Monday Smackdown: Fafblog: Condi Rice Complains to Customer Service!

I am sorry. This is just bad, and wrong: Joseph S. Nye, Jr.: Speaking Truth to Power: "The Bush administration did not order intelligence officials to lie, nor did they. But political pressure can subtly skew attention... "a big pile of evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and a smaller pile that he did not. All the incentives were to focus on the big pile."... The presentation of intelligence to (and by) political leaders was also flawed. There was little warning that 'weapons of mass destruction' was a confusing term in the way it lumped together nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.... The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate cited Saddam’s purchase of aluminum tubes as proof that he was reconstituting his nuclear program, but Department of Energy analysts, who had the expertise, disagreed. Unfortunately, their dissent was buried in a footnote that was dropped (along with other caveats and qualifiers) when the executive summary was prepared for Congress.... Political heat melts nuances. The dissent should have been discussed openly in the text. Political leaders cannot be blamed for the analytical failures of intelligence, but they can be held accountable when they go beyond the intelligence and exaggerate to the public what it says. US Vice President Dick Cheney said there was 'no doubt' that Saddam had WMD, and Bush stated flatly that the evidence indicated that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear programs. Such statements ignored the doubts and caveats that were expressed in the main bodies of the intelligence reports...

Condoleezza Rice said: "[The] aluminum tubes... are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.... There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. How long are we going to wait to deal with what is clearly a gathering threat against the United States, against our allies and against his own region?..." That's not dropping a footnote in an executive summary.

Lumping together nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons was not an unfortunate use of a term that some found confusing. The confusion was the point. Indeed, when Nye writes "Even the United Nations’ chief inspector, the Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, said he thought that Iraq had 'retained prohibited items',” Nye is aggressively weaponizing that "confusion". Blix did not think Iraq had an ongoing nuclear weapons program. Rice, Cheney, Bush, and company wanted everybody to think it did.