How Was Karl Rove…?

…so clueless?

About four years ago, around the time when Democrats were heatedly charging that Bush had “lied” about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in order to build a case for war (after all, they argued, if the weapons had existed, why weren’t we able to find them after liberating Iraq?), I was having lunch with Dr. Laurie Mylroie, one of America’s leading students of terrorism in general, and Iraqi terrorism in particular. Laurie was beside herself with anger. Why wasn’t the Bush administration citing Gen. James Clapper, the Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, who said that satellite imagery proved conclusively that shortly before the war’s outbreak, Iraq had transferred its weapons of mass destruction to Syria? Why wasn’t it quoting Gen. Georges Sada, deputy chief of Saddam’s air force, or Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s chief-of-staff, both of whom also claimed that Saddam’s weapons had been transferred to Syria? Why was it so tongue-tied, so unsure of itself, so unwilling to answer its critics? Didn’t anybody in the White House realize that if the Democrats’ charges went unanswered, they would fatally undermine the entire case for the war?

By this time, however, I had left the White House, so I had to tell Laurie the truth: Her revelations about Generals Clapper and Sada (though not Ya’alon) were news to me, and I had no idea why the White House wasn’t citing them.

I couldn’t figure it out either. I guess now we know the reason.

Thanks for Obama, Karl. Hope it turns out better than it is right now.

34 thoughts on “How Was Karl Rove…?

  1. Karl Hallowell

    The Bush administration had a full term to find those WMD, if they really were in Syria. My view is that they deliberately used faked evidence (in other words, they lied) to start the war and were confident that they’d find enough afterward to justify the war.

  2. Scott

    Karl, start using a better brand of tinfoil, that hat seems to be pinching your brain….

    Never assume conspiracy, when stupidity will do. Sounds like Rove simply felt engaging these idiots would give them credibility (note Johnson made this mistake with the early Vietnam protests too), and thus let it go way too long…

    As for not finding the WMDs, Syria isn’t exaclty an open society, and our in-country intelligence assets there are practically non-existent. Depending upon what was sent across the border into Syria (or was on those ships that left shortly before the war…three large freighters, if I remember correctly), we might never find out what Saddam did or didn’t have.

    Finally, perhaps there were no WMDs, but what we know for certain is that every intelligence agency on the planet (including the Euros and the Russians, none of whom had any reason whatsoever to help Bush fabricate evidence) claimed that Saddam had WMDs and active programs to build more. Now it is possible that they were all wrong, but if so…why is Bush being wrong AS WELL any special critique of him?

    Drop the conspiracy theory Karl, it makes you look foolish…you woulnd’t want people mistaking you for Jim, now would you? Of course, come to think of it…nobody has ever seen you two together at the same time…..

  3. Craig

    Iraq had absolutely no grounds to keep WMD because it was a direct violation of the cease-fire agreements at the end of the Gulf War. Syria was not covered by that. They had and have the “right” to have/keep WMD.

    Many in the government had access to this information. And tore their hair trying to understand why the Administration was not telling its side of the issue. One possibility was that any acknowledgement that Syria had the WMDs would have put great pressure on the Administration to broaden the war to include Syria. But, as I note above, the Syrians had not violated any international agreements, or at least none that would be cause for a U.S. attack on a sovereign country.

    Of course, if politics had ended at the water’s edge, Democrats in Congress who knew the truth could have refused to put their support behind the “Bush Lied” mantra. They deliberately damaged our national interest for the political support and campaign donations of “Bushitler” constituency

  4. Jonathan Card

    Heck, even I knew about this. And I can’t remember if it was Hugh Hewitt or Bill Bennett (probably not Bennett; I can’t get up that early) that interviewed him, but I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t know about such an incredible thing, and why we never talked about Syria. Craig, you may be right and we’d face the same problems dealing with Syria that we had dealing with the Taliban in Pakistan, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out, “Hey, we know where it is. It’s over there. Look!”

  5. Ed Minchau

    It’s all a red herring anyhow. Although WMDs were mentioned, they were not the justification for the war. How come people don’t remember the terms of the ceasefire of the first Gulf War? That war was ended on the contingency that Hussein would open up his country to UN weapons inspectors. There were something like 29 UN resolutions calling on Hussein to live up to his end of the bargain before the US and dozens of other countries put teeth into the UN resolutions seven years ago.

  6. Casey

    Short form: Joseph Shattan takes two numbers, one a questionable opinion poll result, and another a reliable voting result, and somehow conflates them in a way that refutes the old “correlation is not causation” credo. Well done, Shattan! Not.

