December 6, 2007

"Rarely has a document from the supposedly hidden world of intelligence had such an impact as the National Intelligence Estimate released this week."

"Rarely has an administration been so unprepared for such an event. And rarely have vehement critics of the 'intelligence community' on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly."

Writes former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton.

94 comments:

christopher said...

Shorter Bolton:

Whenever we're wrong (and we never are) we're actually right.

Verso said...

Christopher,
You're right. No matter what the news, it redounds to the benefit of Bush.

It's funny how simultaneously the NIE proves what a manly visionary Bush is, AND that the 16 American intelligence agencies are part of a plot to sell out America to the terrorists.

Within a month, we will be back to where we were last week: Iran is an existential threat to the very survival of America. This is a medium-sized speedbump that will have no lasting impact.

B said...

christopher,

please let us all know your opinion of the NIE and it's accuracy level.

Interesting that the New York Times, which leaned backwards over itself in apologizing for not being more skeptical regarding the case for WMD, has chosen a bit of a more middle of the road approach to this latest NIE.
In their editorial, the Times backs off from believeing that everything is as rosy as the NIE purports. Gee, do you think they've learned something?

Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Anyone who believes the NIE is probably waiting breathlessly for their money to arrive from Nigeria. Most interesting to me is that the Israelis and IAEA have both distanced themselves from the report. Show of hands: who believes the NIE is a non-political document?

John Stodder said...

The point of releasing the NIE report was to embarrass Bush, period. But he's too dumb to be embarrassed. Hence, the ploy failed.

What undermines the NIE report most is the fact that it is an NIE report. There is almost a left-right consensus that the intelligence community is way out of its depth in today's world. From reading about the CIA's history, though, you begin to realize that it's never been much good except by accident.

The only time the left or the right embrace the intelligence community is when it is in their political interest to do so. So I tend not to react to these stories much. It's well on its way to becoming fishwrap or whatever the digital equivalent would be.

As the NY Times reported, the UN is much less optimistic about Iran's aims. The UN used to be the good guys, per the left. Damn neocons strike again!

Henry said...

Here's a summary of said impact in free verse:

Thirteen Ways of Looking From a Blackbird

Do not believe the intelligence; it has been wrong before.

Do not believe those who don’t believe the intelligence; they believed the intelligence last time.

....

11 stanzas to go. Christopher, help me out.

Verso said...

Roger,
Are you suggesting that the document is essentially false, and part of a plot by the US intelligence community to undermine the Bush Administration?

Or what? Can you be more explicit about what, exactly, you think the NIE represents?

Are you contending that Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program? Or the even more extreme claim made by the likes of Rep. John Boehner, that Iran is actively building nuclear weapons?

Freder Frederson said...

And rarely have vehement critics of the 'intelligence community' on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly.

I wonder if Bolton ever heard the expression "the pot calling the kettle black"

Robert Cook said...

What's that you say about the IAEA "distancing" itself from the report?

"Statement by IAEA Director General on New U.S. Intelligence Estimate on Iran
4 December 2007 |

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei received with great interest the new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate about Iran´s nuclear program which concludes that there has been no on-going nuclear weapons program in Iran since the fall of 2003. He notes in particular that the Estimate tallies with the Agency´s consistent statements over the last few years that,although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities, the Agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.
(Empasis added.)

The Director General believes that this new assessment by the U.S. should help to defuse the current crisis. At the same time, it should prompt Iran to work actively with the IAEA to clarify specific aspects of its past and present nuclear program as outlined in the work plan and through the implementation of the additional protocol. This would allow the Agency to provide the required assurances regarding the nature of the program.

While calling on Iran to accelerate its cooperation with the Agency, in view of the new U.S. Estimate, the Director General urges all parties concerned to enter without delay into negotiations. Such negotiations are needed to build confidence about the future direction of Iran´s nuclear program - concern about which has been repeatedly expressed by the Security Council. They are also needed to bring about a comprehensive and durable solution that would normalise the relationship between Iran and the international community."


And since when does Israel have any credibility?

Robert Cook said...

"The point of releasing the NIE report was to embarrass Bush, period. But he's too dumb to be embarrassed. Hence, the ploy failed."

If there was a specific result intended by the release of the NIE, I'd think it was more likely to try to put the brakes on the capacity of these criminals (i.e., Li'l Butch, Cheney, et al) to continue their relentless attempts to convince us they have cause and need to go to war against Iran. In that respect, the ploy may have failed, given the resulting shamelessly dishonest rhetoric to the effect that this report somehow justifies or ratifies this administration's Iran policy.

On the other hand, maybe the report is intended to allow Li'l Butch to back away from a military confrontation with Iran with a minimum of embarrassment. Perhaps a breath of sanity was faintly exhaled within the administration and someone has faced what a catastrophe it would be for us to attack Iran.

Trumpit said...

I would handle the matter slightly differently and less diplomatically. I would tell the Mullahs that they have one week to stop enrichment of uranium and they must open up all there nuclear facilities to inspectors to verify that fact. Or else they will all be killed. You'll wish you had listened to me after those wacky Ayatollahs get their grubby hands on a bunch of those nasty thermonuclear warheads. Saddam Hussein would still be in power and ruling over Kuwait had he gotten his wish and built a few nukes. Israel prevented that when they took out his nuclear power plant. Hitler would have won World War II had his scientists built the A-bomb first.

Roger said...

