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Tenet Said Saddam Would Have Nukes By 2007

I didn't see George Tenet's interview on 60 Minutes last night, but Larwyn alerted me to the following statement by Tenet that the intelligence community believed Saddam could have nukes by 2007. Ian Schwartz got the transcript and is going to be posting video soon. (UPDATE: Video link here.)

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS' "60 MINUTES": January '03, the President, again: "imagine those 19 hijackers this time armed by Saddam's Hussein," is that what you're telling the President?

GEORGE TENNET: No.

[narrating voice]

The Vice President up the anty, claiming Saddam had nuclear weapons when the CIA was saying he didn't.

PELLEY: What's happening here?


TENNET: I don't know what's happening here. The intelligence community's judgement is he will not have nuclear weapons until the year 2007, 2009.

PELLEY: That's not what the Vice President is saying.

TENNET: Well I can't explain it.

Am I missing something or did Tenet basically say that if Saddam had been left in power, it is likely he would have a nuclear weapon today? Or in a year or two, anyway. I get that the point Pelley was trying to make (yes, some journalists try to make points in their interviews) was that the Vice President was citing numbers other than what he was getting from the CIA. Maybe he was relying on numbers Great Britain or some other entity had shared with the administration. Maybe Pelley and Tenet think we should have waited until 2007 to address that threat, then if our estimates were off by a year or three and Saddam had the bomb in 2004, then oopsie, tough break.

Here is the problem I have with those who say the administration lied because they cherry picked information, or faulting them for acting on information indicating the earliest estimates of the threat. If you are being told that the guy next door is building a bomb and he is going to blow you and your family up, and you have lots of differing opinions about how long it is going to take to build the bomb, do you take all the different assessments and choose to believe the ones that say it will take a year, rather than the ones that say it will take a month? Or do you take all the estimates and average them? Or do you, right after 9/11 caught you by surprise, decide that you will no longer give a terrorist the benefit of the doubt and decide to act on the information that says he could have the bomb built in the least amount of time, out of an over abundance of caution? If you and your family were in the house next door, what would you hope would be done? I realize that is an oversimplification, but when looking at the decision to invade Iraq it is necessary to look at what was known at the time, and that the President was deeply impacted by 9/11 and vowed we would never again ignore or treat lightly the terrorist threat. The fact that some in the intelligence community believed Saddam was a loveable little fuzzball, does not make it okay for the President to ignore those in the intelligence community who believed (as Tenet said in the 60 Minutes interview) that he would have nukes today.

Update: The Anchoress reminded me of a post she did last November about a New York Times piece on how close Saddam was to having nuclear capability.


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Comments (48)

BOO!!!!!Scared you... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

BOO!!!!!

Scared you didn't it Lorie?

Yeah, but that was based on... (Below threshold)
Dan S:

Yeah, but that was based on Bush's lies! If Bush hadn't lied about the real situation in Iraq, Tenet never would have thought that!

Can we get some trolls in h... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Can we get some trolls in here who are above the age of ten? Actually I would expect better than that "boo" comment from my six year old. But then, she is very smart for six.

Well, we know the terrorist threat didn't scare Bill Clinton, at least not enough to prioritize it above his intern diddling. (And yes, diddling is a technical term.)

This was fun, but I've gotta run. Later.

Tenet has done such a good ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Tenet has done such a good job. He prevented the Cole bombing. The embassy bombings. 9/11 was prevented. OOPS! This great CIA man, with his integrity and trust protected, missed all the main opportunities. If any organization is to be blamed for the terrorist attacks against the US, it is the CIA that is to blame. Just as the dimmers say FEMA's Brown was responsible for not anticipating the disaster of Katrina. Now Tenet is trying to re-write his history. His leadership has lead to the ineffectiveness of our intelligience community. We have listened to him in the past and he was wrong, why listen to him a believe him now? ww

Lori, you should do a littl... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Lori, you should do a little research before you make stupid comments. Maybe like watching the actual interview?

