Morning Report 11/12/05Rewriting Hysteria


Bush lies again about his previous lies about Iraq

Eric Draper/White House


Bush celebrates Veterans Day by lying to a bunch of them yesterday in Pennsylvania.

George W. Bush, such a lightweight president that he doesn’t even read, is accusing others of rewriting history.

How would he know?

Bush’s handlers, who still include that teetering humpty Karl Rove, propped up the POTUS in front of a huge, Soviet-style “Strategy for Victory” slogan in Pennsylvania yesterday and directed him to say the following:

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.

And what would those be? I wonder. Bush said:

While it’s 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.

Pause here for crowd applause. (You don’t think Bush gave this speech just anywhere, do you? He was speaking at the Tobyhanna Army Depot.) He continued:

Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.

They’re right, and Bush is a liar.

If you want to get technical about it, Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post break down just how he lied, but they’re a lot more civil about it, stopping well short of wagging their fingers in his face. Here’s a segment of their analysis from this morning’s paper:

National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, briefing reporters Thursday, countered “the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence.” He said that “those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission, have concluded it did not happen.”

But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush’s commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: “Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.”

Bush, in Pennsylvania yesterday [November 11], was more precise, but he still implied that it had been proved that the administration did not manipulate intelligence, saying that those who suggest the administration “manipulated the intelligence” are “fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments.”

In the same speech, Bush asserted that “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.” Giving a preview of Bush’s speech, Hadley had said that “we all looked at the same intelligence.”

But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President’s Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community’s views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

That’s assuming that Bush even occasionally glanced at the material that his staff secretary — you know, what’s her name, the star of the Harriet-Got-The-Gate scandal — allowed to even cross his desk after Vise President Dick Cheney saw it.

Milbank and Pincus do an OK job on the particulars, but if you want the best perspective on Bush’s Friday speech, go all the way back to May 5, 2003, for Seymour Hersh‘s breathtaking story “Selective Intelligence” in The New Yorker. In the piece, Hersh peers deep inside the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. His detailed reporting — fair and balanced, to borrow a continually abused phrase — reveals a goodly part of the unintelligent design behind the Iraq debacle.

And one thing particularly striking in retrospect is this passage from Hersh, in which he’s talking with “a former Bush administration intelligence official”:

The former intelligence official went on, “One of the reasons I left was my sense that they were using the intelligence from the CIA and other agencies only when it fit their agenda. They didn’t like the intelligence they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff. They were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with — to the point of being bizarre. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God.” He added, “If it doesn’t fit their theory, they don’t want to accept it.”

No wonder the Bush regime is lashing out so strongly at its critics. Even beyond the content of the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabalists’ cuckoo dogma, they’re so dogmatic in style.

In the end, it won’t be the cabalists’ original lies that do them in, of course.

It will be their lies about those lies.

That’s what happened in Watergate, and that’s what got Scooter Libby indicted.

The more defensive they become, the more they attack their critics. The more they attack their critics, the more they talk about their pre-war plotting. Lies beget lies, to keep the whole Ponzi scheme of prefabrications still standing. And even the smart lawyers and other hucksters who surround the dumb president can’t help but make mistakes.

And so the evidence piles up from their own lips that could eventually sink them in some court or congressional hearing at a place and time yet to be determined.