Verso: I am not suggesting the document is "false" as defined by the 16 agencies sitting down together and saying how can we agree on this lie. What I am suggesting is: (1) the very consensus process by which the document is created does little to provide solid information that any policy maker can use; (2) that what goes into the NIE is often tempered by local intelligence agency turf battles and internal political arguments (eg, the battles between the techies--the comint folks versus the humint advocates, and (3) and that given the failures of previous NIEs (re Iraq WMD) publishing a new version can clear their names and give them some credibility with respect to their congressional funding sources. Now: does that mean the content is some sort of mutually agreed upon fable? No. It is a consensus document and suggests that the bureaucratic forces and prisms thru which information is viewed and tagged as important suggest that the document is not purely "objective." I am sorry if my response seems wishy washy, but were I policy maker, I would find the recommendations in the NIE totally useless. And I would suggest were you to have complete access to it, you would find it equally useless. It is NOT a document you can take to the bank.

Bear in mind, it is the SOURCES of information that make the document so classified; the recommendations are so general and so caveated as to (IMO) make it useless as a guide to policy. The fact that both defenders and critics of the administration can sieze on it and quote it ad nauseum to make their case suggest how wishy washy the the NIE is.

As to what Iran is doing, quite frankly I havent the remotest idea. I see the Iranians as smart, technologically sophisticated, riven by internal contradictions, who probably see considerable opportunity to advance their interests in the region, but also aware, given the presence of US forces and rhetoric, and Israeli strikes on syrian facilities, that there won't be a free ride. I think they are rational actors who arent going to risk nationial destruction by getting to far out there. Usually in the situation, the best course of action is to wait and see what the next US election brings! I also need to tell you that no one in the administration has asked for my opinion! :)

I appreciate your question, and thanks for the opportunity to allow me to respond.

JohnAnnArbor said...

When Bolton had the rotating presidency of the Security Council, he did something unforgivable in the eyes of UN bureaucrats and "diplomats": he expected meetings to start on time.

He'll never be forgiven for that!

ricpic said...

Doesn't the NIE say that: it's plausable that Iran is nearing its goal of producing a nuclear bomb but highly unlikely that Iran is there yet?

In other words, Iran both is and isn't on the verge of joining the nuclear club.

And isn't that the ultimate in bureaucratic CYAism?

George said...

Of course, it's not just Americans arguing about Iran's intentions. Here's a Sept. '07 clip from MemriTV showing Lebanese and Iranian experts debating.

They go at it hammer and tong.

An excerpt...

Dr. Walid Fares: In my opinion, it is the Iranian regime that wages wars. It is this regime that started these wars, threatens its neighbors, supplies weapons and equipment to the terrorists, and declares that it will wipe out entire emirates and countries. The Iranian regime transfers weapons to the Taliban even though it hates them, because it wants to fan the flames of war against the democratically-elected government in Kabul. The Iranian regime still occupies the Arab Tunb islands, and it has recently threatened to annex Bahrain. The Iranian regime sends weapons to Hizbullah in order to topple the Lebanese government. The Iranian government arms Hamas not only against Israel, but against the Palestinians too, and the massacres perpetrated in Gaza were encouraged by the Iranian regime. It maintains a strategic alliance with the Syrian regime, which is accused of assassinating the former prime minister of Lebanon, as well as MPs. Considering this campaign by the Iranian regime, as well as its interference in Iraqi affairs, by arming terror cells within Iraq – how can you possibly claim that the world is threatening Iran? It is Iran that is threatening the region and the entire world. Its activity has even reached Argentina. Today, in the U.N., the Argentinian president attributed the bombings of the early 1990's to cells linked to Iranian agencies.
[...]
Yesterday, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said in New York that he would like the Iraqi people to have a referendum. Great, but why doesn’t he arrange a referendum for the Iranian people? Why does he want referendums all over the world, except in Iran? We address this question to the Iranian leadership. Why doesn't it hold a referendum on all its policies, including nuclear energy? If it wants a nuclear bomb, it should tell us who the enemy is and on whom it wants to drop it, and it should hold a referendum of the Iranian people on this.
[...]
Muhammad Sadeq Al-Husseini: First of all, democracy in Iran is more honorable than the old democracies in London and Paris and than the rule achieved fraudulently by George Bush, who was not really elected president. We have 27 elections every day and there is a change of government from the extreme right to the extreme left – the right, the left, the religious stream, the liberal-religious stream, with a little bit of sugar, with a lot of sugar, clerics, and civilians...

FInally, here's a bit from an oped in yesterday's WSJ re: Arab views on Iran..

On our recent trip to the Persian Gulf, we found no unanimity about how to respond to this threat, but many officials and private citizens alike called for a pre-emptive military strike. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reportedly came away from his March summit in Riyadh with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad convinced that the Iranian president is dangerous and unstable. We also learned that many in the governments of Saudi Arabia and UAE privately favor military action to stop Iran's nuclear program. We were assured by numerous interlocutors in both countries that the consequences of such raids, which would probably include Iranian-backed terrorism, would be "manageable."

I don't know about the "manageable" part, but I don't think yesterday's report changes anything anyone believes about anything.

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
christopher said...

Trumpit said...

Hitler would have won World War II had his scientists built the A-bomb first.


Iran = Mighty Nazi War machine capable of conquering the world. Got it.

P. Rich said...

Anyone interested in John Bolton's well-informed opinion on the current (and some previous) NIE(s) should check out a post on Powerlineblog.com. The remarks are from a column written by Bolton for the Washington Post.

John Stodder said...