Tennet said that Saddam could buy a Nuke by then. That is not what the Administration was arguing. Cheney said Saddam had reconstituted his bio and nuke programs.

If they thought Saddam was actively pursuing a Nuke on the black market, where is the evidence (Senate Select Committee findings)? Why didn't they make that argument?

So liberals are now arguing... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

So liberals are now arguing that Hussein would try to buy a whole nuclear weapon, but won't even consider the possibility of him attempting to buy yellow-cake uranium?

Interesting.

"I get that the point Pelle... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"I get that the point Pelley was trying to make ... was that the Vice President was citing numbers other than what he was getting from the CIA...Maybe he was relying on numbers Great Britain or some other entity had shared with the administration..."

Lorie, Cheney had his own "evidence" factory in the basement of the Pentagon. It was a neocon operation (OSD) with Douglas Feith as the project manager. They cherry-picked info and commissioned counterfeit intelligence reports to be transmitted through third parties (SISMI: Italian intelligence) to add veracity. SISMI is the source of the MI6 info, too. It was an international neo-con job. CIA was only used to co-sign the Intelligence Estimate to Congress, and as functionary in assisting the State Department's public presentation of the case. So there are no "maybe"s about it.

Here's one of the more famous "secret memos" that Feith and the OSD itself "LEAKED" to be published in the neocon Weekly Standard (from where it was intended to take on a PUBLIC life of its own. It did.) See, once made public, the administration can discuss the exposited details. A positive spin machine.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/378fmxyz.asp

This grasping at straws is ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

This grasping at straws is a little sad.

I'm reminded of those stories about a Japanese soldier discovered 20 years after the end of WWII isolated on an island in the South Pacific who didn't realize the world had moved on.

Tenet also said Perle told ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Tenet also said Perle told Tenet the day after 9/11, out in the hallway that "we" are going after Saddam. Problem is, Perle was out of the country until 9/15. OOPS. Those pesky facts to prove Tenet is lying to save whatever "integrity" he had left. ww

"Tennet said that Saddam co... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"Tennet said that Saddam could buy a Nuke by then."


What, was he waiting for them to go on sale?

Yes so!..First of all ther... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Yes so!..First of all there is probably a built in bias to the C.I.A. to overestimate the military potential of a country on the Administration's 'axis of evil'. In a like manner, the CIA was criticized by Moynihan and others on the Intelligence Committee for vastly overestimating the threat of the Soviets in the 70's and 80's during the cold war. Also, it is highly likely Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon in 5 to 7 years, if they really were determined. It took Pakistan only a couple of years, to do so, after India acquired its nuclear bomb.

How about, "before the thre... (Below threshold)
kathie:

How about, "before the threat becomes imminent".

So when did the word "could... (Below threshold)
jeff:

So when did the word "could" become the definition for "would".
Keep spinning lorie, don't let the facts get in your way.

jeff, can you read? He did ... (Below threshold)

jeff, can you read? He did not use the word "could", he used the word "will". Which in American English, is colloquial for "shall".

There is a minor difference between saying someone will not have something before a date, and saying that they will have something on that date, but the difference is not what you are suggesting it is. It is in fact much more minor. Try comprehending the quote above again.

"I realize that is an overs... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

"I realize that is an oversimplification,"

No, "You guys must want Saddam back" is the #1
daily, oversimplified rebuttal to the ham-handed
Iraq venture. #2 is; "the surge is working".

