It’s late, so I thought I’d take aim at this barrel of fish.
Someone asked a question at the ACA meeting about how, given the Iraq intel debacle, the US can build a credible case regarding Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. As part of his answer, Assistant SecState Stephen Rademaker stated that:
MR. RADEMAKER: … I guess itâ€™s the received wisdom now that the Bush administration was all wrong in its assessment of Iraq. I think itâ€™s important to just recall that â€“ I mean, errors may have been made but they were not simply made by the Bush administration. The judgments of the Bush administration with respect to weapons of mass destruction programs in Iraq were the same judgments that the Clinton administration reached prior to the Bush administration. They were the same judgments that the Congress and its intelligence committees reached based on their review of the evidence. Itâ€™s the same conclusion that the intelligence agencies of virtually every other government that was paying attention reached. And today, now that weâ€™ve been to Iraq and seen the situation on the ground, the question arises, how could all of these intelligence agencies have been so wrong?
Perhaps thatâ€™s what was going on, but I do think itâ€™s quite unfair to single out the Bush administration and say those guys were all wrong; theyâ€™re a bunch of liars. I mean, the historical record here is quite clear that the Bush administration was hardly alone in the judgments it reached.
I’m sorry if it strikes Rademaker as unfair, but those guys were all wrong; they _are_ a “bunch of liars.”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/index.php?id=401
Not that this is news to anyone, but it doesn’t hurt to remind people that the UN inspections were a nifty way of finding out how good our intel was, but “those guys” refused to listen. In that respect, the Bush administration was nearly “alone.”
While we’re on the subject, Cheney lied about this same issue during a 6 February appearance on Fox News:
Chris Wallace: You said, in the run-up to the war, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. You said we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons, and then clarified that to be “nuclear weapons capability.” You said U.S. forces will be greeted as liberators.
I’m less interested, because I think it’s somewhat plowed ground, what you said and what you knew and all of that. I’m more interested in what you took away from the experience. Has it changed the way that you rely on intelligence? Are you more skeptical, perhaps, than you were before, having seen that it isn’t always right? And has it changed your attitude, your approach toward making pronouncements to the American people?
CHENEY: Well, what I said there, Chris, was, in fact, based on the status of the intelligence at the time. That’s what we had been told. It’s what the National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had shown and so forth.
Cheney made the reconstitution claim just a few days before we invaded Iraq. By that time, all of the relevant intel about the nuclear weapons program had been “shown to be inaccurate.”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_09/Nuclearclaims.asp