The real purpose of a government report is to
place the blame where it does the least damage to the political party in office.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's "Report
on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq"
carefully follows this time-honored rule. At the July 9 press conference heralding
the release of the committee's report, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) blamed
the misinformation used to start a war on a "flawed process" that would be fixed
The Republicans hope to shift the media's focus away from those responsible
for launching a war to a debate over how a "flawed intelligence process" should
be reformed. Fox "News" and other Republican propaganda organs will fall in
with the program.
One journalist at the press conference failed to lip-synch to the tune. He
asked Senator Pat Roberts why, with an election coming up, the Select Committee
failed to issue a report on the Bush administration's responsibility for the
misinformation – or disinformation – that has resulted in deaths and injury
to thousands of Americans. The senator promised a report after the election.
We don't need an Intelligence Committee's report to answer the question. By
now everyone interested in the truth about the Iraq debacle knows that Defense
Undersecretary Douglas Feith, with the permission of Secretary Don Rumsfeld
and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, created an unofficial "Iraqi
intelligence cell" within the Pentagon to produce propaganda to justify
an invasion of Iraq.
Undersecretary Feith created "evidence" that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist
organization was linked to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. An appendix to the Select
Committee's report describes the creation in black and white. The CIA disputed
the false evidence, as did every informed person on the globe, but President
Bush solidified the connection in the public's mind by referring to bin Laden
and Saddam Hussein in the same breath in numerous speeches.
The other big piece of the neoconservatives' propaganda campaign against Iraq
was the equally erroneous assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush administration convinced the public and our elected officials that
America's future held a Saddam Hussein mushroom cloud unless the U.S. immediately
and preemptively invaded Iraq.
Vice President Cheney and his assistant "Scooter" Libby were responsible for
creating the disinformation that Saddam Hussein had WMD. Vice President Cheney
succeeded in squelching or ignoring the many experts who knew better. The Select
Committee's report states that the claim "that Iraq 'is reconstituting its nuclear
program' was not supported by the intelligence provided to the Committee" and
that "the major key judgments" used to justify the invasion "either overstated,
or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting."
With total control over the Bush administration, the neoconservatives came
into power fully intent on invading and occupying Iraq. High-ranking Bush administration
officials, including Bush's first Treasury secretary, have testified to that
fact. The neoconservatives used the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York
and Washington to link "the war on terror" to their scheme to invade Iraq.
The only open question is whether President Bush was an active participant
in the disinformation or was deceived like the American public. If he knowingly
participated in the deception, he must be impeached. If he was deceived by his
own appointees, why hasn't he fired them? Bush's reelection would signify that
the American people lack the competence or character for self-rule.
The report from the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence proves once
again that government lacks the moral integrity to conduct an investigation.
The senators did not bring responsibility to any individuals for a gratuitous
invasion that has generated hatred of, and insecurity for, Americans for decades
to come. Instead, the senators' report held accountable that which cannot be
held accountable: "the process."
November will tell us whether there is any moral integrity left in the electorate
or whether nothing remains but partisan politics – my party right or wrong.