There's already a rec'd diary about last nights MSNBC Special "Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War" which covers the reasons for the disappointed, underwhelmed reaction - but there's more to this story. Much more.
The Special does talk about the basics - Atta meeting with Iraqi Intelligence in Prague, which never occurred as was quickly debunked by the FBI - The Aluminum Tubes with the Anondyized Coating which the energy Dept determined made them completely unsuitable for centrifuges - The Forged Yellowcake Uranium Niger Sale Documents which were debunked by the State Dept, then debunked again when Ambassador Joe Wilson went to Niger and found that such a sale was not possible - The Bribe Sponsored Lies of Curveball who falsely claimed that he had worked at Saddam's non-existent "mobile chemical weapons labs" and lastly - The Torture Inspired Lies of Ibn Sheilk al Libi who falsely claimed that Al Qaeda operatives had been trained on the use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq.
It was good to see Valerie Plame-Wilson, Richard Clarke and Col. Wilkerson again making the case they've all made many times that true intelligence was ignored and false intelligence was repeatedly hyped - even after being dis proven - continuing the U.S. forward in it's march to War.
Because the Special was only One Hour Long they were able to lay out these points, but they weren't able to tell us why all of this happened and just how deep down the rabbit hole much of top Bush leadership had dug themselves.
This Cliff Notes Version simply doesn't cut it.
As a parting shot, Maddow's Special says that George W. Bush would have gone to War with Iraq even without the justification of WMD or links to al Qeada. They fail to explain why, but this point was made imminently clear after the leak of the Downing Street Memos.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.Policy First, Facts and Intelligence Later. Bush wanted to get rid of Saddam and he had personal reasons beyond several legitimate humanitarian reasons - Saddam had tried to Assassinate his Father, former President George H.W. Bush in Kuwait.
U.S. Navy ships launched 23 Tomahawk missiles against the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service yesterday in what President Clinton said was a "firm and commensurate" response to Iraq's plan to assassinate former president George Bush in mid-April.Cheney had reason to get rid of Saddam in order to implement the Turkey Carving of Iraq Oil Fields Plan that he had worked out secretly with various Energy Execs. As former CEO of Halliburton who was being payed in deferred stock options - getting hold Iraq's rich Oil Fields would make him $Millions.
The attack was meant to strike at the building where Iraqi officials had plotted against Bush, organized other unspecified terrorist actions and directed repressive internal security measures, senior U.S. officials said.
And there was yet another reason, to advance the PNAC vision of transforming the middle-east with a wave of Democracy. It's rather ironic that through Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, that dawning spring of Islamic Democracy eventually did rise up in the mid-east, from Tunisia to Egypt then Libya and now Syria, but certainly not in the way that the Bushies envisioned.
If you want to see how much WMD's really didn't matter to Bush, in clear confirmation of Downing Street, you have to look no further than the comments of UN Weapon Inspectors after they were able - following additional UN Resolutions in the wake of the Powell presentation, flawed though it was - to re-enter Iraq and restart weapons inspections. They said that U.S. Intelligence was leading them to "Garbage after Garbage".
The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.This was in early 2003, after the Iraq War resolution had passed, after the UN resolution - but before the War began. Bush rationale at the time was the claim that he simply "didn't trust Saddam" and didn't believe he would ever fully account for his former weapons.
U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.
- Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."
- Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found "nothing."
- Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."
The inspectors do acknowledge, however, that they would not be here at all if not for the threat of U.S. military action.
So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.
But the truth, as mentioned by Charles Duelfer in "Hubris" is that Saddam had already destroyed his own chemical weapons stockpiles after the first Gulf War. As he apparently knew, but no one else, the way that you win a shell game is to make sure the prize is removed from the playing field, that way people keep looking and betting on phantasms. Heads Saddam Wins, Tails Everyone Else Loses.
For years the Bushies have claimed that they simply didn't know this. Saddam had kept such a great secret, while using the threat of Chemical Weapons to keep the Shias and Kurds in the check.
Without that threatening cloud, those groups might have rebelled again the way the did after the first Gulf war. The way that Sunnis fought back against us as the Insurgency. The way that the Libyan people rose up and took down Quaddafi. The way that the Syrian people are currently taking on Assad. It could have been done without our losing 4,000 Americans Troops, 108,000 Iraqis and spending $3 Trillion.
