George Bush – Born Again Hard?

The key sound-bite from President Bush’s Veteran’s Day speech:

“While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments related to Iraq’s weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: ‘When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.’ That’s why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.”

“The stakes in the global War on Terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our Nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.”Bill Kristol assesses how critical todays Veteran’s Day speech by the President really was in The Weekly Standard. He closes with:

The lie that Bush lied us into war threatens the Bush presidency in a way no ordinary political charge does. Bush needs to refute it–and to keep on refuting it–for his sake, for the nation’s, and for the sake of the truth.

George Bush is not running in 2006 or 2008 – he needs to get into campaign mode right now. It’s time to win the war again, this time in the media and court of public opinion.

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  • http://omniverse.blogspot.com/ Omni

    I can’t wait to see what the liberals say in response to THAT.

  • http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com steve sturm

    And had he done this a year ago, maybe 60% of America wouldn’t think he was a liar, he’d have more than a 37% approval rating, he would have congressional and popular support for taking action elsewhere where it is needed, and his legislative initiatives would actually have a chance of passing.

    Heck, had he done this two years ago, his Admin wouldn’t have had to engage in their whispering campaign against Wilson…. Libby/Rove did what they did behind the scenes because Bush wouldn’t step up to the podium to take on his critics.

    I have no idea what took him so long to do what was so obviously necesssary…. maybe he is as dumb as his critics have claimed.

    And ‘better late than never’ isn’t the way to look at this… ‘too little, too late’ is.

  • goddessoftheclassroom

    Steve, President Bush isn’t stupid; he’s a gentleman, and gentlemen don’t lower themselves to the level of their attackers. While President Bush would take the heat directed at himself, he will not tolerate the denigration of the troops. I think the president tolerated the “slings and arrows” until it became clear that the troops were being hurt. It’s sort of like the movie “The Quiet Man.” I expect to see Democrats lying all over the ground.

  • jpm100

    The Left has been working to recast this war into something so negative, early withdrawl will be demanded. The consequences of that would be the affirmation of the US as a Paper Tiger and more. If you can’t acknowledge how much that would damage the US, stop reading now and go back to commondreams.

    When not ‘stuping to their level’ could lead to a desire for an early withdrawl and harm that would bring, acting like a ‘gentleman’ is no longer being a true gentleman.

  • Earl

    Omni: I can’t wait to see what the liberals say in response to THAT.

    Well, for starters, his charge that Congress had the same access to intelligence isn’t true. Or do you only get worked up when the other side is dishonest?

    goddessoftheclassroom: While President Bush would take the heat directed at himself, he will not tolerate the denigration of the troops.

    How exactly are the recent accusations by Congress “denigrations to the troops”? Keep in mind Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, and other Republicans were constantly ripping Clinton during the Kosovo campaign, and no one questioned their loyalty to the troops.

  • Jon

    Well, we just don’t yet know if he lied, spun, exagerrated or what, do we? He may not have done any thing at all. But, at least consider that Bush’s speech itself contains some suspect statements, as pointed out in the Washington Post here:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10009710/

    If there was no problem with the way the intelligence was used in the run up to the war, let’s get that conclusion supported factually and settled. If not, I think there ought to be repercussions.

  • Martin A. Knight

    Read the article again, Earl.

    Milbank (a full-blown Democrat hacktivist) and Co. wanted you to go away with that impression but in the end even they knew that they wouldn’t get away with saying it outright. i.e. that Intellignce Committee Senators don’t get daily briefings does not mean that they are not briefed on what is in those daily briefings.

    In other words, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees get everything the President gets. The information that he gets in daily briefings always is provided to the Intelligence Committees.

    As usual, the Washington Post is assisting its Democrat allies.

  • epador

    Looks like GWB’s been reading some of my posts from the beginning of the week. ‘Cept he hasn’t thrown any of the perp’s into a Romanian CIA Prison…

  • Earl

    MAK — Okay, so I don’t know much about how government handles intelligence (man I love sentences like that). You say “The information that he gets in daily briefings always is provided to the Intelligence Committees.” — do you have a link? Is this codified in law? And if Senators did have access to the same info, how much time did they have to go over it before the resolution, etc.?

  • http://suzyrice.com/BIRD -S-

    What’s causing most of the disbelief in President Bush’s capability — even sincerity to an extent — is that he won’t apply the same “born again hard” perspective in equal measure to our nation’s borders and to rein in illegal immigration.