If there was a specific result intended by the release of the NIE, I'd think it was more likely to try to put the brakes on the capacity of these criminals (i.e., Li'l Butch, Cheney, et al) to continue their relentless attempts to convince us they have cause and need to go to war against Iran.

Also too dumb to embarrass? People who believed Bush was readying an attack on Iran. The "relentless" rhetoric was aimed at Iran, not the US public. I never thought for a second the US would attack Iran before 2009, if ever.

But you can't get anywhere with leaders like Iran's if you forswear any military option no matter what, as the left wants us to do.

Verso said...

Roger said:
I am sorry if my response seems wishy washy, but were I policy maker, I would find the recommendations in the NIE totally useless.

Not wishy washy at all. Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful response.

LarsPorsena said...

I've got to wonder if the Israeli strike on a remote area in Syria several weeks ago which obliterated
a suspicious building has added anything to this mix.

The were rumors floating about Iranian and NK casualties on the ground. The only thing sure is the
building is gone and the site bulldozed by the Syrians.

Ya' just gotta' wonder.

Original Mike said...

Arguing about Iran's intent or the credibility of the NIE report misses the point. What do we know?

We know NIE reports are far from infalible.

We know Iran is developing nuclear power and Uranium enrichment facilities.

We know that with those facilities a bomb can be constructed pretty quickly.

And, we know Iran is developing ballistic missles.

So, the responsible thing to do is consider Iran to be a nuclear threat. There is a way for us to be assured that they are not; inspection cooperation by the Iranians which, unless I'm mistaken, has not been forthcoming.

LarsPorsena said...

"Arguing about Iran's intent or the credibility of the NIE report misses the point. What do we know?"

What we know is that most of the people responding here think first about how this affects GWB and domestic politics and only
secondarily about the security interests of the US.

SteveR said...

Considering this

Fingar


its easy to question why and how Dr. Thomas Fingar changed his opinion so quickly. Unless of course, you really like his most recent opinion, than feel free to ignore the change.

And please also ignore that the NIE is based on opinions not facts.

Roger said...

Steve R: good point about opinion. I am not sure what the general understanding of "intelligence" is. In the military context, there is information and there is intelligence. We define "intelligence" as "processed information." And as Steve alludes to, the process of evaluating information and providing it a cachet by that evaluation is what creates "intelligence." The process of evaluation includes the information itself, and some evaluation as to the source. It is at least bi-dimensional. So yes: the OPINIONS of the (1) analyst; and (2) approving chain of bureaucrats up through and including the NIE authors is what creates "intelligence." And as I think can be seen: intelligence is a long way from whatever the information was and the source from which it was obtained.

Original Mike said...

What we know is that most of the people responding here think first about how this affects GWB and domestic politics and only
secondarily about the security interests of the US.


Couldn't care less about what it means for GWB. I do care about the candidate's response to this issue vis-a-vis the security interests of the US.

LarsPorsena said...

Roger:
Re your response to Steve..
Amen, amen and amen again.

JohnAnnArbor said...

And as I think can be seen: intelligence is a long way from whatever the information was and the source from which it was obtained.

And biases can creep in, even unintentionally. I have heard that initial reports of good Japanese pilots in WWII were seen as evidence of German mercenary pilots. After all, "everyone knew" most Japanese were nearsighted (based on glasses stereotype common at time).

Of course, it's worse when you have analysts with axes to grind. Analysts who can't keep their politics out of their work should be canned, but there's little evidence the CIA sees it that way.

JohnAnnArbor said...

tc, take your Westchester monorail and shove it completely into your bodily orifice; your choice which one.

reader_iam said...

Westchester County Board of Legislators

Anyone here think these people can possibly be paid enough?

dax said...

What I find disturbing and worry some, is that intelligence has turned into politics.
Now, I'm not naive to know that it's happened before, but this time it's way over the top.
How can an intelligence NIE analyst do a complete 360 turnaround in 6 months? How can an NIE analyst say that 3 years ago Iran gave up it's nuclear program and then testify 6 months ago that Iran posed a huge nuclear threat?
If you want to be partisan, so be it, but not with national security...........on a nuclear level.

Robert Cook said...

"Anyone interested in John Bolton's well-informed opinion on the current (and some previous) NIE(s) should check out a post on Powerlineblog.com. The remarks are from a column written by Bolton for the Washington Post."

John Bolton has about the same credibility as George Bush or Dick Cheney or Karl Rove: absolutely zero. If anything, he's so deranged he almost--almost--makes the others seem credible by comparison.

dax said...

"John Bolton has about the same credibility as George Bush or Dick Cheney or Karl Rove: absolutely zero. If anything, he's so deranged he almost--almost--makes the others seem credible by comparison."

Yep, you're right! He's no Carter, Gore or Trippi.
God, I love it when Libs totally flame-out.

GOD SAVE THE AL.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann should have entitled this post ....

"A Frightening Mix Of Intelligence Reports" or maybe "How Buses and Women are Like Intelligence Reports".

Daryl said...

Iran = Mighty Nazi War machine capable of conquering the world. Got it.

christopher = it doesn't matter if Iran gets nuclear weapons, because they currently lack the capacity for complete and total world domination. Gotcha.

Roger said...

Robert Cook: any input other than a silly and non-substantative ad hom attack? The issue is the NIE and its credibility; not Bolton's.

AJ Lynch said...

Reader Iam:

Did you notice TC had the word "scheme" in the first sentence of his proposal?

Not a good way to start off heh.

JackDRipper said...

John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy.

Do I have to make it any clearer?

Simon said...

Trumpit said...
"Hitler would have won World War II had his scientists built the A-bomb first."

In one of history's finest pieces of irony, IIRC, the prime impediment to their ability to do so was that most of the scientists who could have helped were Jewish and had thus left before the war or been killed during it.

Roger said...

JackdRipper--what does that have to do with the NIE? try to stay on topic rather than recycle 2 year old memes.

JohnAnnArbor said...

In one of history's finest pieces of irony, IIRC, the prime impediment to their ability to do so was that most of the scientists who could have helped were Jewish and had thus left before the war or been killed during it.

The Nazis actually branded certain branches of physics "Jewish physics" and therefor unworthy of consideration.

Freder Frederson said...

In one of history's finest pieces of irony, IIRC, the prime impediment to their ability to do so was that most of the scientists who could have helped were Jewish and had thus left before the war or been killed during it.

You're beginning to sound like Cedarford, Simon. German had plenty of Nuclear physicists (including inarguably the greatest physicist on the face of the earth--Heisenberg) who could have produced a nuclear weapon given the resources the Americans. Of course, nobody but the Americans had the resources and producing a bomb by anyone other than the U.S. would have been a physical and technical impossibility. Simply building the separation facilities would have been impossible--even the Americans didn't have enough copper and had to use silver from Fort Knox. Of course uranium enrichment facilities are massive facilities and would have been bombed before they could be built (the Germans couldn't build an Oak Ridge 4,000 miles behind the front lines). The Germans never achieved a controlled fission reaction so forget about a plutonium bomb (and again the problems of having a production reactor bombed).

As it turned out, Heisenberg got the basic math wrong. Later they would all claim their mistakes were deliberate, but no one really believes them.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger wrote:

The issue is the NIE and its credibility; not Bolton's.

No, I disagree. The entire content of Althouse's post is a quote from John Bolton's commentary in the Washington Post. It's perfectly reasonable to discuss Bolton's presentation and his credibility.

jeff said...

"John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy.

Do I have to make it any clearer?"

What a interesting question. Yes, you do. For some of us "because jackdripper says so" just isnt enough. Crazy, huh.

"And since when does Israel have any credibility?"

Pretty much always. Why do you think otherwise?

jeff said...

"You're beginning to sound like Cedarford, Simon."

Oh for Christ sake. Simon is right. Germany drove out some of its finest minds because of their religion. How in the hell do you get racism from Simon stating a fact. Do you read the posts BEFORE deciding if you agree with them?

jeff said...

"It's perfectly reasonable to discuss Bolton's presentation and his credibility."

So discuss it.

"John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy" does not equal discussion.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook: any input other than a silly and non-substantative ad hom attack? The issue is the NIE and its credibility; not Bolton's."

I don't see that anyone here is likely to have the expertise to meaningfully appraise the credibility of the NIE, and unless we see substantive, well-reasoned and sourced refutations of it in the coming days and weeks, we should consider that it is probably reasonably accurate. After all, even the administration has not dismissed it, but only put forth the ludicrous notion that it somehow supports their policies.

We know, however, from past experience, that claims and assertions made by Bush, Cheney and Bolton have all been wrong, wrong, wrong, (or, more to my point of view: false, false, false), so unless we see substantive, well-reasoned and sourced confirmations of their fantastic claims now, we have to assume they're probably, as in the past, wrong.

In other words, through their own reckless (or willful) disregard of the facts, they have destroyed their own credibility. It is hardly ad hominem to point out this reality.

jeff said...

"In other words, through their own reckless (or willful) disregard of the facts, they have destroyed their own credibility. It is hardly ad hominem to point out this reality."

As long as everyone agrees with your first statement. However, calling it reality does not make it so. Just to be clear, how about throwing out some of this reckless disregard of the facts you are talking about so we are all on the same page?

dbp said...

"We know, however, from past experience, that claims and assertions made by Bush, Cheney and Bolton have all been wrong, wrong, wrong, (or, more to my point of view: false, false, false)"

I would guess that you mean by wrong, mistake and by false, lies?

In either case if the admin were wrong, for instance on WMD, were they not wrong for believing the intellegence reports they got?

If so, they are bad for believing intellegence then and are bad for NOT believing it now?

garage mahal said...

In either case if the admin were wrong, for instance on WMD, were they not wrong for believing the intellegence reports they got?

That's why we've never until recently gone to war over an intelligence report. Furthermore, no intelligence reports I've heard of ever recommended going to war.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

I agree with Robert Cook. Team Bush, including John Bolton, has an enormous credibility problem.

This is one of the more interesting of Bolton's claims from his WaPo commentary:

And rarely have vehement critics of the "intelligence community" on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly.

Considering the opinion Bolton expresses of the "intelligence community" in his commentary, he would have been more accurate had he written this:

And rarely have vehement supporters of the "intelligence community" on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly.

And just when you thought Bolton's credibility couldn't get any lower...

jeff said...

"substantive, well-reasoned and sourced refutations of it in the coming days and weeks, we should consider that it is probably reasonably accurate."


Is this indeed substantive, well-reasoned and sourced? We can argue back and forth on the first two, but sourced? Doesn't this boil down to best guess? Why are you holding refuting it to a higher standard?

jeff said...

"That's why we've never until recently gone to war over an intelligence report. Furthermore, no intelligence reports I've heard of ever recommended going to war."

And you feel we went to war over an intelligence report? You don't think there might have been any number of other reasons is conjunction with intelligence reports?

Robert Cook said...

"...if the admin were wrong, for instance on WMD, were they not wrong for believing the intellegence reports they got?

If so, they are bad for believing intellegence then and are bad for NOT believing it now?"


They didn't just "believe" bad intel; they actively cherry-picked and massaged raw intel to produce the results they wanted, and they ignored intel that contradicted their desired results. Moreover, they only reluctantly agreed to allow a new inspection regime in Iraq, yet after three months they terminated the inspections and told Blix and his teams to leave Iraq for their own safety: bombing was about to commence. In the meantime, the inspections had produced no evidence of any extant WMD or ongoing programs. This is not to say the inspections wouldn't have found such weapons or programs had they been allowed to continue,(as far as they knew at the time, presumably), but by terminating the inspections they erased any possibility of discovering whether there was truly a basis to attack Iraq. In my view, they knew--or feared--the inspections would impeach their own assertions of WMD and would remove any basis for them to launch their desired invasion, so they terminated the inspections in order that the question would be left...indeterminate.

A prudent administration that truly wished to avoid war unless absolutely necessary would have found the lack of any evidence for WMD encouraging, and would have urged on the inspection teams to continue their mission.

And, they have so far not said they disbelieve the intel now, only that it somehow fantastically affirms their belligerent stance toward Iran.

Look, Bush, Cheney, et al are war criminals and rather than our listening to them continue feeding us lies and nonsense in staged press conferences or on tv with credulous idiot news readers, we should be drawing up indictments against them for mass murder.

jeff said...

"And rarely have vehement critics of the "intelligence community" on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly."

So why exactly is that not a factual statement?

"And just when you thought Bolton's credibility couldn't get any lower..."

And do you have a actual reason for that statement? It seems every single argument you have against Conservatives comes down to, "I disagree with them" Therefor logically they must be liars and wrong. No matter the subject. There seems to be no topic in which your opponent is making a case from a legitimate belief. You argue from the perspective of whatever statement you make has been acknowledged as correct, so there is no reason or need for you to back it up.

jeff said...

"In my view, they knew--or feared--the inspections would impeach their own assertions of WMD and would remove any basis for them to launch their desired invasion, so they terminated the inspections in order that the question would be left...indeterminate."

And in your view they attacked knowing that they wouldnt find anything. Or do you believe they were going to plant something and just forgot.

"Look, Bush, Cheney, et al are war criminals and rather than our listening to them continue feeding us lies and nonsense in staged press conferences or on tv with credulous idiot news readers, we should be drawing up indictments against them for mass murder."

Absolute bullshit. Unbelievable. You seem to be one of those static world thinkers. Why don't we just draw up indictments against a number of former US Presidents? We can pass a law against "wars that Robert doesn't approve of". Will we be indicting both Clinton's, Gore, most of the house and Senate for conspiracy? I suspect we can find their quotes about the urgency of regime change in Iraq. They clearly must have been cherry picking intellegence also.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Jeff wrote:

So why exactly is that not a factual statement?

It's opinion, not fact. Bolton makes no claim to have surveyed previous "critics" of the "intelligence community." Therefore his statement is nothing more than opinion.

And do you have a actual reason for that statement?

Indeed; it's clear from the context of what I wrote. Bolton tries to discredit those who previously criticized the "intelligence community" because of what he characterizes as a reversal in position. However, he refuses to acknowledge that those (like himself) who previously defended the "intelligence community" have now reversed position. In other words, he's a hypocrite and is attempting to mislead on this point (and others).

As I wrote before, just when you thought Bolton's credibility couldn't get any lower...

dbp said...

"A prudent administration that truly wished to avoid war unless absolutely necessary would have found the lack of any evidence for WMD encouraging, and would have urged on the inspection teams to continue their mission."

This paragraph alone shows where your confusion lies. The lack of WMD combined with the lack of cooperation by Iraqi officials told us exactly nothing. Prudence would dictate suspicion when lack of cooperation is met.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Jeff wrote:

Why don't we just draw up indictments against a number of former US Presidents? We can pass a law against "wars that Robert doesn't approve of". Will we be indicting both Clinton's, Gore...

Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are former US Presidents? Who knew?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

The lack of WMD combined with the lack of cooperation by Iraqi officials told us exactly nothing. Prudence would dictate suspicion when lack of cooperation is met.

Hahahahahaha! Prudence dictated suspending inspections and invading Iraq? Ooooh, that may set a new record on the Althouse Laugh-O-Meter!

dbp said...

"The lack of WMD combined with the lack of cooperation by Iraqi officials told us exactly nothing. Prudence would dictate suspicion when lack of cooperation is met.

Hahahahahaha! Prudence dictated suspending inspections and invading Iraq? Ooooh, that may set a new record on the Althouse Laugh-O-Meter!"

And where exactly do I say that inspections should have been suspended and an invasion commence?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

dbp wrote:

And where exactly do I say that inspections should have been suspended and an invasion commence?

You wrote your "gem" in response to someone who suggested that the administration should have supported continuation of inspections. Are you reconsidering your silliness?

dbp said...

no.

dbp said...

And furthermore, why would anybody who hopes for credibility defend someone who writes:

"Look, Bush, Cheney, et al are war criminals and rather than our listening to them continue feeding us lies and nonsense in staged press conferences or on tv with credulous idiot news readers, we should be drawing up indictments against them for mass murder."

And I thought I was being fairly nice for just commenting on the sane part of his post...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

dbp wrote:

And furthermore, why would anybody who hopes for credibility defend someone ...

I'm not responsible for the remarks of other commenters. Furthermore, I haven't defended the remark you highlighted. In other words, I don't understand the basis of your complaint.

Kirk Parker said...

Robert Cook,

"Look, Bush, Cheney, et al are war criminals"

You almost make me look forward to the coming civil war...

JackDRipper said...

Roger said...
JackdRipper--what does that have to do with the NIE? try to stay on topic rather than recycle 2 year old memes.


It has to do with Bolton's essay in the Post at the top of the thread, Sherlock.

And no "John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy" meme is not 2 years old, more like 2 hours old when I came up with it.

"John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy"...repeat the meme..."John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy"...

Creepy looking older White guy (Bolton/Nifong) who sees himself as a moral champion/defender of an angelic minority (innocent black female victim of rape, racism and hate/ innocent Jews of Israel victims of anti-semitism, terrorism and hate) wages a crusade against vilified, politically correct hate objects(young, rich, spoiled, BMW driving White racist, sexist frat boys/turban wearing mullahs, "islamofascists", anti-semites in Europe and the UN, Muslim terrorism, backward middle eastern desert savages) yet who doesn't give a flying fuck about reality, critical rationalism, research methodology, evidence or logic.

"John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy"...repeat the meme..."John Bolton = Mike Nifong of US diplomacy"...

Surenna P. said...
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vaishali_shenoy said...
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dbp said...

Cy, if you can read

"Prudence dictated suspending inspections and invading Iraq?"

out of my statement:

"The lack of WMD combined with the lack of cooperation by Iraqi officials told us exactly nothing. Prudence would dictate suspicion when lack of cooperation is met."

Then it is hardly any greater leap to suspect that your defense of Robert Cook implied agreement with him.

section9 said...

JackDRipper ran to the keyboard and wrote the following:

Creepy looking older White guy (Bolton/Nifong) who sees himself as a moral champion/defender of an angelic minority (innocent black female victim of rape, racism and hate/ innocent Jews of Israel victims of anti-semitism, terrorism and hate) wages a crusade against vilified, politically correct hate objects(young, rich, spoiled, BMW driving White racist, sexist frat boys/turban wearing mullahs, "islamofascists", anti-semites in Europe and the UN, Muslim terrorism, backward middle eastern desert savages) yet who doesn't give a flying fuck about reality, critical rationalism, research methodology, evidence or logic

This is one of those times that one looks at a cry for help disguised as an argument and realizes that horsewhipping should have been brought back long ago.

This paragraph-grabastic bullshit of your rant disguised as a critique of the career of John Bolton, is designed to justify an ad hominem attack on him. Yet all it does is magnify the point made against your. It's a screed, is all, and you sir, are but Bozo with a sandwich board.

It was beyond pathetic.

As to Bolton himself, I found him needlessly in favor of a strike against the Iranians, when more sober people, such as Condi Rice, correctly understood that it would be much better if the Iranians attacked us first. I do not lionize him as other Conservatives do, believing him to have been wrong on both the North Korean and Iranian accounts. How and ever, I believe him to be a man of integrity and good character, and able to hold his own in an argument.

Bolton's critique of the NIE is defensible, and I find myself agreeing with much of it. In fact, I suspect the Iranians will weaponize and test within three years.

But what Bolton doesn't understand is that there is little that can be done to stop them at this point. I fear that the Democrats' pacifism and protestations of good behavior on the part of Iran will come back to haunt them in terrifying ways.

Even Rice gets this; you can see it in the way she's trying to round up participation in renewed sanctions. But the damage is done.

hdhouse said...

Let's look at this in simplist terms.

1. The combined intelligence agencies or the United States have issued a report to the President that is patently false in which case Iran really is building a bomb and these intelligence agencies are aiding the enemy in a direct way by purposefully reporting such that we drop our defenses - that would be treason I think or,

2. The President of the United States is a hand puppet for others feeding him the contrary story about Iran - that they don't have any weapons like this but someone wants him to believe that we do. this pushes us into a. a war footing or b. the old "the threat is at our doorstep" saw which doesn't play too well but may pick up some support from the pro-war crowd and cow the democrats into submission.

Then there is the third and mostlogical assessment:

The president is a hopeless pathological liar with no short term memory and no grasp of leadership. This would put him in the moron of the year classification and he is truly what we thought him to be, just a talking head with cheney and others moving his mouth.

hmmmmm door number 1, door number 2 or door number 3. there are no other choices.

JackDRipper said...

hdhouse said...
Let's look at this in simplest terms.


Your door numbers 1 and 2 seem similar enough to be one and the same.

Bush/Cheney/Bolton et al are pig headed sociopaths.

Sorry for the speciesist slur of the pig.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww1ap7sgrYs

JackDRipper said...

I meant your doors 2 and 3 were pretty much the same. I pick that one.

hdhouse said...

to simplify, the options are:

1. intelligence community is lying to aid the enemy.
2. the intelligence community is right and the administration is lying
3. bush is just a puppet and there are other issues driving this, and the rightness or wrongness of the intelligence isn't an issue as it doesn't matter and isn't a factor.

i think that is what i meant

Henry said...

I know this post leads with Bolton, but did anyone bother to read the New York Times Opinion piece by Valerie Lincy and Gary Milhollin that tears the NIE report apart from the position of non-proliferation?

I'm glad the New York Times is backtracking -- on its editorial page -- but it would have been better if they hadn't boldfaced this intelligence assesment as if it were Prometheus arrived with fire.

Wishful thinking always takes the bait of assertion cast as fact.

And yes, that goes both ways. If you think liberals are any different than the Bush Administration at assessing intelligence, you've already got a hook in your lip.

Robert Cook said...

"And in your view they attacked knowing that they wouldnt find anything. Or do you believe they were going to plant something and just forgot."

No, I'm sure they believed they would probably find something...even if only remnants of weapons left over from a decade before, or industrial activity that might indicate possible weapons programs...fanatics are victims of their own dogma and fantasies as much as are those who believe their fables...I'm sure they convinced themselves in spite of the thin intel supporting their belief that Hussein had WMD or a weapons program. Had they found even remanants, they would have been able to point to them and say,"Look, there's the WMD! We knew he was a threat!"

Blix reported that he and his inspection teams were sent running from site to site by the administration, as they were sure this was a weapons cache, or that was a weapons cache...and of course, there was nothing at any site they searched.

While I assume they believed there would be something found, enough to justify their pre-war claims and their invasion, their lies had to do with their degree of certainty...their repeated claims of "bullet-proof evidence" and so on. They didn't say "we believe he may have these weapons" or "our intelligence suggests questionable activity," but "we know he has these weapons" and "there is no doubt" he is building a bomb.

You know,"bullet proof" evidence suggests--and could only be the truth if they had--actual physical evidence, photographs of actual weapons stores, etc. They had nothing but hearsay and speculation.

I can't find the citation on the web, so I won't assert my memory is absolutely accurate, but I could swear I read at the time that Cheney was enraged at the inspection teams repeatedly reporting finding no weapons or evidence of illicit activities; that he raged about it, shouting, (at whom I don't recall...perhaps Blix?),"Why aren't you finding what we know is there?"

If my memory is accurate and this happened, it tells you right there that these people are delusional, irrational actors driven by ideology and not by empirical knowledge of the real world.

Robert Cook said...

"Why don't we just draw up indictments against a number of former US Presidents? We can pass a law against "wars that Robert doesn't approve of". Will we be indicting both Clinton's, Gore, most of the house and Senate for conspiracy?"

There's probably ample evidence to support such actions...American war crimes don't start and won't end with the current resident of the White House.

Cedarford said...

Verso - Are you contending that Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program? Or the even more extreme claim made by the likes of Rep. John Boehner, that Iran is actively building nuclear weapons?

Verso, any enrichment program capable of producing enrichment in excess of commercial power gen reactor fuel of 3%, that they have, that IAEA inspectors have been blocked from inspecting IS the same as building nuclear weapons.
The Iranians are going full bore on MRBMs and ICBMs. Given how much those missiles cost, and the light throw weight of 1,000 to 1500 pounds for the warhead, only one application makes military sense. Nuclear warheads obtainable in the future to put on such missiles.

****The fact that Iran knew it was caught red-handed by uncovery of the AQ Kahn Network, prompted by Libya being convinced by our US invasion it was in their interest to divulge fully..Iran had to shut down in order to maintain plausible deniability that it's enrichment activities were "peaceful"*****

=======================
Trumpit -Hitler would have won World War II had his scientists built the A-bomb first.

Too many people ignorant of the military uses of nukes describe mythical powers to them. The US only had 3 nukes - until early 1946. The one used in our test and the two on Japan were our total inventory. If the Germans had gotten 3 earlier, they would have had little effect on the 300 Divisions on the East and West Front moving on them - already shielded and dug in everytime they stopped to minimize mass artillery attacks - and disbursed because of artillery to only one Division or so per area a blast from an A Bomb could take out. Air assets, Naval were disbursed and Eastern cities were also in ruins - so if Germany had had A-bombs 1st, they could have taken out 3-6 Divisions and dealt with the other 294-297.

=============
Adding to what George said, Iran was caught pretty red-handed in Iraq killing US soldiers through surrogates, with Iranian training and arms. And dumb enough to have 3 key Iranian Qods force leaders caught by US troops that interrogated them and established their tactics, ratlines for Iranian weapons, and most importantly - their authorization coming from the Supreme Leader. Iran's backing off since the Surge was in recognition that the Democrat Congress's defeat of American forces wasn't going to happen - and knowledge we had the goods on them and Bush was considering war an option to save US lives.
=============

Synova said...

"Had they found even remanants, they would have been able to point to them and say,"Look, there's the WMD! We knew he was a threat!"

We did find remnants. Significant amounts, shells and shells, lots of stuff.

Haven't you been paying attention? I remember because right blogs were saying "Look see!" and left blogs were saying "it don't count, even if it is technically WMD."

So why didn't the evil Bush/Cheney cabal plant WMD in Iraq?

They managed to wire explosives in the world trade center buildings and disappear four aircraft full of passengers, after all.

Robert Cook said...

"We did find remnants. Significant amounts, shells and shells, lots of stuff."

Yes, they did...but not "significant amounts," not "lots of stuff." What they found were truly just dregs...few in number and their chemical potency largely depleted.

When I say I believe they probably thought they would find something, even if only remnants, I'm talking about more substantial stores--and in better condition that what were found--enough to actually constitute what might seem or even be a significantly dangerous weapons cache. What was found could never have been considered to be a serious or effective force of weapons against us, and thus only fringe nut-jobs on the right tried to say "We found WMD!" Even the administration didn't really try that...although Bush did tell one reporter "we found the WMD." He never repeated it though, or said it in any official speech; he must haven known or been told the weapons actually found could not support an assertion that "WMD had been found."

