Friday, February 10, 2006

Criminal malfeasance

Walter Pincus reports in today's Washington Post on the absolutely stunning revelations by Paul R. Pillar. Mr. Pillar was the "former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East" whose official title from 2000 through 2005 was " the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia".

Mr. Pillar proves beyond a shadow of doubt, for any who really care to understand the truth, that the administration misused intelligence to lead America into war. He says:
"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized,"
It is clear that this administration only truly worries about intelligence when it suits their agenda. Hence it is ok to sacrifice the identity of undercover CIA agents if the act furthers the administrations political agenda. The misuse of the intelligence to lead America into the disaster that has become the Iraq war is simply criminal. As is the outing of Valerie Plame, apparently at the behest of vice president Cheney.

The Republican toadies in congress apparently have no interest in finding the truth in all this. As noted in the Post article:
Yesterday, the Senate Republican Policy Committee issued a statement to counter what it described as "the continuing Iraq pre-war intelligence myths," including charges that Bush " 'misused' intelligence to justify the war." Writing that it was perfectly reasonable for the president to rely on the intelligence he was given, the paper concluded, "it is actually the critics who are misleading the American people."
Why is the senate Republican policy committee covering for the Bush administration. Ok I'll admit... that last question if taken as an honest query is pretty stupid. The real question here is why won't the congress fulfill the role given it by the constitution of oversight of the executive branch? Once again silly question. It's because this gang of Republicans do not believe in such niceties as the constitutional system of check and balances, or the fourth amendment or sundry other rights and niceties that prior to the 2000 election of Al Gore (selection of George Bush) were taken for granted. I mean here is the SENATE Republican policy committee telling an absolute falsehood to cover for the administration that the senate has a constitutional role in overseeing, whilst accusing those who tell the truth of misleading the public!

It is examples such as this that convince me that a major plank in any platform for Democratic congressional candidates ought to include a promise to vigorously perform the constitutional oversight role of the office are running for. There are a growing mountain of examples of congressional rubberstamping of failed administration policy, but in my opinion none so egregious as the unwillingness to call the administration to account for the Iraq mess.

Mr. Pillar makes it clear that the stated policy of president Clinton; longterm containment of Saddam, was seen prior to the invasion by the intelligence community as being effective:
Pillar wrote that the prewar intelligence asserted Hussein's "weapons capacities," but he said the "broad view" within the United States and overseas "was that Saddam was being kept 'in his box' " by U.N. sanctions, and that the best way to deal with him was through "an aggressive inspections program to supplement sanctions already in place."

"If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication," Pillar wrote, "it was to avoid war--or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath."
To reiterate: the implication of "intelligence analysis on Iraq" on policy was to avoid war. The neo cons not only tossed this on it's ear, but they started a needless war that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars, along with tens of thousands of American casualties. Unacceptable!

The notion that there would be a "messy aftermath" plainly was discounted by the cheerleaders for war in the administration. The speculation by administration toadies that we would be greeted with flowers and Iraqi oil would pay for everything has been replaced with the grim reality of a deadly insurgency and the bleeding of our treasury. The following quote by Mr. Pillar ought to prove a criminal indictment of this administration in regard to our preparation for post invasion planning:
Pillar describes for the first time that the intelligence community did assessments before the invasion that, he wrote, indicated a postwar Iraq "would not provide fertile ground for democracy" and would need "a Marshall Plan-type effort" to restore its economy despite its oil revenue. It also foresaw Sunnis and Shiites fighting for power.

Pillar wrote that the intelligence community "anticipated that a foreign occupying force would itself be the target of resentment and attacks -- including guerrilla warfare -- unless it established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam."

In an interview, Pillar said the prewar assessments "were not crystal-balling, but in them we were laying out the challenges that would face us depending on decisions that were made."

Pillar wrote that the first request he received from a Bush policymaker for an assessment of post-invasion Iraq was "not until a year into the war."
The first request for an assessment of post invasion Iraq happened a year AFTER the invasion? And we now know that the intelligence assets that are normally used to determine these type of findings had it right before the war. This truly is criminal negligence on behalf of the administration in not planning for what we are now experiencing. Following policies based upon faith in a given outcome and ideological zeal whilst willfully ignoring the facts simply must have consequences if the administration leads us to disaster.