    Seriously, I am nearly certain that Bush’s contrary nature about this important issue is fueling a lot of otherwise committed conservatives to doubt and withhold enthusiastic support. For all the points Bush affirms as to those who he opposes, I can apply most — if not all — to the elements that promote and defend illegal immigration and denounce the U.S. border issues of security and citizen effort to defense. You can substite mere words in the speech by Bush and arrive at the same problem right here in our own country and along our border, especially the southern one.

    So, it requires a greater generosity of belief to follow along with Bush as to his determination to defend and against what and whom, for some, given the strident contradictions of his personal and Administrative positions.

  • http://suzyrice.com/BIRD -S-

    Earl: I think the comments by Bush about the efforts by some to turn the Iraq war into “another Vietnam” apply to generally what you’re suggesting. Take a look at the DNC’s work during that time, along with most among the Democrats — protecting individual citizens who served in the military during those years was not the incentive, but protecting other issues was. Your focus — that Lott and others during Kosovo were “ripping Clinton” — as issue IS the issue. It’s not about “ripping (Clinton, Bush, etc.) but about “ripping” Americans who are risking their lives every single day to do the duty to protect, defend and serve the rest of us.

    I also think that’s the point President Bush made and made clearly in this speech. Clinton always and still does return the focus to himself in a disquieting, petulent fashion, as do those who share his self-centered politics.

  • paris

    12 Consejos en una catastrofe por James Nolan . Son las conclusiones de este escritor de New Orlenans después de pasar el Katrina, y especialmente de estar en una situación límite sin atención de las autoridades. A todos nos puede servir, ya que no sabemos que nos puede pasar, y sobre todo donde nos puede “pillar” una catastrofe.
    http://lourdesmunozsantamaria.blogspot.com/2005/11/12-consejos-en-una-situacin-de.html

  • http://suzyrice.com/BIRD -S-

    See? See what I mean? There’s something significant about people who refuse to communicate in the language o’ the land, at least within a public forum context such as this. HINT: it’s not communication, it’s affront.

  • wilky

    Eral, also keep in mind that Tom DeLay, Trent Lott voted against the Kosovo campaign.

  • Earl

    S, maybe I’m dense, but I’m not sure what your point is. “Your focus — that Lott and others during Kosovo were “ripping Clinton” — as issue IS the issue.” I don’t understand that sentence. Lott, DeLay, et al said some nasty things about the campaign, overstretching of US power abroad, etc — it wasn’t just about Clinton.

    And wilky, if criticism is justified based on one’s previous vote alone, let me remind you that 126 Dems in the House voted against the Iraq resolution. By your standard, then, it’s perfectly okay for Pelosi to complain?

  • Steve Crickmore

    Even if the Admimistration didn’t go as far to fix or manipulate the pre-war intelligence as its critics claim, there is no doubt that it cherry-picked the intelligence and Cheney’s vice-president’s office applied intense pressure to get the intelligence it wanted for its casus belli. The CIA is an indepedent committee reporting to the National Security Council, in the executive branch. In addition, when the CIA wasn’t receptive enough, a intelligence unit, run by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, shaded analytic judgments, ignored contrary evidence and sidestepped the CIA to present dubious findings to senior officials at the White House.
    It seems pretty hollow to be blaming the CIA now, for not presenting more equivocal information with larger caveats, when the Administration made it all to clear during the run-up to the war, that it wanted only to hear a case for the invasion of Iraq. We all choose evidence to plead or underscore our opinions, but in the case for going to war, it is probably the most serious duty an executive can discharge. It seems clear that the Administration didn’t consider that their expectations of war would distort the intelligence summaries they received. If the CIA is independent, it should stay independent; if it is subject to Administration pressure, the Administration should not duck the responsibility that their pressure produced only one-sided intelligence.

  • wilky

    Yea Earl I wrote that off the top off my head. When I went back to look at the breakdown of the vote I was surprised to see many did vote against it.

  • Martin A. Knight

    First of all, Steve Crickmore’s entire mendacious post is based on moonbat fantasies on what happened and not on actual reality.

    As for you Earl, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have oversight powers over the 13-15 Intelligence Agencies of the United States. By law, all the information that goes to the President from the CIA is sent over to the Intelligence Committees.

    As for time argument, are you really going to base you assertion that “Bush lied” on the idea that NO Democrat member of the Intelligence Committees could possibly have read the Intelligence reports in time to vote responsibly?

  • Steve Crickmore

    Martin A. Knight..It is true that not enough politicians read..Bush who is usually in bed by 10 oclock is the classic offender.
    But “The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary”. Still the Washington Post article Asterisks Dot White House’s Iraq Argument make an convincing argument that just as the White House makes no qualification on its theisis that it didn’t manipulate or * the intelligence, ** dot its argument that it didn’t, or that Congress could read the same intelligence it had.