    This shallow hit’n’run doesn’t even begin to address the root causes of those who initiated the “not one dime” campaign, many of whom later followed the Tea Party initiative.

    A very large number of fiscal/political conservatives, along with independent libertarians, abandoned the Republican party in both the 2006 & 2008 elections, based largely on Bush’s “compassionate conservative/big government conservative” habits, including budget-busting measures such as Medicare enhancements. Pushing the liberal meme that the 2004/2008 election cycle was somehow related to the Iraq War is -on the face of it- absurd. If not, why didn’t Obama, Pelsosi, Reid, and company bug out of Iraq and Afghanistan ASAMFP? That would have certainly enthralled the anti-war left to a great degree, and might even have ameliorated left disappointment with health care reform.

    Instead, Obama (in his own fumbling way) pretty much doubled down on the Petraeus approach, to the dismay of the fringe of his own party.

    No, Karl, it wasn’t about you, and maybe you should quit thinking it was all about you, despite what the Kossaks and HuffPo-ites have had to say.

  7. Craig

    Mr.Minchau’s point that it’s a red herring is correct, but almost irrelevant. The conventional wisdom is in the process of writing the Big Lie into the fabric of history. In fact, the events of 2003 would be better seen as the “resumption of combat operations” than the beginning of a (second) war.

  8. ken anthony

    Saddam was also firing on our jets in the no fly zone. He was financing terrorism. His first act after the first gulf war, thanks to our general, was to kill masses of his own citizens with WMDs (chemicals from helicopters we allowed him to keep.) Lot’s of American incompetence. Lot’s of sedition by our press. He’d demonstrated his intentions in Kuwait.

    But he wasn’t an existential threat to us (or our friends; do we have the right to use that word?) so we should have waited until he was. Uh huh.

    How about our NATO ally Turkey? Have we ever given them grief for not allowing our troops to arrive in Iraq from the north?

  9. Mark R. Whittington

    I think people are being just a little too hard on Karl Rove. After the economic meltdown of the Fall of 2008, nothing could have saved McCain.

  10. Dick Eagleson

    Given the precedent of Saddam’s “donation” of half his air force to Iran – with which he’d been implacably at war just two years previous – as part of the run-up to Gulf War 1, I’m firmly of the opinion that the pre-2003 Iraqi WMD infrastructure was bundled up and shipped to Syria in advance of, and early in the opening hostilities of, Gulf War 2. I suspect that most of this stuff wound up at that partially-complete Syrian nuclear weapon factory that Israel blew up in 2007. There was certainly direct Iranian and North Korean involvement with that facility so the degree to which the contribution of the, by then, late Saddam’s regime was pivotal cannot be easily assessed at this time. Based on the limited information available to non-intelligence-agency-connected analysts at this point, Saddam’s posthumous contribution to this project could be fairly argued to range anywhere between irrelevant and crucial. Whatever the specific case, it seems nearly certain that, what nuke-related WMD goodies Saddam may once have had are now gone.

    I hope I live long enough to see something approximating the truth about this whole matter be revealed after both the current Syrian and Iranian regimes have passed into history – by dint of external force or otherwise. Heaven knows there are still new revelations on offer about WW2 after 2/3rds of a century. Indeed, much of what is now common knowledge about that conflict was not revealed until the 1970’s or even the 1990’s; intelligence-centric matters chief among them. Given the very long embargo intervals associated with official secrets acts of the combatant nations, it is likely the last word on that comparatively well picked-over war may well be written by historians not yet born. Of one thing we may confidently be sure; there is a lot about the entire Global War on Terror – including the Iraqi theater of operations – that we general public types do not yet know. As in the case of WW2, information to fill our current gaps in knowledge will dribble out slowly over a period of decades.

  11. Karl Hallowell

    Scott, when you have a better explanation for what happened, then please tell us. Remember, if Saddam really did move all of that to Syria, then there would have been evidence of this on the Iraqi side.

  12. Trent Waddington

    Karl, that’s nonsense, everyone knows that only the US has satellites in space that can monitor movements of large mobile uranium enrichment devices that never work worked anyway cause you’d need hundreds of the freakin’ things and they never got any uranium anyway cause that was bullshit too. That’s why only the US could claim to have evidence that they were being moved and they didn’t produce that evidence because it was a secret or something.

  13. McGehee

    The only thing that could possibly make this thread less disturbing would be for Jim to pop in and actually make sense.