How liberal Democrats trash... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

How liberal Democrats trashed the CIA and Republicans helped:

The CIA has recently been pressured into accepting the idea of devoting the bulk of its attention to such global issues as pollution, health, natural resources, and endangered species. In 1991, President Bush signed a directive to this effect and the Agency quickly fell into line, creating a National Intelligence Officer for Global and Multilateral Issues. According to Robert Gates, the CIA was planning in 1992 to devote 40 percent of its resources to international economics and only 34 percent to Russia and the other successor states to the Soviet Union. One can only view such a shift of emphasis as a desperate attempt to find a make-believe role for the CIA in the post-Soviet world. [Note the leftist fantasy that the world is all sweetness and light since the demise of the USSR. ed.] But intelligence has only one function: to uncover foreign threats to national security. International terrorism and nuclear traffic clearly come within its purview. Global economic or environmental problems just as clearly do not: along with other ills afflicting humanity and the earth, they are best left to international organizations. Richard Pipes, "What to Do about the CIA," Commentary Mar. 1995

Leftists [Democrat congress] urge the diversion of huge amounts of CIA resources to pet causes, Republicans [Bush I and RINOS] placate them, and now these same politicians have the temerity to whine about "intelligence failures." Newsflash: It's not the CIA's fault. The blame lies at the feet of weenie politicians.

Lighten up on the moonbats.... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Lighten up on the moonbats. They had a bad week. One of their leading propaganda outlets had to admit the surge is workins and Rosie O'Donut got shot out of the saddle twice. Lost her job and found out that fire (heat) will melt steel. It couldn't have happened to a better person and the damage it took to prove heat melts steel couldn't have happened to a better place.

If Saddam had 'built' a nuclear bomb or Saddam had 'bought' a nuclear weapon is different, how? Wouldn't we now be facing a nuclear armed idiot, well facing another nuclear armed idiot, but this one would have used it to prove a point, or to watch the bunch of you in NYC/LA/Chicago/Dallas/SF or any large city sizzle just for fun.

Jeff Blogworthy.Ri... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jeff Blogworthy.

Richard Pipes (CFR, Team B) was a disinformation agent specializing in over-rating military capabilities of everyone under the sun(or under the bed, inside the closet, etc.) Widely discredited since the fall of the Warsaw Pact, when it was shown that his "intelligence" had no basis in reality and was only good for selling weapons systems to the Pentagon. It was many of his contracted programs that were exhibits A-Z for what needed to be cut. Much of the Bloat was courtesy of R Pipes. A real skunk and educated idiot. Made things up. Like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, and Libby. Even their methods were the same. Parasitic.

PS. Commentary is a neo-con front.

Now that's funny. ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Now that's funny.

You know what the evidence was that Pakistan was close to getting nukes? A nukular test.

And who was deputy chief of the CIA while they were developing the nukes and who was chief of the CIA while they were finishing up the development of nukes and during the nukular test?

The same guy who had no idea that Libya had such a huge nukular program.

His initials are G. T. and he just wrote a book even more self-serving than Krusty the Clown's biography.
I look forward to his mea culpa on Pakistan and Libya or to the NYTimesWashPostCNNABCCBSNBCetc. pointing it out if it's not in there.

Sorry, I just like to make myself laugh.

bryanD,Come to thi... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

bryanD,

Come to think of it, you are probably right. I also heard he was an agent of the Vatican, hired to pave the way for the Antichrist. Good fact checking post BTW.

Tennet said that S... (Below threshold)
Tennet said that Saddam could buy a Nuke by then.

What is your source on that? Because every other report on Tenet's statements I've seen says "make", like this direct quote:

"We made two judgments that get overlooked these days. We said that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapon and probably would have been unable to make one until 2007 to 2009."

You also seem to to be saying that Cheney was lying about the intelligence community's opinion on whether Saddam had reconstituted his WMD programs. Yet that same Tenet speech includes statements like this:

In the estimate, all agencies agree that Saddam Hussein wanted nuclear weapons. Most were convinced that he still had a program and if he obtained fissile material he could have a weapon within a year. ... Most agencies believed that Saddam had begun to reconstitute his nuclear program, but they disagreed on a number of issues, such as which procurement activities were designed to support his nuclear program.
If you are being told th... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

If you are being told that the guy next door is building a bomb and he is going to blow you and your family up, and you have lots of differing opinions about how long it is going to take to build the bomb, do you take all the different assessments and choose to believe the ones that say it will take a year, rather than the ones that say it will take a month?