I would love to hear Mr. Pillar's assessment of how this war has affected our enemies in the war on terror. How it can be argued that Al Qaida or their allies have been weakened is a mystery to me, and quite simply the vast majority of expert opinion on this recognizes that this war has been a tremendous boon for the terrorists. This war is acknowledged by experts as one of the, if not THE, greatest strategic blunder in American military history. This disaster of an administration unwittingly helps the terrorists, weakens our military, drains our treasury, and then tries to convince us that they are the folks to trust with our security? We should trust them with our safety after this unbroken string of calamity and ineptitude? Riiiiight...

Comments:
The only "Criminal Malfeasance" I see is the clearly unconstitutional domestic spying. "Criminal Malfeasance" is often the terms used when argueing for dismissal, prosecution, or impeachment. Take in consideration that I see a case for this regarding FISA abuse before I'm labeled a Bush apologist.

You are really trying to have it both ways here:

"Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."
"-Bhfrik quoting former CIA official Paul R.Pillar

The world intelligence agencies had the incorrect understanding that Saddam had WMDs. First Bush is accused(rightly so) of using bad intelligence going into the war. Now you are using Pillar, a FORMER CIA official in saying that he did not use the bad intelligence that the CIA would afford him. Instead, Pillar basically presents a picture of Bush arrogantly ignoring bad intelligence and going into Iraq blind and based on Bush's biased preconceptions and wishes. Furthermore, how do you misuse intelligence if you won't even listen to it? It seems the former CIA official has an axe to grind. To further quote you quoting Pillar:

" "It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," "

In that quote we have a further assertion that Bush did not rely on intelligence which WAS that Saddam had WMDs. Of course even the Clinton administration held this view. Pillar's colored view can try to rewrite the correctness of CIA intelligence but, it will fall to the deaf ears of reality. The truth comes out when he gripes about the "damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized". There was indeed a war between the administration and the portions of the CIA that were seen as actively politically unfriendly to Bush. Motivation to skew the truth I'd say, especially if you are a clearly disgruntled and FORMER CIA official.

What's the truth here? Bush relied on bad Intelligence shared by the world's best spy agencies, that he found to coincide with his views. When additional info came up that did not conform, Bush likely ignored it, regarded it as faulty, and punished the messenger. Perhaps Bush felt there would be no "messy aftermath" and bought all the hype about the grateful and delivered Iraqi people. There were plenty of "war cheerleaders" that knew it would be messy but, found it difficult to believe that the administration would deal with it so ineptly and make it worse. Cheerleaders because some feared that WMDs in Iraq and now possibly in Iran could lead to a world devastating war between a nuclear Israel and Muslim nations that are sworn to push the Jews into the sea. Any claims that Containment was working should still consider that the accepted Intelligence was that Saddam had WMDs(which was probably wrong), Saddam was actively flouting sanctions to his own benefit(very true), and that Saddam financially supported the families of poor Palestinians that had a member engage in a suicide bombing in Israel(also very true).

Even Pillar was not quoted here about Valerie Plame and yet you bring her up again as another list of Bush crimes. There is no case there. The Plame game might be fodder for Democrat loyalist wishing to blast Bush but, it makes you look as blind to objective truth as the Bush administration. Then again, this is a Lefty Blog. What do I expect? The allegations of an election being stolen from Al Gore might not work for me. I just assume enough dead people didn't vote this time. Such recollections might however, prove worthwhile when "singing to the chroir". The question is with a chance to bring in votes away from the Republicans do you want to energize your Democrat base with info that many Independents or Libertarians will views as BS? Look at Hillary. She has alienated some of the Far Left at times in order to triangulate and appear more moderate but, who will the alienated Left vote for in the end? I doubt they would vote Republican. I usually, though not always vote Republican but, if the next candidate was a Bush clone, I might hold my nose and even vote for Hillary. The chances go up if it's Feingold and even higher if the candidate is Mark Warner. The idea some hold that Hillary is too polarizing holds some merit but, just as polarizing is some of the blind rhetoric that I sometimes see on otherwise outstanding Left Wing Blogs.

I don't mean to be harsh. I'm just making a point. It takes a lot of work to make a blog and fill it with regular posts only to have some Third Party dreamer come in and be a party pooper. I know. I keep coming back so, you must be doing something right. :)
 
I'm trying to have it both ways? You correctly point out that according to the story there was a widespread assumption by both U.S. and international intelligence agencies that Saddam possessed wmd. But you chose to skip the part where Pillar says the president publicly misused intelligence to justify predetermined outcomes with a leap of logic by saying how can you misuse intelligence you do not listen to. The way you misuse intelligence without listening to the intelligence you do not like is to assert the intelligence is telling you something that it is not. For example, that Saddam was trying to purchase uranium from Niger. That was not true and was understood at the time the Bush admin was pitching that story to not be true. Another example is to repeatedly claim that there was a tie with Al Qaida, when there was no proof of that. The notification that Bush sent to congress regarding the invasion claims that this invasion was part of the response to 9/11. There are many examples of the administration just making stuff up from bad intelligence and knowingly doing so.