  14. Craig

    My Dear Mr. Waddington:

    This took about a minute after inputting “Yellowcake”, “Iraq” and “Canada” into Google. Please note that I selected the first Google story, sourced from those Bush-lovers at MSNBC:

    QUOTE:
    Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq
    Last major stockpile from Saddam’s nuclear efforts arrives in Canada

    updated 6:57 p.m. ET July 5, 2008
    The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

    The removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam’s nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.

    What’s now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad — using teams that include Iraqi experts recently trained in the Chernobyl fallout zone in Ukraine.
    UNQUOTE

    Bonus Question: Was this from Niger? Somebody knows the answer to that. I’m sure that there are chemical fingerprints on this stuff which would reveal the area of the world, likely the actual mine it was extracted from.

  15. Curt Thomson

    Finally, perhaps there were no WMDs, but what we know for certain is that every intelligence agency on the planet (including the Euros and the Russians, none of whom had any reason whatsoever to help Bush fabricate evidence) claimed that Saddam had WMDs and active programs to build more.

    As well as Sadam himself. He was telling everyone and anyone who would listen that he had them, was developing them, and was going to use them. In the wake of 9/11 the focus was on “connecting dots”. As Condi Rice stated, where Sadam and Iraq were concerned, there weren’t a lot of dots. Meaning it was easy to connect them.

  16. Godzilla

    IMO WMDs were merely a bogus point to (re)start the war. Had you actually read the PNAC propaganda at the time Bush was elected, you would see their point in invading Iraq had basically nothing to do with WMDs, and everything to do with geostrategic considerations.

    I got the feeling when 9/11 happened the Bush administration was caught mostly unaware of it all, and did a ridiculous stay the course move of invading Iraq immediatly. If you read about Afghanistan you will see the effort there was done by CIA people, Air Force, and a handful of special troops. Most of the fighting on the ground was done by local people. Totally different operations.

  17. ken anthony

    did a ridiculous stay the course move of invading Iraq immediatly.

    Immediate to include extensive back and forth at the U.N. and the whole inspection fiasco.

  18. ken anthony

    Oh, and all the time leaving our troops vulnerable to a preemptive gas attack that everybody assumed Saddam was capable of (since he’d already gassed his own populace.)

  19. Marco

    Sorry to be repeating what a lot of other commenters have said above, but:

    1) WMDs were not the justification for Gulf War 2.

    2) WMDs were known to be there, anyway – the gas attacks in Halabja and Birjinni were pretty good evidence.

    3) Even if W had had his picture taken while standing on top of an Iraqi nuclear missile in downtown Baghdad, the Repubs still would have lost the presidency in 2008.

    4) Kicking Saddam’s ass was not the sole, or even the overriding, objective of US foreign policy in the region – it was a battle in a larger war. And Rove is being a bit disingenuous about that.

  20. Sigivald

    Godzilla: Point us to this “PNAC propaganda”, and show us why it’s somehow relevant other than by waving your hands and saying “but PNAC! PNAC!”?

    (And, uh, for you an Karl… if Bush was lyin’ (and so was Clinton, about Iraq’s WMD programs)… why not just fake finding some WMDs? I mean, beyond the chemical weapons they did find?

    If you’re going to lie on that scale, why not fake finding what you went in for?

    I’ve noticed that people claiming a giant conspiracy of lies over Iraq’s WMDs never have a good answer for why they didn’t keep lying and fake some up.

    Wheras those of us in the “everyone’s intel was wrong because police states are hard to get good intel on, and because Hussein was doing a brinksmanship thing, trying to convince Iran that he probably had WMDs, to keep them off his back, while trying to convince the West that he probably didn’t, to keep them off his back” camp have the advantage of our narrative not requiring any handwaving.

    No WMDs were found because the intelligence was wrong. None were faked up because there was no lying in the first place that would have had a need to have a follow-through plot to cover up the lie.

    People who make honest mistakes based on faulty information don’t need to make coverup plans. People who are lying from the start do, because they know they’re not going to find what they said was there.)

  21. Karl Hallowell

    If you’re going to lie on that scale, why not fake finding what you went in for?

    How do you get your allies to comply? How do you get the UN inspectors to sign off on that? How do you get the intelligence agencies to sign off on that? How do you get your political enemies at home to hold off? My take is that there would have been too many parties involved for a conspiracy to work.

    Granted this is a relatively good argument for saying they weren’t lying. But it’s worth noting that the principals deliberately bypassed the intelligence community, came up with some really elaborate false intelligence, and never provided a good excuse or apology for why this occurred.

  22. Big D

    Karl: You remember that nuclear weapons plant in Syria, that we apparently didn’t know much about, right up until the Israelis got enough intel of their own to satisfy themselves and pasted it off the map?

