These days we’re seeing the kind of politics and the kind of political cynicism that gets people killed for all the wrong reasons (a politics of frivolity). I’ve suspected, as did many others, ever since the invasion of Iraq that the current administration as well Congress knew that the stated reasons for going into Iraq were bunk (bunk qualified as not good enough to act on): the counter-evidence concerning Hussein’s weapons, future intent, and links to al-Qaeda were all matters for dispute: there was never any proof of nukes, never any proof of a program, and never any evidence of terrorist support. The evidence that I saw in 2001 and 2002 was either suspect, illogical, and evasive at the time and is now blown to pieces. The lie is that “everyone was convinced” and “that everyone had the same intelligence.”
We know that the administration knew that the evidence about Iraq programs was in detailed disruption and was inferential, in enough dis(re)pute to encourage measured reconsideration of war plans. In this I refer to the strange 2002 NIE (strange because it is disturbingly confident and disturbingly evasive and disturbingly unsure of itself and disturbingly useless). As the Waxman Report puts it
Prior to the war, there were questions within the intelligence community about whether Iraq in fact possessed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Because Iraq previously had such stockpiles, had used them in the past, and had not adequately demonstrated that all previously produced stockpiles had been destroyed, the intelligence community made an assessment in the October NIE that it was likely that Iraq continued to possess them. Because intelligence agencies had no direct evidence of such stockpiles, however, the conclusions in the October NIE were cast in the context of an intelligence “estimate.” The NIE began its sections on chemical and biological weapons with the phrases “we
assess” and “we judge.” The NIE concluded that Iraq “probably” had stockpiled chemicals and “probably” had genetically engineered biological agents. The NIE also included major qualifiers, such as: “We lack specific information on many key aspects of Iraq’s WMD programs.”
I have to admit to being sick of it all, especially the politics over war debate, and sorry that we’re in our present positions.