For all of us who were addicted to watching the debates among the talking heads before the Iraq War started, the specter of David Kay looms. He often appeared in order to counteract Scott Ritter. They had both been UN weapons inspectors in Iraq in the early 1990s. Kay’s function was to insist, without any facts, that there was sufficient intelligence to indicate that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Kay sneered at Scott Ritter’s assertions that the original UN inspections had worked, that current UN inspections were working, and that no military action was needed since there was no imminent threat. Kay insisted on the validity, sincerity and certainty of the “truths” reported by the Bush administration.
Well, now we have proof that Kay wasn’t intelligent enough. Nor were Resident Bush, Cheney, Colin Powell (who used, or used up, his political capital at the UN pimping for Bush’s war, using decade-old research papers and forged Nigerian documents), Rumsfeld, Rice, Perle, and Wolfowitz, to name just a few of the hacks who claimed they had enough intelligence.
The proof comes from David Kay himself. Called in as a pinch-hitter when the Armed Forces team couldn’t find any weapons of mass destruction, his job was to produce some, but he failed miserably. Now, he says there wasn’t enough intelligence.
Far be it from me to argue with a prominent right-wing figure who admits that he doesn’t have enough intelligence. We only wish that Bush was as honest.
Now, Bush is scrambling around trying to appoint a commission to study our faulty intelligence. He intends to stack it with right-wingers and people who won’t rock the boat. We can only dream that they will be as thorough, persistent and well financed as the Republican-led inquisitors who attacked Clinton. But don’t hold your breath.
Still, it is refreshing when one of these folks admits they were wrong. Even so, Kay is trying to spin his report by directing blame at the intelligence agencies, rather than at the White House.
All this does is try to focus attention away from the report by Paul O’Neill, former Treasury Secretary, that at his first Cabinet meeting, long before 9/11, Bush and others talked about attacking Iraq.
It is obvious that this was a politically driven decision, not one that flowed from reports from spies and interpreters of data. It is not a matter of bad intelligence, it is a matter of a right-wing imperialist political agenda, determined to prove to the world that the U.S. ruling circles were ready to impose their will militarily – a “let’s scare the hell out of them” strategy, using schoolyard bully reasoning. That (also obviously) has nothing to do with intelligence. The White House wasn’t looking for accurate intelligence; it was looking for excuses that would play well in its PR campaign.
The White House is maneuvering to stymie the 9/11 Commission, refusing to turn over documents and resisting until last week the commission’s request for two additional months to complete its investigation – all to prevent the whole truth about Bush’s failings relative to 9/11 from coming out in the midst of the fall election campaign. Similarly, Republicans are trying to keep attention away from the commission investigating the “outing” of CIA analyst Valerie Plame, aimed at undermining her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who helped expose the Nigerian document forgery.
Now they have another commission to spin – another commission they want to appoint so it looks like they’re not afraid of the truth, but one set up to guarantee no report until after the elections.
They must not have learned the lesson from Watergate – even though Nixon was re-elected in 1972, he still had to resign when a majority of the people of the U.S. wanted him impeached.
Spin only goes so far. As does the intelligence of the Bush administration – whether it’s bad, too little, too late, or totally lacking, as frequently seems to be the case.
Marc Brodine is chair of the Washington State Communist Party. He can be reached at email@example.com.