    And you expect our gutted human intel capability to find top state secrets like that? Or, how about A Q Khan, whose operation we knew nothing about until Qaddafi of all people (during the 2003-2005 period in which he was actually afraid of us) snitched on it?

    What we did have at the time was satellites and air recon, during certain windows each day. And those spotted large amounts of unusual truck traffic from Iraq to Syria from shortly before the war through the first week or so of it. Heck, it made the newspapers.

    There’s also the ~500 barrels of degraded chemical weapons that were found. They were deemed by the press to be meaningless, because they were merely leftover stocks that had never been destroyed as required by the cease-fire in 1991 and were not freshly-made from a new plant.

    There’s also the fact that during the year-long rush to war (seriously, all of 2002 was basically one big debate over Iraq… don’t you remember the diplomatic maneuvers, the protests?), WMDs were (for the US, at least) a secondary issue. They were highlighted by some folks (particularly the Brits, who weren’t satisfied with all of the *other* cease-fire violations going on) as a major justification, but here, they were just another reason… until the press got a chance to re-write history after the invasion.

    S’funny, nobody ever mentions anymore how the world leaders who twisted arms the hardest to prevent it were later found to have been massively bribed by Saddam. Doesn’t fit the narrative, I guess.

  23. ken anthony

    How do you… How do you… How do you…

    By having an effective spy agency like other countries seem to have.

  24. Big D

    ken: We haven’t had one of those since at least the 70s. It was at least partly a deliberate decision, an effective agency being considered a potential threat to domestic liberty, and all…

    I might add that those “other countries” had spy agencies which were also telling them that Saddam, best as they could tell, had all kinds of WMDs sitting around. Back in 2002, the question wasn’t whether he had them, it was whether we could produce legal proof sufficient to make the folks dead-set against a revocation of the cease-fire (the top folks of whom were actually being bribed–our intel guys didn’t have proof of that, either, at the time) agree to bless the whole thing.

  25. Bob-1

    I find it telling that Clinton and Bush agreed on Iraq’s WMDs. I don’t know if the weapons existed but I’m convinced that Clinton and Bush weren’t lying about what they believed. As a liberal Democrat, I supported the war for three related reasons: 1) Suspected WMDs, 2) The treatment of the weapon inspectors, increasing the level of suspicion and 3) Saddam was a psychopath, which means that WMDs in his hands were much more dangerous than in the hands of a more stable dictator.

    I also didn’t like it that he was shooting at our planes for a decade, and I think Clinton and at first Bush under-reacted, but full-scale war would have been an over-reaction.

  26. Karl Hallowell

    There’s also the fact that during the year-long rush to war (seriously, all of 2002 was basically one big debate over Iraq…

    I sure do. I created a claim on the Foresight Exchange, a play money betting market in March 2002 on whether the US invaded Iraq by April 2003. It started at roughly a 60-65% chance (with a few dips here and there) of the US invading Iraq and only increased in probability thereafter. At the end of August 2002, I see that I bought a bunch at a price corresponding to 75% likelihood of an invasion. That indicates that I thought there was more than that chance of an invasion. I don’t remember what news of that time encouraged me to do so.

    Anyway, my point here is that there was a debate on the invasion, but the outcome wasn’t seriously in doubt, even a year before the invasion.

    As to the Syrian WMD program, I have yet to see evidence that Saddam Hussein supported it. There should have been evidence on the Iraqi side.

    Having said that, it would make sense to team up with Syria. Saddam Hussein could help fund the program and reap the benefits after sanctions were lifted on Iraq. That approach fits with the already-mentioned tactic of moving his air force to friendly countries when a war starts. He certainly showed an obsession with nuclear weapons and other WMDs that likely IMHO would have continued after sanctions were lifted.

    For me, this has always been the primary justification for the Iraqi invasion. Due to the efforts of GWB, we no longer have to worry about whether a tyrant in Iraq will build nuclear weapons or not. There have been a number of people who have claimed that because Saddam Hussein didn’t currently have a nuclear weapons program, then he couldn’t ever have one. But they never were able to explain what mechanism would keep Iraq under Saddam Hussein from getting nukes once sanctions were lifted.

  27. Cecil Trotter

    Sorry for the long post of quotes we all have seen/heard before Rand, but evidently some need a reminder:

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
    — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
    — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
    — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”
    — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

    “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do”
    — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
    — Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”
    — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
    — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

  28. Bob-1

    Cecil,
    Yes, I recall similar pre-9/11 quotes from Democrats. I believed them, and I think the people saying them believed them too.

