06 December 2007

Utterly Discredited

(Nurse K, skip to the next post, which is more medical and a bit snarky in a good way)

Been working; haven't had a chance to completely digest the import of the NIE release which indicates that Iran ceased working on its nukyular weapons program in 2003.

However, it seems to me that this marks the final and complete step in the discrediting of the Bush administration.

For sure, it fatally undercuts their well-publicized drive for increased international sanctions on Iran, let alone military action. Which is a policy setback for Bush, but not much more.

However, the damage this does to Bush's believability is more severe and probably more lasting. Granted, not that he retained any sort of reputation for integrity after the last six years of incessant lies, but this is a rare moment, to be savored, in which his bald mendacity is exposed on the international stage, beyond any sort of plausible deniability or spin.

Of course, he has fallen back on the standard conservative-caught-in-a-lie classic excuse "I have no clue what the fuck is going on," most recently covered by Al Gonzales, to the effect that he vaguely remembered someone wandered through his office in August, possibly his Director of National Intelligence, possibly someone on a tour, and maybe mentioned something new about the Most Dangerous Nation on the Planet. But he didn't get specific and Bush didn't ask. Meanwhile, senior staffers in the White House must have been aware of the conclusions of thie NIE for the better part of a year, but never bothered to tell their boss, Bush never followed up with the DNI, and Bush continued to warn of "World War III" with Iran, while down the memory hole the NIE went.

Well, until the DNI decided, on his own initiative, to declassify the NIE "since the new estimate was at odds with the 2005 assessment — and thus at odds with public statements by top officials about Iran — 'we felt it was important to release this information to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.'” Or, in other words, "since we saw that Bush was continuing to ignore countervailing intelligence reports just like he did in 2003 with Iraq and we wanted to call bullshit on him." Maybe the intel community didn't want to be the fall guy (again) when we invaded Iran and found no WMD nukes.

So once again we are forced to decide which is more credible: that senior leaders in the Republican administration, in this case including the President, are either shameless liars or criminally incompetent. Both are equally plausible, but given the history of cherry-picking intel to create a pretext for an ideologically-driven war of choice, I'd have to say that in this case it was deliberate effort to deceive.

It really is satisfying to see him get caught red-handed in one of his lies, and in such a way that it shreds the remnants of his credibility in front of the entire world. This duck just got a little lamer.


  1. So... the NIE is infallible? The same NIE that told us about Saddam Hussein? Intelligence estimates are like science -- they are always "best effort".


  2. (Nurse K, skip to the next post, which is more medical and a bit snarky in a good way)

    Thanks for the warning---all I read was the first and last sentences of this, and based on that, I am glad I avoided the rest. If I want to hear ultra-liberals whine about George Bush, I'll go back to college or read the nursing union newsletters.

  3. Of course you could also read the Washington Post and see:
    "First, the headline finding -- that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 -- is written in a way that guarantees the totality of the conclusions will be misread. In fact, there is little substantive difference between the conclusions of the 2005 NIE on Iran's nuclear capabilities and the 2007 NIE. Moreover, the distinction between "military" and "civilian" programs is highly artificial, since the enrichment of uranium, which all agree Iran is continuing, is critical to civilian and military uses. Indeed, it has always been Iran's "civilian" program that posed the main risk of a nuclear "breakout."

    It's John Bolton, to be sure.

  4. I understand that the NIE is not infallible, but if the 16 intelligence agencies think Iran stopped pursuing nuclear weapons in 2003, then what is Bush basing his suspicions on?

    It is a pretty big deal that Bush is lying about intelligence reports again, right?

  5. And the 12/6 NYT has a nice article which begins "PARIS, Dec. 6 — The leaders of France and Germany said Thursday that Iran remained a danger and that other nations needed to keep up the pressure over its nuclear program despite a United States intelligence report’s conclusion that Tehran was no longer building a bomb."

    Just sayin'.


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