  • Earl

    My “assertion that ‘Bush lied’”? Sorry, but where exactly do I make that assertion?

    I simply asked some questions; please don’t put words in my mouth.

  • American First

    Boy you need a big pair of waders to get through all the B.S on this blog. No matter how you try and slant the facts your way. we have no business in Iraq. No WMD, No al-queda links, nothing. And to use Veterans day as a time to blast his critics who were lied to is even more tasteless. All the Senators and Congress on both sides of the isle have a right to complain about the evedince in the lead up to war. Just think how jurors feel after convicting someone when the prosecutor held back key evidence, and then finding that out later. And what is Dick Cheney doing addressing veterans? Wasnt he the one who said he had better things to do than serve in Nam?

  • Martin A. Knight

    Earl and Steve,

    I am going to assume from the tone of your replies that you are arguing your points (or asking your questions) here in good faith.

    If you read the article again, you’d notice that not even Milbank or Pincus could deny that it was the overwhelming consensus of the Intelligence Community that Saddam still maintained stockpiles of WMDs and was running programs to create more.

    This “consensus” issue is EXTREMELY important. The Democrats and their Press allies (Pincus, Milbank and Co.) are counting on ignorance on the part of the American people on how Intelligence is gathered, analyzed and presented to the decision makers in American government.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of pages of information on almost every single nation on Earth at the CIA, DIA, NSA, INR, NRO, etc. On top of those pages of raw Intelligence data are thousands of pages of analysis of that data prepared by the agencies’ analysts. Mali poses no threat to America, but you’d better believe that there is a great deal of paper about that nation at Langley.

    Iraq is an entirely different kettle of fish. The amounts of information on the country must have been massive. It is the analysts’ job to sift through this information, come to conclusions, attach a certain level of confidence to them, and present the finished product to their superiors who futher work on it and present their findings upward till it gets to the President and other decision makers (which includes Senators and Representatives on the Intelligence Committees).

    This is not a science. It involves a huge amount of estimation, extrapolation, reconciliation and consensus-building, using information already known about the subject/target in question. In other words, the analysts who prepared the 2002 NIE didn’t just use information gathered exclusively from 01/21/2001 but information going all the way back from the 1970s.

    Despite what the Press and their allies the Democrats would have you believe, there are ALWAYS caveats and dissenting views among the analysts. There are literally thousands of them working in more than a dozen agencies. How can there not be differences of opinion?

    This is why reaching a consensus on what the Intelligence means is so very important. There is not enough time in the world for the President (or anybody else) to read (and follow up) on the monstrous amounts of analysis reports produced at the agencies every single day. So what happens is that the reports are condensed all the way up the chain to the DCI who presents his report (which is the consensus of his analysts) to the President as the definitive word from the Intelligence Community as regards a particular subject.

    Tenet described it as a “slam dunk” that Saddam had WMDs. This had been the consensus view since before the Reagan Administration (note how many Democrats were fulminating about Saddam’s WMDs in the 1990s up until 2003). Do you honestly believe that the Intelligence Clinton based his decision on to launch Operation Desert Fox had no caveats and dissenting views? Yet did any Democrats (or Republicans for that matter) accuse him of lying when he said Saddam had WMDs?

    Can you give me a plausible reason for Bush, considering Saddam’s history of brutality, obfuscation, lies and deception to have rejected the conclusion reached by all the nation’s Intelligence agencies as well as EVERY other nation’s (UK, France, Germany, Israel, Russian, Jordanian, etc.) Intelligence agencies, about Saddam and WMD?

    I didn’t think so.

    So it is incredibly misleading and downright evil, for the same Senators who urged President Clinton to destroy Saddam’s WMDs, the same Senators confidently asserting that based on information long before Bush became President that Saddam had WMDs, to now turn around and claim that “Bush lied” because they never got to hear about the 15 out of 700 analysts who expressed some doubt about Saddam still having WMDs in his possession. Especially when they never did need the White House’s permission to get access to those dissenters’ reports in the first place.

    Bottomline, nobody mislead anybody. Not Clinton, not Bush. The Intelligence was wrong and the Intelligence Community came to the wrong conclusions.

    Capiche?

  • Aidan

    Ehem… is this the same shmuck who’s re-election campaign was littered with “I’d go to war all over again” and “We’ll fight them over there, yuk, yuk”? Argue as much as you like this war was unprevoked, pre-emtive by admission and therefore a huge gamble… Commander in Chief made the ultimate call and he should be held accountable.

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