  29. Godzilla

    Point us to this “PNAC propaganda”, and show us why it’s somehow relevant other than by waving your hands and saying “but PNAC! PNAC!”?

    Sorry for not keeping something I read like a decade ago. But you can still read about it in Wikipedia. I think one of the PDFs I read was “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. It is dated September 2000 and can be downloaded from the PNAC site. Here are some quotes for your pleasure:

    Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

    Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region
    would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.

    In particular, the Army should:

    Be repositioned and reconfigured in light of current strategic realities: elements of U.S. Army Europe should be redeployed to Southeast Europe, while a permanent unit should be based in the Persian Gulf region; simultaneously, forward-deployed Army units should be reconfigured to be better capable of independent operations that include ongoing constabulary missions as well as the initial phases of combat.

    The Air Force presence in the Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military strategy, and the United States should consider it a de facto permanent presence, even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi, Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S. presence.

    The way to lessen Saudi regional concerns about U.S. presence was to withdraw and close U.S. military bases there. Which was one of the things demanded by Bin Laden’s group BTW. Cannot have infidels desecrating the holy nation after all.

    Of course the problem remains, your strategy demands you have forces in the Persian Gulf. Well Iraq has a nice geostrategic position…

  30. Impossible Scissors

    The “WMD to Syria” theory is certainly interesting, and I gave it a lot of credence in mid-2003 when it started to look like we’d never find any WMD in Iraq (aside from the pre-1991 chem weapon shells that have popped up over the years.) The problem with the theory is that, aside from suspicions of US + Israeli generals and the book written by an unreliable Iraqi general, there’s no evidence to support it. The Duelfer report looked into the question and concluded that equipment for producing WMD may have been sent to Syria, but the Iraqis lacked the infrastructure for producing fieldable chem, bio or nuke weapons.

    I do agree that the “Bush Lied, People Died” meme was, and still is, idiotic. While the details may have been in dispute, the basic argument that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD’s was promoted by all the major intelligence agencies in the US and abroad from the early 90’s until the Saddam regime’s final collapse. The belief was likely based less on hard evidence than on Iraq’s subterfuge in hiding the extent of its past WMD efforts (VX gas, the bio weapons program and Hussein Kamel come to mind,) as well as a general suspicion that Saddam would never voluntarily disarm.

  31. Hangtown Bob

    In the beginning days of the war, there were stories galore about huge convoys of semi-trailers moving in convoy to Syria and heavily guarded. Rumor had it that they contained not only WMD materials but massive bundles of cash from the looted national banks. This was later confirmed by the above-referenced intelligence individuals.

  32. Scott

    Karl,

    I apologize for my delay in responding to you…life intruded…

    As for my ‘better’ explantion of what happened, how about this…

    Scenario 1) Saddam did have a significant WMD program, realized that the jig would be up big time if the US invaded and found the toys, and shipped them off to Syria and/or onto freighters which have not been adequately accounted for since. The Syrians are all too happy to avoid discussing this (they would be caught holding the bad toys if they did), and most of the Iraqis involved in the projects either met with unhappy ends (a result of either Saddam’s clean-up crews or the chaos of the war – keep in mind that those REALLY in the know would have been small in number, making this more plausible than might otherwise be the case), leaving very little human evidence. Physical/Financial/etc. evidence could easily be disguised or simply destroyed. IMPORTANT NOTE: I consider this the less likely scenario…

    Scenario 2) Saddam did NOT have a significant WMD program (but either thought he did or simply lied VERY well about it to the rest of us), in which case there was nothing to find in the first place aside from a few nasty odds and ends that he kept around for fun. The various intelligence agencies in the West were fooled by their own desire to find bad toys (nothing would justify a big budget increase for the next decade faster than doing so…), and simply screwed the pooch. Bush (as well as virtually ever other leader in the civilized world at the time) simply assumed that what they were being told was true, and acted accordingly.

    Now Karl…YOUR Scenario requires us to believe that the administration not only lied about something that would be virtually guaranteed to badly embarass them once the lie was discovered (and with Iraq crawling with troops and reporters during the war and its aftermath, there would be no way to cover it up), and either simply didn’t care or believed that all would be forgiven. Even if you believe that Bush is a complete fool, the people around him (Cheney for one, Rove for another) certainly weren’t, and it is hard to believe that they would happily climb on that train to perdition and say nothing.

    My theory only requires groupthink by intelligence bureaucracies and garden variety stupidity. Yours requires breathtaking dishonesty, and cupidity that beggars the imagination from politicans that couldnt possibly have missed the hole in their plans. Which one is more likely?

    Regards,

    Scott

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