Clearly, you wait several years once the dust has settled and use hindsight to deem which one was appropriate. Of course, that prevents nothing but at least you get to feel good about yourself.

(I still recall Kerry, in the midst of the '04 Presidential race, responding to an question as to whether taking military action against Saddam was the correct course of action to which he responded that it depended on the outcome.)

Scrapiron, Jeff Blogworthy ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Scrapiron, Jeff Blogworthy you are always blaming Democrats for been distracted or diverting funds from catching terrorists but how about your own side...President Bush March '3,2002 "And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban." and now "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." No it's not worthwhile for the decider or would be for Romney to spend alot of effort to find Bin Laden, but it is worthwhile to spend from one trillion to two trillion dollars, on the war in Iraq, to remove one person, who wasn't involved in 9/11. Makes sense?


No it's not worthwhile ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

No it's not worthwhile for the decider or would be for Romney to spend alot of effort to find Bin Laden, but it is worthwhile to spend from one trillion to two trillion dollars, on the war in Iraq, to remove one person, who wasn't involved in 9/11. Makes sense?

Note from the discussion above that action against Saddam was about removing a potential threat not some type of retaliation for 9/11.

Steve Crickmore:"M... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Steve Crickmore:

"Makes sense?"

Makes a lot more sense than spending trillions tilting at global warming windmills in lieu of national security. At least Saddam was a bona fide threat. In case you forgot Saddam was in direct violation of the terms of a cease fire agreement and, although he was not directly involved in 9/11, he was certainly an al-Qaeda supporter and enabler. To say Saddam "wasn't involved in 9/11" is a false oversimplification.

It is tantamount to saying that Iran "is not involved" presently in killing our troops. No, they only supply the weapons, personnel, and operating base.

dork, the speech you link t... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

dork, the speech you link to included this:

Keep in mind that no intelligence agency thought that Iraq's efforts had progressed to the point of building an enrichment facility or making fissile material. We said that such activities were a few years away. Therefore it's not surprising that the Iraq Survey Group has not yet found evidence of uranium enrichment facilities.

Also, Tenet said this on 60 Minutes:
"Well, I don't know what's happening here," Tenet says. "The intelligence community's judgment is 'He will not have a nuclear weapon until the year 2007, 2009.'"
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/25/60minutes/main2728375_page4.shtml

Tenet said "have" and not "make".

He also said this about Valerie Plame:
"She's one of my officers. That's wrong. Big time wrong, you don't get to do that," Tenet says. "And the chilling effect that you have inside my work force is, 'Whoa, now officers names are being thrown out the door. Hold it. Not right.'"

BIG TIME WRONG!

Clearly, you wait sever... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Clearly, you wait several years once the dust has settled and use hindsight to deem which one was appropriate. Of course, that prevents nothing but at least you get to feel good about yourself.

(I still recall Kerry, in the midst of the '04 Presidential race, responding to an question as to whether taking military action against Saddam was the correct course of action to which he responded that it depended on the outcome.)

Bwahhahahahahahah....Mike you do so know how to make the lefties look like the fools they are. And I had forgotten all about Kerry doing that. Thanks for that midday laugh.

Scrap Iron-Rosi... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Scrap Iron-

Rosie O'Donut got shot out of the saddle twice.

And the horse she rode in on...

Because you know-will it ever walk again?

The intelligence communi... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

The intelligence community's judgement is he will not have nuclear weapons until the year 2007, 2009.
George Tenet

Here is what this means:

If Saddam started full-scale nuclear weapon production in 2002, the earliest he could build one by would be 2007, 2009.

Of course, we know now (and knew then if we had actually paid attention to anyone besides the administration) that Saddam was not capable of full-scale nuclear weapon development. It's painfully obvious that hiding a nuclear program is virtually impossible (see Iran). Think of all the centrifuges and the electricity needed to power them (that reminds me of what a crock the aluminum tubes farce was; by the way, who got that wrong? hint: not the CIA).