But surely if Bush had only known that Saddam's weapons were gone - he would have taken a different path? Well, no.
Ron Suskind says he spoke on the record with U.S. intelligence officials who stated that Bush was informed unequivocally in January 2003 that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction.But wait, it gets worse - not only did Bush ignore the truth as told to us by the head of Iraqi Intelligence, he bribed Hubbush to Forge a Letter Linking Saddam to al Qeada
Suskind reports that the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, met secretly with British intelligence in Jordan in the early days of 2003. In weekly meetings with Michael Shipster, the British director of Iraqi operations, Habbush conveyed that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Suskind says that Bush’s reaction to the report was: "Why don’t they ask to give us something that we can use to help us make our case."
In September 2003, according to Suskind, CIA officials — at the direct command of then-CIA director George Tenet and at the behest of the White House — deliberately forged a backdated letter from Iraqi security chief Tahir Jalil Habbush to Saddam Hussein. The phony letter claimed that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had trained for his mission in Iraq and that al-Qaida had facilitated mysterious shipments from Niger to Iraq. The letter was the “slam dunk” the Bush administration had been seeking so desperately: evidence of a direct operational link between al-Qaida and Saddam’s regime.So we have here an attempt to confirm "Atta was in Prague" falsehood, as well as the torture influenced claims of "Saddam Training al Qeada" as well as the previously forged Yellowcake Scam - all in one letter. What a coincidence the three Biggest LIES and Delusions about Saddam Hussein would be so neatly packaged all in one letter - written by the guy who had actually told them the truth.
Saddam didn't have any WMD left or active WMD/Nuclear Programs.
Hubris doesn't attempt to address why the Bushies continued this bogus claim - particularly when they had be specifically told by someone who should know - only pointing out they pushed their line onto the American people and eventually got their war. When Hubbush tells the truth they ignore him. When Joe Wilson tells the truth - they reveal that his wife is a undercover CIA Operative in order to make his trip to Niger seem like a nepotistic "Honey Do Bucket-List Item" as if he were taking out the kitchen trash.
Anyone who didn't tell them the line they needed to hear was an Enemy. Unamerican. Emboldening the Terrorists. The French who owned the Uranium Mines and Niger and knew the Yellowcake claim was bogus, as well as the Germans who had direct access to Curveball and knew he was a liar, refused to join Bush's "Noble Crusade" - for which they were both eviscerated as "gutless". Appeasers to be mocked with "Freedom Fries" and "Victory Cabbage" (formerly known as Sauerkraut).
If you lay out the full case not just that there were "Intelligence Failures" but that the Bushies deliberately ignored the intelligence in favor of their own narrative from Downing Street to Hubbush, the picture becomes clear. Why did the White House order enhanced interrogation of terrorists who were already cooperating such as Zubaydah? Because they thought he was holding out since he hadn't yet told us what they really wanted to know. What al-Libi told us under torture. What Hubbush told us after he'd been bribed.
"How did Saddam Commit 9-11?"
That's what they thought from Day 1. They never wavered from it. They Never Doubted It, no matter who told them it was hogwash. They weren't "Lies", these were something worse; Delusions.
This Willful Hard-Headed Denial by Conservatives is now something we've grown used to. They refuse to admit the truth about Climate Change. They refuse to admit the truth that Tax and Spending Cuts DO NOT foster economic growth They refuse to admit that Obamacare besides saving lives, reduces the Deficit. To them there's been a "Massive Coverup" of Benghazi. The President is Kenyan Socialist Anti-Colonial Doody-Head Monster. His Immigration Plan is "Dead on Arrival", even though it's virtually identical to the Senate/Rubio plan. And the list goes on and on.
Facts and Truth Don't Matter to these people, only what they "Believe", only Their Agenda.
Hubris asks "Could this happen again"?
I ask, When exactly Did it Stop? If this current Confirmation Biased Iteration of the GOP ever regains real power in the nation, we can expect far far worse blunders than the Iraq War. They not only haven't learned their lesson, they don't even realize they've been in School for over a Decade and Getting Straight "F"s.
Bush and Cheney weren't the problem - they were just a symptom - and the disease has metastasized.