Tuesday, January 27, 2004

David Kay's excuses

More on David Kay:

  1. There is a pattern forming with respect to the truth-telling whistleblowers who report on the inner workings of the Bush Administration. John DiIulio ("Mayberry Machiavellis"), Paul O'Neill and David Kay all came up with extremely disturbing comments that in various ways embarrassed the White House. Presumably, someone like Cheney got on the phone and threatened to personally rip their throats out, for each one came back with a modification to the original story a day or two later. This modification lasted for long enough for the press to report that the original story has been largely overturned, but in fact the gist of each whistleblower's story remained intact. Now that David Kay has come partly clean on the weapons of mass destruction fiasco, I fully expect the Bushites will start to describe him as 'disgruntled'.

  2. Kay's first story was that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Immediately, in a story in the Telegraph (Conrad Black, temporary prop.), it turns out that "part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria." Kay said: "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons." The Bush bootlickers and Zionists immediately jumped on this to claim that the danger of Syria was the real story ('Let's bomb Syria'). Almost immediately, Kay went back on this story, saving there was no conclusive evidence that weapons had been moved to Syria, but the damage to the truth had been done.

  3. There are big problems in the story that weapons of mass destruction went to Syria. Leaving aside that it appears to be an obvious ploy to create a rationale for war that the neocons are seeking, it is difficult for Kay to say that there are no weapons of mass destruction, but some of the weapons that didn't exist are in Syria. I think Kay even realized this when he clarified his statement. On top of that is the problem that Kay's massively expensive investigation found exactly nothing, which means any other ideas he has on the subject have very little credibility. If he had any real evidence, I'm sure we would have seen it. Kay said: "There's satellite photography, there are reports on the ground, of a constant stream of trucks, cars, rail traffic across the border. We simply don't know what was moved." Ridiculous. The fact that there is trade between Syria and Iraq proves nothing, and Kay knows it.

  4. Kay is also trying a version of the excuse that Saddam's scientists were fooling Saddam into thinking he had a weapons program, when in actual fact he did not. This old chestnut won't die, and returns when the neocons get really desperate for an excuse. The argument, such as it is (and it is close to incoherent), is that since the scientists fooled Saddam, it is okay for the Bush Administration to be fooled. Of course, there is not one shred of evidence for this theory (except for some Iraqi scientists looking to give people like Kay a story that will get them out of the jails in which the U. S. is holding them), and it doesn't go far enough for the neocons anyway. Bush needed to have conclusive proof of an imminent threat to the United States from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction to even begin to construct an argument for war on a non-threatening sovereign country, and he obviously never had such evidence. Not only did he not have such evidence, but we know, from the statements of Powell and Rice that I have recently referred to, that the Bush Administration was completely aware that Saddam posed no threat to the United States.

  5. Kay also uses a variant of the 'Blame Clinton' argument:

    "We have to remember that this view of Iraq was held during the Clinton administration and didn't change in the Bush administration."

    The problem with this argument concerning Clinton's alleged possession of the same misleading view of Iraq is that Clinton didn't start a war over it. I'm amazed that the neocons have the audacity to keep raising Clinton in this issue, when it was Clinton's good sense that they so clearly lack.

  6. Kay said:

    "Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat."

    and, despite the absence of weapons of mass destruction, on whether Iraq posed an 'imminent threat':

    "That is a political judgment, not a technical judgment."

    I have to admit he's completely lost me.

  7. The most outrageous part of Kay's revised story is his attempt to deflect blame onto the CIA. Kay said, in response to a question of whether Bush owed the nation an explanation for the discrepancies between Bush's tales of weapons of mass destruction and Kay's findings: "I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people." So it's the CIA's fault! I think the CIA under George Tenet can be criticized for the way it handled this whole matter, but for an official from the Bush Administration to blame the CIA for Bush's warmongering is completely ridiculous. Cheney and Rumsfeld set up the office of Special Plans under Feith and Luti with the specific intent of bypassing the normal intelligence channels of the CIA and the DIA. The reason for this was that Cheney feared that the experts wouldn't play along with Bush's political program. Selected false information, much of it gathered by Chalabi's gang, was manipulated to create the basis for a war that the Bush Administration was determined to have regardless of the facts. Parallel to this completely corrupted misuse of 'intelligence', the CIA was attempting to do the real job of intelligence gathering (with Cheney hanging around the CIA offices, as a constant reminder of intimidation). We haven't seen the results of this analysis, but from what hints have been reported, we can try to guess at the truth:

    • the CIA's reports, particularly the infamous National Intelligence Estimate, accurately conveyed the CIA's serious doubts about the neocon claims about weapons of mass destruction, but did so in an oblique way (in footnotes and qualifications), without forcefully facing the issue;

    • the reason for the lack of force in the CIA's work was based in the general personality of Tenet, who tries to get along with his masters, and the real fear in the CIA that a strong dissent from the required view would further marginalize the CIA, leaving it vulnerable to further assaults in its function from other entities like the Office of Special Plans;

    • the CIA has only itself to blame for this, having as it does an absolutely abysmal record from its lying analysis of the Soviet threat in the 1970's and 1980's, where it greatly exaggerated the Soviet military capabilities in order to prolong the cold war and satisfy its political masters (for the sordid history of this, see here);

    • the combination of the existence of the parallel intelligence universe of the Office of Special Plans, Tenet's desire to get along, and a history of politicization of the intelligence gathering and analysis of the CIA led to it create an accurate but insufficiently forceful view on the weapons of mass destruction.

    The CIA could have and should have done better, and an investigation should be done to try to depoliticize the CIA's intelligence analysis, but the root cause for the 'intelligence failure' was the systematic misuse of intelligence by the Bush Administration using the Office of Special Plans to create a fictional rationale for an unnecessary war. The problem wasn't the CIA, but the Cheney and Rumsfeld plan to bypass the CIA.

  8. If you can believe it, Colin Powell is trying to make the argument that Saddam is to blame for the war, as he was given the opportunity to divulge what his country was doing but chose not to. Saddam sent the U. N. some 12,000 pages on what he was doing, 12,000 pages which were lifted by the United States 'for photocopying' and were edited by the Americans to remove embarrassing information before being circulated!!!

There is a consistent pattern in all the neocon excuses for the absence of weapons of mass destruction, in that in each case they use a particularly egregious example of Bush Administration wrongdoing in order to attempt to explain themselves. It is never their fault, but Syria's fault, Clinton's fault, the CIA's fault, or even Saddam's fault for not turning over the information the Bush Administration stole from the U. N.! Nick Theros, the Washington representative of Iyad Allawi, who headed the Iraqi National Accord in exile, now says that the claim that Saddam could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a claim featured in the Blair case for war, was based on an unverified single source, and now seems to be a 'crock of shit'. 'Crock of shit' accurately describes the entire Anglo-American intelligence basis for this illegal attack on a sovereign country.