That is most likely what he meant. He was correct in his statement but it does not mean Saddam would or could have had one by 2007.

It's painfully obvious t... (Below threshold)

It's painfully obvious that hiding a nuclear program is virtually impossible (see Iran).

Except that Iraq hid their earlier program quite successfully.

Barney, You're being offici... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Barney, You're being officially called out. (and I do mean officially)

You said:

----------------

Lori, you should do a little research before you make stupid comments. Maybe like watching the actual interview?

Tennet said that Saddam could buy a Nuke by then.
-----------------

You insulted one of the site's authors and you lied to do it.

Tenet never said Saddam would purchase a nuke, you made that up out of whole cloth.

You owe Lorie an apology.

Paul, come on. If you take ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Paul, come on. If you take away blatant dishonesty, Barney has nothing to say.

"It's painfully obvious that hiding a nuclear program is virtually impossible (see Iran)."
sean nyc/aa

See: Libya. Of course, with out removing Saddam, we wouldn't have that example....

Tenet is a nutball from wha... (Below threshold)
Captain Joe:

Tenet is a nutball from what I determined from the interview. He confirms that Saddam would have had a nuke by now, yet he questions whether we should have gone after the bastid. He was a useful idiot, though, with his slam dunk declaration. This gave Bush/Cheney a get out of jail free card from the CIA director himself.

Likewise you could look to ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Likewise you could look to N. Korea. Without Clinton and Carter, we wouldn't have that example, either..

I am sorry I posted a smart... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I am sorry I posted a smarty pants comment earlier and then took off, but had quite a few errands to do today and will be heading back out shortly for carpool. Thanks Paul, for correcting Barney. I liked Brainy435's comment in response to that one too:

"'Tennet said that Saddam could buy a Nuke by then.'

What, was he waiting for them to go on sale?"

Someone asked why I made the jump from "could" to "would." I actually thought about it (believe it or not) before going with that post title, but if you look at the Tenet quote, he said the intelligence community believed Saddam "will not" have weapons until 2007, 2009, not that he "could not." I was trying to stick closer to his words, but obviously they could not have known for certain when/if Saddam would eventually have a nuke. That was their opinion though.

Even if we accept that prop... (Below threshold)

Even if we accept that proposition that the intelligence community misled Bush/Cheney on Iraq's WMD and potential for nuclear weapons that does not lead us to the inevitable conclusion that invading Iraq was the right course of action. Just look at US history and you'll see plenty of examples where we accomplished regime change without invading and bogging ourselves down in a costly and open-ended occupation.

Bush policy with Iraq has been marred by a series of errors in judgment. WMD wasn't the biggest error. The biggest error in judgment by far was the idea that stability could be easily restored in Iraq after deposing the Hussein regime and that no more than 150,000 troops would be required to do that. It's really the failed nationbuilding that Americans are angry about. If we had succeeded at that, people wouldn't give a darn about the WMD.

Larkin, first, we already h... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Larkin, first, we already had a "costly and open-ended occupation" of Iraq, at least in the no-fly zones. And we had had not been able to bring about regime change in Iraq, even after more than a decade of formenting dissent and cripling econominc sanctions. Further, an internal regime change would likely have been MUCH different than an elected government like they have today, so we may have had a different guy being as much of a pain in the ass, or possibly a full-blown radical Islamic state, vaguely like what happened in Iran. If you look back at US history there are also examples where lengthy occupations were the only answer.. and some of them continue to this day. So while the war MIGHT not have been the right answer, it's nowhere near clear that the war was the WRONG answer.

