Far be it from us to argue with one of the esteemed legal minds responsible for exonerating Oliver North, but this editorial by Judge Laurence Silberman arguing against the proposition that George W. Bush lied the country into war with Iraq is some rank garbage. Plus it puts us on the same side of an issue as human thumb Ron Fournier, which is not the way we want to begin our Monday.

Now, anyone with half a brain and a working knowledge of recent history may recognize the words “Bush lied us into war with Iraq” as shorthand for the complex series of intelligence manipulation, public relations spin, hubris, ideological dogma, militaristic chest-thumping, and imperialistic self-righteousness that led into our nation’s disastrous adventure in the desert. Not Laurence Silberman, though. Because back in 2004-2005, he co-chaired a commission -- his name was on it and everything! -- that was directed “to evaluate the intelligence community’s determination that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD.”

In other words, a Washington insider tasked with closing the Bush administration’s barn door after the horses got out. Sounds stellar.

The thrust of Silberman’s argument revolves around his examination of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. Here is what he has to say about that document:

The intelligence community’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated, in a formal presentation to President Bush and to Congress, its view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—a belief in which the NIE said it held a 90% level of confidence. That is about as certain as the intelligence community gets on any subject.

Oh, that would be the infamous 2002 NIE that was hotly debated and easily the most controversial intelligence estimate ever produced? The one that was written hastily, under pressure and despite protests from some in the intelligence community that the information was not being thoroughly vetted? The one that members of the Bush administration were accused of pushing to include data that would fit a preconceived endpoint where the country found justification for invading Iraq? That 2002 NIE?

But don’t take the word of a mommyblog post being written by a blogger still in his pajamas at ten in the morning, Judge Silberman! Here, let’s look at what people actually involved in the production of that NIE had to say to Frontline in 2006.

Here is David Kay, a former weapons inspector who was part of the Iraq Study Group, which went to Iraq after the invasion to find the alleged WMD.

I think it was a poor job, probably the worst of the modern NIE's, partly explained by the pressure, but more importantly explained by the lack of information they had. And it was trying to drive towards a policy conclusion where the information just simply didn't support it.

Here is Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who was at the time the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and had to actually order the intelligence community to produce an NIE, because the Bush administration really didn’t wanna:

Well, The Washington Post reported subsequent to all of this that in the late spring of 2002, the White House had called down a number of CIA professionals and told them that they wanted a document which could be used to convince the American people that the threat from Iraq was sufficiently serious that that should be our first priority. […]

[I]t says to me that the decision had been made that we're going to go to war with Iraq; all of this other [talk] was just window dressing, and that the intelligence community was being used as almost a public relations operation to validate the war against Saddam Hussein.

Pretty damning! Need more? You can read all sorts of comments about the NIE, which included the long-debunked story of Saddam Hussein trying to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger, right here. Didn’t take much Googling at all.

Okay, one more. Here’s Silberman trying to cover George Tenet’s famously ample ass:

Recall that the head of the intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, famously told the president that the proposition that Iraq possessed WMD was “a slam dunk.”

And here is Melvin Goodman, a former intelligence analyst for the CIA and the State Department:

The fact of the matter is, the CIA didn't want to produce one. The White House didn't want one because they didn't want to allow any venting of whatever opposition there was to what they wanted to be the conventional wisdom on weapons of mass destruction. [...]

So three or four key people were picked to write this estimate that was a fraud; I don't know how else to describe that National Intelligence Estimate.

Silberman also says of his commission,

Our WMD commission carefully examined the interrelationships between the Bush administration and the intelligence community and found no indication that anyone in the administration sought to pressure the intelligence community into its findings.

You must have not been looking very hard, then.

Maybe George Bush didn’t lie, though. Maybe he was too dumb and incompetent a president to press his subordinates to get him accurate information before making a momentous and world-changing decision about invading Iraq, and subsequently believed whatever bullshit they put in front of him. In which case, Silberman’s column turns on the very fine distinction of whether Bush lied on purpose, or lied because he was a Muppet with Dick Cheney’s arm buried shoulder-deep in his ass.

We don’t think that’s any better -- actually we think it's worse than being venal and smart enough to flat-out lie -- but whatever keeps your Republican Party membership in good standing.

[WSJ / Frontline]

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Guys, it's been one more shit day in a shit week in the fifth shit month of another shit Trump year. Which is why I need to remind you that it's not ALL shit out there! Oh, sure, it's MOSTLY shit, but you know what isn't shit? YR WONKETTE, and the strange community of strange internet people who have made getting through all this shit a bit more tolerable, that's who and what. Which is why you should give us money, so we can keep whanging away at the walls of shit with our shovels and laughing at the shit getting all over, because one of these days we will get it all cleaned up or at least not be up to our waists in shit, and we can all laugh about what a crazy fight it was, as St. Molly Ivins always kept reminding us.

In case you're new here, let me just remind you that Wonkette literally got me, Yr Dok Zoom, out of what wasn't quite poverty, but was pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck desperation. I started reading the site shortly before Barack Obama was elected, began commenting sometime in his first term, and submitted a story tip to Rebecca a few months after she bought the site for 47 dollars and a sandwich (I now understand it was a bit more than that). It was Memorial Day 2012, and she wrote back she was busy with some "stupid thing I have to do for some muneez," but would I like to try writing a blog post myself? "I understand if you say FUCK NO. But maybe you are thinking FUCK YES?" And then she warned me she paid only in Ameros. I did, the post was forgettable but OK, and then I wrote a thing (borrowed from now long-lost comments) that went semi-viral, and suddenly I was that hottest thing in publishing, a freelancer!

In less than a year, Rebecca asked you all to buy me to be your very own pet blogger, and my life suddenly became incredibly good, like as good as an Abba song. It's as good as "Dancing Queen." Thanks to the timing of the whole thing (and to Barry Obama and Nancy Pelosi), I actually had health insurance for the first time in years, a not inconsiderable thing. And you had an Editrix who was not working 12 hour days six and a half days a week and drinking too much from stress. Your continued donations helped hire Evan full time and Robyn and Bianca part time and a whole raft of freelancers, and now Rebecca is down to eight-hour days, five and a half days a week, and drinking because there's a madman in the White House and everything's terrible.

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There is a very normal article circulating on the internet right now by a fella named Don Boys (that's not the joke, the jokes are coming), who is both an insane batshit preacher, and also an insane batshit former member of the Indiana House of Representatives. (Also sometimes he blogs at the Daily Caller about how Mike Pence really went balls deep into the gay agenda when he swore in that insane batshit gay guy Rick Grenell as America's ambassador to Germany.)

This article, of course, is about Pete Buttigieg, because what are anti-gay buffoons obsessed with right now? Pete Buttigieg. Boys (still his name) is primarily concerned not with the simple fact that Buttigieg is gay, but with how gay Buttigieg really is. IN THE SEX WAY!

Well, Don, since you asked!

Shall we dive into this thing without the proper prophylactics? We shall.

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