Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Willful ignorance of the truth.
U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports.Unfortunately these findings did not match the happy talk of the administration or their toadies so America has stayed the course this entire time, while our leaders ignored the facts that were layed before them early on.
Among the warnings, Knight Ridder has learned, was a major study, called a National Intelligence Estimate, completed in October 2003 that concluded that the insurgency was fueled by local conditions - not foreign terrorists - and drew strength from deep grievances, including the presence of U.S. troops.
Robert Hutchings, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 2003 to 2005, said the October 2003 study was part of a "steady stream" of dozens of intelligence reports warning Bush and his top lieutenants that the insurgency was intensifying and expanding.This intelligence assessment of the insurgency was released after the presidents famous goading of insurgents to "bring it on", but the administrations blow hard attitude about Iraq was not, nor has it since been, checked by the intelligence. Or by the awful facts on the ground in Iraq:
"Frankly, senior officials simply weren't ready to pay attention to analysis that didn't conform to their own optimistic scenarios," Hutchings said in a telephone interview.
On Nov. 1, 2003, a day after the National Intelligence Estimate was distributed, Bush said in his weekly radio address: "Some of the killers behind these attacks are loyalists of the Saddam regime who seek to regain power and who resent Iraq's new freedoms. Others are foreigners who have traveled to Iraq to spread fear and chaos . . .Excuse phases! How about some reality checks? When one excuse is shown to no longer be tenable they go on to the next excuse rather than confront reality. Oh yeah... Reality is not so much in vogue with this crowd. This willful ignorance of the truth whenever it does not match the happy talk is just dangerous.
The terrorists and the Baathists hope to weaken our will. Our will cannot be shaken."
As recently as May 2005, Cheney told a television interviewer: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
White, who worked at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, said of the administration: "They've gone through various excuse phases."
"This was stuff the White House and the Pentagon did not want to hear," the former official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They were constantly grumbling that the people who were writing these kind of downbeat assessments 'needed to get on the team', 'were not team players' and were 'sitting up there (at CIA headquarters) in Langley sucking their thumbs.'"And now we come to the crux of the entire issue. This goes straight to the point of how this administration misled us to war. If you report the facts, and the facts do not fit the ideals of this gang of neocons, you are not on board. In other words, facts be damned, we want it to be this way and that's how it will be.
Indeed this headstrong insistence that the facts are to be ignored to fit the whims of this administration are evident in nearly every aspect of their governance. From hushing science (which clearly is about finding truths in everyday life, not about justifying a particular policy) which does not comport to their right wing view of any given issue, to cutting taxes on the wealthy in order to grow the budget out of deficit. And many many issues in between. The old saying goes there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. Add to the list the certainty that this administration will screw up any endeavor it sets out to accomplish because they simply can not be bothered to get the facts straight. Indeed from the issues of death (going to war) to taxes they have done a bang up job of it already. The facts are what they are, and to willfully ignore them as you plunge headlong into disaster is simply to govern with negligence on a criminal level. The longer the president insists on this headstrong ignorance of the truth, the worse the disaster is for this nation.
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