It's also wrong to dismiss our efforts at rebuilding after removing Saddam. We tried a new set of military tactics in Iraq, mostly the smaller footpring desired by Rumsfeld. He saw that a new direction was needed for the military to deal with more modern threats. It now looks like those efforts were utterly disasterous in Iraq, but again doesn't mean they should not have been tried. In a few years we'll better understand if the smaller footprint approach itself was a flawed idea, if the idea was sabotaged by military lifers who didn't want to change the status quo or if it's application was bumbled by the current administration who, let's not forget, made its disdain for nation building known before Bush was first elected. It was likely a combination of the three. I'd like to see if the smaller footprint idea could be done better before it is tossed aside entirely.

Condi: "The problem here is... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Condi: "The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"..the American equivalent of the "sexed up.' British dossier " with the British WMD claim "that weapons could be deployed by Iraq ,in 45 minutes." I agree Larkin, that no one would have too concerned had the occupation been a success somehow, but this was so symptomatic of the same general wilful incompetence, that the Coalition Provisional Authority of whom almost no one had ever been to an Arab country, and with only the inexperienced Bremer making decisions, they couldn't organize "a pissup in a brewery" let alone build a Muslim nation seething with religious hostility. Time excerpting Tenet's book "Once CPA under ambassador Bremer had been established, Condi Rice ordered the interagency committee that had been constituted to deal with postwar planning issues to fold its tent. It was only a short while later, however,.. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1615848-2,00.html ">The shit hit the fan and we had to rely on the British to tell us what was going on because we were getting no political reporting out of CPA." Rice then ordered the NSC process to start up again. But by then, fundamental decisions on disbanding the army and de-Ba'athification had already been made."

I guess I'll have take me c... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

I guess I'll have take me culpa. Now that I have had a chance to review the transcript, I see that I was confused on the obtain and not build a Nuke, but at least I did watch the program. I did not accuse Lori of lying as Paul alleges. I was critical of Lori for making statements on something she did not see. She did take Tenet's statement out of context. Saddam could have built a Nuke in five to seven years if Saddam had the raw material the will and the refining/enrichment capabilities (which he did not have) as stated in one of my earlier comments:

"Keep in mind that no intelligence agency thought that Iraq's efforts had progressed to the point of building an enrichment facility or making fissile material. We said that such activities were a few years away. Therefore it's not surprising that the Iraq Survey Group has not yet found evidence of uranium enrichment facilities." Tenet 2004

So, it would nice if you righties would correct yourselves at least once in a while.

I've liked "60 Minutes" for... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I've liked "60 Minutes" for years. But last night Scott Pelley's interview was, to put it mildly, a pile of journalistic dog poo.

Pelley asked baiting questions, interjected opinion, misrepresented Tenet's view on torture and was accursatory and inflamatory in telling Tenet "...you did make this kind of stuff up (national intelligent estimates on Iraq's CW and BW)," when, in fact, that is NOT what Tenet even came close to saying.

What's also abundantly clear is that Pelley, along with many others in the media, has no working knowledge or has seemingly taken the time to understand what comprises a national intelligence estimate and how that information is gathered. It is NEVER meant to be "hard evidence" that is admissable in ANY court of law:

TENET: "So you put all of this together, it's not evidence in the court of law. Remember, when you write an estimate, when you estimate, you're writing what you don't know. You might win a civil case. Huh? You're not gonna win a criminal case,

PELLEY:"We are going to war. Tens of thousands of people are going to be killed. And you're telling me you had evidence to prove a civil case, not a criminal case?"

As if national intelligence estimates and evidence were subject to the courts. Just a plain stupid and lazy question by Pelley that leads people to believe that the evidence wasn't compelling enough to take to a court or was lacking when, clearly, Tenet had said otherwise.

Long heavy sigh....<p... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Long heavy sigh....

Barney said: "I did not accuse Lori of lying as Paul alleges."

When I wrote: "You insulted one of the site's authors and you lied to do it."

I appreciate the non-apology apology but reading would have been a nice bonus too.

His leadership has lead ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

His leadership has lead to the ineffectiveness of our intelligience community.

And to think... Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Why don't you remind us how much you objected to that back then?

We have listened to him in the past and he was wrong, why listen to him a believe him now?

Can we apply your suggestion to other leaders we have listened to and who were wrong?

Except that Iraq hid the... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Except that Iraq hid their earlier program quite successfully.
geoff

Yes, they hid it so well that Israel bombed their nuclear reactor. Musta been a lucky guess.

See: Libya. Of course, with out removing Saddam, we wouldn't have that example....
brainy435

Did you ever think that we knew they had a nuclear program, and they knew we knew, and they knew we knew they were still years away from completing a bomb, and that's why they gave it up so quickly (this goes along with your point that taking out Saddam did scare them enough to give it up)? Probably not because you buy the administration talking points hook, line, and sinker.

Yeah, but what if we knew t... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Yeah, but what if we knew they knew we knew, but they knew we didn't know they knew we knew they knew we knew they knew? If we KNEW that, then we'd be ok, but why didn't you or I know we knew that know now when we knew it?

Crap, now I'm all dizzy.

So your argument is that the administration that lied about countries being bigger threats than they were so we could go to war with them in THIS instance lied about Libya NOT being a threat so we wouldn't want to go to war with them?

Jesus, how do you asshats keep your BS straight? You have a double-secret flow-chart you encrypt and send each other?

So your argument is that... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

So your argument is that the administration that lied about countries being bigger threats than they were so we could go to war with them in THIS instance lied about Libya NOT being a threat so we wouldn't want to go to war with them?
brainy435

Pretty much. Along the same lines, why didn't we go to war with North Korea? Or Pakistan? Or Sudan? There are plenty of countries we could have justified going to war with, but Iraq serves ideological and geopolitical interests, as well as a nice side of revenge served cold.

As crazy as the administration is, they're not entirely stupid (well, at least Cheney isn't), especially so when it comes to politics. Advocating for war in every country would severely turn the country against our military efforts elsewhere and would have run against the idea of fighting the war on the cheap.

It's really pretty-straight forward and not a huge intellectual disconnect as you imply it to be.

Yes, they hid it so well... (Below threshold)

Yes, they hid it so well that Israel bombed their nuclear reactor. Musta been a lucky guess.

Musta been the wrong nuclear program. Israel bombed the reactor in 1981. The program I'm talking about is this one:

After the Osirak attack, Iraq would pursue a secret nuclear weapons program that had gone undetected by Western intelligence and the IAEA until after the 1991 Gulf War.

The relevant one. But I suspect you knew that.

Along the same lines, wh... (Below threshold)

Along the same lines, why didn't we go to war with North Korea?

Because of China.

Or Pakistan?

Because they've had the bomb since at least 1998, so responding is a little late, and because they are nominally an ally.

Or Sudan?

Not a national security issue - it's a UN issue.

Another Tenet observation f... (Below threshold)

Another Tenet observation for your consideration.

From the post 'On "Slam Dunk" and Policy Making':

So now we have former CIA chief George Tenet providing some 'nuance' to 'explain' his "Slam Dunk" comment:

...The phrase "slam dunk" didn't refer to whether Saddam Hussein actually had WMDs, says Tenet; the CIA thought he did. He says he was talking about what information could be used to make that case when he uttered those words. "We can put a better case together for a public case. That's what I meant," explains Tenet...
Hmmmm...The CIA makes a big deal of letting everyone know that they're not in the business of making policy (ed. The following is verbatim from the CIA web site...including the capitalized 'DO NOT'):
...It is important to know that CIA analysts only report the information and DO NOT make policy recommendations-making policy is left to the executive branch of the government, such as the State Department or the Defense Department. These policymakers use the information that CIA provides to help them make US policy toward other countries...
Now...what should we call it when Tenet utilized the "Slam Dunk" comment to advocate that:
...We can put a better case together for a public case...
That "public case" Tenet now refers to was the case to go to war against Iraq. Wouldn't that be policy making?




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