The one time in the post that I mention criminal malfeasance was in the revelation that the administration made the 1st request for intelligence on post invasion Iraq ONE YEAR after the invasion. We now know that the intelligence community was correctly predicting what did happen. It is clear that the administration took the word of Chalabi and the self interested exile community and could care less for what our intelligence thought would happen. This is indeed criminal malfeasance. As in conduct by public officials that cannot be legally justified. How can you justify this lack of planning to the families of the dead and wounded Americans?

I do think that there is malfeasance in the 1st case of this post as well however, do not get me wrong. To misuse the intelligence as was done, and clearly so, in order to take this country into a needless war is criminal. You go to the argument that this man is nothing but a disgruntled ex cia employee. What will it take for you to open your eyes to what happened here? How many ex admin figures coming out and just lambasting this disaster will it take until you stop justifying this calamity? Who will have to step forward with the reiteration of what has been already said on numerous occasions? Mr. Pillar was the point man in the cia on the issue in question here. Intelligence on mid east affairs was his bailiwick during the time in question and up until 2005. I do believe that it will have to be either Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld themselves finally admitting (they never will) what happened before administration apoligists over this horrible affair finally come to realize what was done. Because any person spilling the beans who is not one of these three people is just written off as disgruntled. In spite of the mountain of evidence that shows these whistleblowers are speaking the truth, the apologists of this adminsistrations Iraqi blunder never acknowledge what is clear.
 
I concede the point that you can misuse something you don't listen to or even believe. You could disbelieve something put forth only to reiterate it later as fact if it makes your opponent look badly. That happens all the time in politcs. So, I'm wrong on that point. Still, when the Left argues about "Intelligence" it mostly is about the WMD issue and until it was publicly revealed that Clinton had a like view on the WMD danger. That was having it both ways until the facts were made mainstream.

The uranium thing might have been a misuse. The Al Qaida connection while a possibility definitely was not proven. Misuses? Possibly. Criminal? No. Especially if the main reason for that war was an alleged WMD possesion & terrorist ties(I mean other than Al Qaeda here). These misuses amount to icing on the cake but, the icing was something quite foul.

The tie in with 9/11 Bush pointed out to Congress is not as bad as you make it out to be. Was that point made repeatedly to hype up and take advantage public sentiment? Oh definitely. If that's criminal, then I expect to see many a Democrat in jail soon. The planes in 9-11 was a big WMD. 9-11 illustrates what can happen if a WMD rogue state furnishes freelance terrorists with such weapons. It's a legitimate point given that the common assumption was Saddam had WMDs and possibly close nuclear ones.

The post invasion Intelligence request is far from criminal. Incompetent yes but, not criminal. As far as the CIA correctly predicting that, that's no bragging right for them. I knew it would be messy. Most invasion supporters knew an occupation would be dangerous. We just didn't think it would be handled so poorly. The body armor and Humvee issues were dumbfounding. Reread what I said about this topic in that post before. You seem to confuse me with a Bush apologist just because I supported the invasion and point out the biased motivations of some of the individuals on your side of the issue.

Show me a critic that might be open to the necessity of the war but, thinks Bush/Rumsfeld showed incompetence there and I'll agree with them. I understand the views of many that opposed the invasion. Some I disagree on and some I share.

Pillar REALLY fits the bill for the disgruntled former employee. He has plenty of motive! A good deal of the CIA was given plenty motive.

What will it take to convince me. You can't. Even if Bush is telling a lie and he even thinks the war was needless, you have a problem. I and many others think the war was very much needed to prevent a world devastating WMD war in the mideast with Israel and yes there is the possibility of newly aquired WMD's being given to terroist organizations that have a beef with the US.
With us, the incompetence arguement serves you better. Joel Lieberman? I wish he had more charisma on the campaign trail. I would vote for him over Bush or Bush clone.
Well, it's agreed that we disagree. Hehe.
 
hey man, good article..there's one part about the republicans going against the system of checks and balances and the 4th amendment and it made me think about this, this is kinda funny. In this text book I have liberalism is defined as "an ideology based on the conviction that individual freedom is of supreme importance and the main resposibility of the government is to protect those freedoms" now that sounds like the original intent when America was founded, that's what America is supposed to be. Now for conservatism "A 19th century ideology intended to prevent the implementation of liberal policies" what a great purpose.
 
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