Well, today they ran the LA Times investigatory piece on "Curveball" which documents the Administration's manipulation of crucial intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.
I felt it was time to challenge them to take a similar stance in the political war of words over whether or not the Administration lied us into war. Since the facts so clearly show that the Administration played fast and loose with the truth in trying to convince us that war with Saddam was necessary, I feel it should be an easy step for them to take.
My letter follows:
Finding Agreement about the Road to Iraq
The October 9th issue of The Seattle Times focused on the issue of global warming and the effects that humans are having on this phenomenon. Executive Editor Mike Fancher wrote an introductory editorial titled "Finding Agreement about Global Warming," in which he traces the development of an overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that the Earth is warming and humans are significantly affecting this climate change.
It was a courageous step to publish this issue in light of the political war still being fought over this conclusion. And it is time to take another courageous step.
Currently the Bush Administration is fighting a war of words with their critics over whether or not they mislead Congress and America in their push for war with Saddam. But this debate, like the debate over climate change, is purely a political one. The facts of the matter are in and there is no objective conclusion that can be drawn other than that we were, in fact, lied to.
In Sunday, November 27th's issue, The Seattle Times printed the LA Times investigative piece "US Whiffs on 'Curveball'". This article clearly traces how the Bush Administration continually pushed discredited claims of WMD presented by the Iraqi defector codenamed `Curveball'--long after they were shown to be false, and despite grave concerns about the reliability of the source. This pattern is seen again and again in the Administration's run-up to war, as well documented in the November Rolling Stone investigative piece, "The Man Who Sold the War," which chronicles the similar story of Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, another Iraqi defector who sold the CIA a bunch of fairy tales about WMD in order to gain a US visa. Fairy tales that were then pushed by this administration after al-Haideri conclusively failed a polygraph and was discounted as a fabricator by his interviewer.
But really, one doesn't need to even see these flagrant falsehoods to know that the decision to invade Iraq was made in bad faith. One only need to know about the pre-war marketing that was done via the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a group that was organized purely to sell a war in Iraq to a skeptical America. The WHIG was founded in 2002 by Andy Card and included among its members Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice, Stephen Hadley and the now-indicted `Scooter' Libby. The duplicity of claiming that war in Iraq was a `last resort' while at the same time marketing that war by cherry-picking suspect evidence (such as that described above) is obvious. Even more disturbing is the evidence from the Rolling Stone investigation that indicates a private firm, The Rendon Group, was hired to plant false stories in foreign media knowing that these stories would quickly find their way back to US media outlets--a strategy designed to avoid laws against placing false stories directly in US media.
At this point, the strongest cry in defense of the Administration's actions comes in the form of the argument that `everyone had the same intelligence'. But that argument is absurd on two grounds: First, Congress never had the raw intelligence, only `finished' briefings (and in fact Bush sent out a memo on Oct. 5, 2001 to the FBI, CIA, and Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury limiting raw intelligence to only 8 members of Congress), and, secondly, the real accusation is that this administration knowingly and willingly manipulated the intelligence to strengthen their case for war.
So it is time for The Seattle Times to take another courageous step and say plainly what was so obvious to the author of the Downing Street Minutes, that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." The policy, of course, being the invasion of Iraq.
The debate is over, the jury is in. While there are many who still argue this assertion, they are like the `small group of dissenters' in the climate change argument whose views are amplified out of proportion to their validity. As the latest Harris Poll indicates, over two-thirds of all Americans believe that the Bush Administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends."
The only real room for debate now is where we go from here.
I have no idea whether or not this will be printed or if this will elicit any action on the part of the Times. While they do serve a fairly progressive city, their ownership is considered conservative and many feel that this bias shows through.
However, it seems to me that so many people on both sides of the political fence are disgusted with the actions of this failed administration that this just might hit a chord.