush argued before the war, his refusal to delay its launch in March 2003 and his administration's failure to better anticipate the chaos that would follow. Those three are important, but not to be confused with one another.

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of "the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq." We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.

Read the whole article... it's quite lengthy, but worthwhile. Especially if you're a moonbat suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Now, hindsight is 20/20 and intelligence is rarely a "slam dunk" (as Tenet asserted. So, it was highly probable that pre-war claims would be erroneous by some measure. HOWEVER, being wrong by underestimating Saddam's capabilities was just as likely as being wrong by overestimating his capabilities. In fact, the last opportunity we had to assess his WMD capabilities (after the 1991 phase of the Gulf War) proved that we knew less about his programs than we had thought.

This article is going to be saved for future reference. Thanks to the Tribune for taking a rational approach to this question. It's a rarity in the MSM these days.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler