Tue Jun 27, 2006 15:21

For the record, no guns smoked--at least not in the sense that massive new revelations determined Bush to have giggled about knowingly passing along obvious untruths. But such blatant deception is too unsophisticated these days. Ron Suskind makes clear in his fascinating new book, The One Percent Doctrine, that the president's closest advisers take it upon themselves to insulate him from knowing the details that complicate his deeply-held view of the world. (These details are more commonly known as "facts" and "laws.") What the panel instead offered was a thorough portrayal of how, from the perspective of veteran intelligence analysts and certain policymakers, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," in the words of the infamous Downing Street Memo. (Which also made an appearance at the hearing.)



Senate Cmte. Hearing on Iraq Pre-War Intelligence (6/26/06)

Democrats hold hearing on pre-war intelligence
San Jose Mercury News, USA - 7 hours ago
... Feinstein was one of three senators who presided over a hearing by the Democratic Policy Committee on the use and misuse of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. ...
Former Admin. Official Needs Only Three Words To Explain ... Think Progress
Why Was Intelligence Manipulated? Three Words: The Vice President ...
all 10 related

June 26, 2006
Must-See TV
Posted by Michael Signer

For one of the hardest, coldest nuggets of wisdom about the Iraq War, everyone should check out this C-SPAN video clip from today's hearing on pre-war intelligence:

It's footage showing Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) -- a Republican who requested to attend today's Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing -- asking Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret'd) (another Republican) how neoconservatives in the Administration became so powerful, and why no one challenged their approach toward Iraq.

I won't ruin the ending, because it's that blunt. But it's a startling, almost moving, example of a non-party-line Republican struggling to grasp how we arrived where we stand. And it serves as an illuminating window into the rareness of transparency in our politics. Jones reaches out in sad, pliable sincerity -- while Wilkerson's sparse, abject answer falls like a hammer.

The transcript follows:


JONES: My question is this to all four of you who would like to answer, maybe it’s a very simple question. I apologize if it’s been asked before. But what perplexes me is how in the world could professionals – I’m not criticizing anybody here at this table – but how could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out? I’m not saying you did not do your duty, please understand. My point is as a congressman who trusted what I was being told – I’m was not on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Dorgan, but I am on the Armed Services Committee – and I was being told this information. And I wish I’d the wisdom then that I might have now. I would have known what to ask. But I think many of my colleagues – they did not have the experience on the Intelligence Committee – we just pretty much accept it. So where along the way – how did these people so early on get so much power that they had more influence in those in the administration to make decisions than you the professionals.

WILKERSON: Let me try to answer you first. Let me say right off the bat I’m glad to see you here.

JONES: Thank you sir.

WILKERSON: As a Republican, I’m somewhat embarrassed by the fact that you’re the only member of my party here.

JONES: Agreed.

WILKERSON: But I understand it. I’d answer you with two words. Let me put the article in there and make it three.

The Vice President.

June 26, 2006 at 07:37 PM in Iraq | Permalink

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This is an answer that could not conceivably have been given to such a question in any previous administration.

It's also not an answer that could have come out of an administration with a strong Secretary of State. I don't think that's the main story here, but it is part of it. Colin Powell isn't the first Secretary of State to let foreign policymaking be taken out of his hands -- Dean Rusk, whom Powell resembles in other ways, comes to mind -- but he started letting himself be marginalized within days of taking office, and never recovered.

There's nothing worse in Washington than being right and losing, except letting yourself become a victim. You either win, or you leave. Powell and his associates may have understood that, but found it easier not to act on their understanding and consequently don't get much sympathy from me.

Posted by: Zathras | June 27, 2006 at 11:00 AM
Democrats hold hearing on pre-war intelligence
By Frank Davies
Mercury News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Colin Powell's famous speech to the United Nations on the threat from Iraq one month before the U.S. invasion was ``the perpetuation of a hoax'' and ``the lowest point in my professional life,'' his longtime chief of staff told a group of Democratic senators Monday.

Lawrence Wilkerson, a former U.S. Army colonel who retired last year, said he learned after the secretary of state's February 2003 speech that key elements were wrong, based on faulty or manipulated intelligence.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who has served six years on the Intelligence Committee, said Powell's speech was ``a singular event, because no one was more respected.''

``Putting that man before the world with information that was not correct was a dastardly thing to do,'' she added.

Feinstein was one of three senators who presided over a hearing by the Democratic Policy Committee on the use and misuse of pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Democratic and Republican policy committees, set up by the Senate 60 years ago, occasionally hold forums that don't have the legislative weight of a congressional committee hearing, but can spotlight an issue not receiving attention elsewhere.

Senate Republicans belittled the hearing as partisan theater, while Democrats pointed out that with the GOP controlling Congress, no committee hearings have been held on pre-war intelligence.

Four former government officials, with a combined experience of more than 100 years, participated in the hearing. Two of them, Wilkerson and former Assistant Secretary of State Carl Ford, said they were Republicans.

Paul Pillar, a CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on Iraq, said he believes that that decision to invade Iraq was made by summer 2002, ``and instead of intelligence informing a policy decision, it was used to justify a decision already made.''

Feinstein has pushed for an investigation of the role played by Iraqi exiles, especially the Iraqi National Congress, and a special Pentagon intelligence office in pushing the country into war.

``There is still much that we don't know about how this happened,'' she said.

The hearing also touched on how top officials were blindsided by the Iraqi insurgency in 2003. Wayne White, the State Department's principal Iraq analyst, said the military did not listen to his warning that there was ``a vast and renewable pool'' of militant Iraqis willing to attack U.S. forces.

The four witnesses have made similar comments before, but never together in such a forum.
Contact Frank Davies at


One Percent Madness

By Robert Parry
June 27, 2006

Author Ron Suskind’s account of Dick Cheney’s “one percent doctrine” – the idea that if a terrorist threat is deemed even one percent likely the United States must act as if it’s a certainty – supplies a missing link in understanding the evolving madness of the Bush administration’s national security strategy.

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