Hector Owen said...

So what is Iraqi Air Marshal Georges Sada, chopped liver? His book, and such reports as this, indicate that Saddam shipped his WMD's to Syria during the long run-up to the war. We know that there was a lot of truck traffic from Iraq into Syria while the games were being played at the UN, some of those trucks were filled with currency, who knows what the others were filled with? The administration took so long between the time that they were getting ready for the war, and the time that the war was started, that there was plenty of time for Saddam to move his WMD's next door. All this "Saddam never had any WMD's" stuff is just stuff, and nonsense. WMD's would not be stored in a big building like a barn, with a sign on it saying "WMD Depot."

Roger said...

Attacking Bolton and Bush over the content of the NIE is simply an ad hom argument--Cyrus, Ripper, House: you guys got any substantive comment about the NIE? Or are you going to continue to bleat like stuck pigs about Bush and Bolton. You do understand that Bush and Bolton, Cheney and Rummy have no input into the NIE? Stop the substituting ad homs for argument
and deal with what the NIE says. If it is wrong, tell us where and why--if it is right tell us where and why. The next President will have to deal with the NIE, whatever it says, and Bolton and Bush wont be a red herring to drag into the argument.

Roger said...
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Hoosier Daddy said...

Cedarford saidIf the Germans had gotten 3 earlier, they would have had little effect on the 300 Divisions on the East and West Front moving on them

That's assuming he would have used them as battlefield weapons. Say he used one on London or Kiev, chances are he could have negotiated a peace in his favor. Or better yet, nuke Antwerp and Normandy and suddenly we have no supplies. Even if he only had three, there is no reason we would know what his inventory was. As you pointed out, we only had two after the test one but the Japanese didn't know that either.

The Other Steve said...

It's good to have people like John Bolton in this world. Now when Althouse posts drunk, she can point to someone even more craptacular than herself.

dbp said...

The key to avoiding war for Iraq was cooperation with inspections, not whether or not WMD were found.

Under a regime of cooperation, we would destroy any WMD found, or if none found, be reassured by that. Without cooperation, finding WMD is a cause for war and not finding any is a cause for suspicion.

Saddam probably figured he could get a pass by officially "cooperating" but in reality just jerking us around. He was wrong, but he may not have been able to survive politically had he fully capitulated to our demands.

He was probably doomed either way, but he could have spared his country from invasion with the alternative he did not choose.

Crimso said...

"actual physical evidence, photographs of actual weapons stores, etc. They had nothing but hearsay and speculation."

So you've seen all the evidence they had access to? Including evidence which undoubtedly exists but which will never be revealed because of what that would tell other countries about our capabilities?

Robert Cook said...

"So you've seen all the evidence they had access to? Including evidence which undoubtedly exists but which will never be revealed because of what that would tell other countries about our capabilities?"

It's elementary, Watson, that they didn't have physical evidence to support their assertions of "bullet-proof/no doubt" certainty that Hussein had WMD: they never found anything. He didn't have WMD. What weapons he had had been destroyed years previously.

And this ongoing meme about "we (the govt.) know something you (the public)don't because we have secret evidence that we can't reveal because it would show our enemies our capabilities" is sheer horseshit, and serves only to allow the govt. to justify any reckless, incompetent, or criminal behavior they engage in without having to actually, you know, justify it. (Just as most things stamped "Top Secret" are likely so classified in order to hide from "we the people,"i.e., the government's bosses, the embarrassing or incriminating failures or crimes committed by our "public servants" (sic).)

dbp said...
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dbp said...

Robert,

You ignore here two facts:

1) There were lots of other reasons besides WMD for the war. Here btw is an interesting graphinc of that:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=2679

2) WMD was highlighted as a reason because it was something the public cared about AND it seemed at the time to be a sure thing (that Iraq had them).

Don't you think it would have been pretty stupid to highlight WMD as the prime reason if they knew at the time that there were none?

Robert Cook said...

"Don't you think it would have been pretty stupid to highlight WMD as the prime reason if they knew at the time that there were none?"

No; they highlighted WMD as the prime reason to go to war because they knew it was the ONLY reason that would compel public and Congressional acceptance of their plan for war. Lacking a belief that Hussein had WMD and was intent on using them (or allowing them to be used by others) against us, there was NO other rationale that would have won public or Congressional support, and in fact, that would have even come close to justifying an invasion of Iraq. (Also, as I have stated, I do think they believed they would find something; they lied primarily about the nature of their proof and about the certainty of their claims.)

Don't be naive; don't think they had a potpourri of solid, compelling reasons and they just emphasized this one because it was one they knew would be the "catchiest," (although this is what they would have us believe). They emphasized this one because they knew it would scare the hell out of us--if we believed it--and we would not subject their war plans to adequately skeptical examination.

(I never believed their claims...not because I'm so prescient or brilliant, but because, on the face of it, their rhetoric was so generalized even as it was apocalpytic, it lacked believable details or coherence; addtionally, there were contrary voices at the time speaking out in criticism of their claims, casting doubt on the nature of their intel, etc.. The critics, of course, were all correct.)

The Exalted said...

the intelligence community is run by appointees of the bush administration.

anyone who thinks that such a document is a the result of a leftist conspiracy is a rank cretin.

if it redounds to the detriment of bush, mabye its because even his appointees are scared of the disastrous consequences from what he contemplates.