Someone pinch me. The Washington Post's Editorial Page Editor -- Fred Hiatt -- just ripped the entrails from the standard slogan of the leftists: "Bush Lied".
First, Hiatt eviscerates Sen. John Rockefeller's (D-WV) summary of his own Select Committee on Intelligence report. The summary was so disconnected from the real report that it could become a blueprint for all future satire.
In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent.
Unsubstantiated contradictions? As Hiatt points out, Rockefeller's summary of the report qualifies, but not the administration's handling of the intelligence data.
On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."
On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."
On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."
On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."
Yes, the committee's report completely validates the approach of the Bush administration -- as any rational observer would have concluded in 2003, having heard every Democratic figure other than Jimmy Carter echo the threat of Iraq.
But what about Saddam's ties to terrorism? Surely, Bush was lying about those!
...statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information."
...it was not Bush, but Rockefeller, who said in October 2002: "There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated...
...To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."
Put simply, Rockefeller's report completely validates his own 2002 statement as well as that of the Bush administration.
The Anchoress asks the obvious question -- the 800-pound gorilla living in the media's finished basement: why, suddenly, is the WaPo deciding, after 5 years of supporting and promoting the “Bush lied” meme, to clarify?
There are no easy answers to that question. But the New York Sun (via Gateway Pundit) did note one other key facet to the story.
...[the critical Ford] memo came on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His words demolish a talking point for Democrats who still say Al Qaeda had nothing to do with Iraq until the coalition of the willing invaded. Mr. Ford wrote that the former emir of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi "has had a good relationship with Iraqi intelligence officials." He added that intelligence on Qaeda "revealed the presence of safe house facilities in the city as well as the clear intent to remain in Baghdad. Also, foreign NGO workers outside of Iraq who are believed to provide support to al-Qaeda have also expressed their intent to set up shop in Baghdad."
Well, that's certainly something you don't read about in the paper every day!
Executive Summary: The Bush Lied meme, which was marketed incessantly by the Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself), was unadulterated partisan pap. Furthermore, it was dangerous pap, as it presents a future CINC with additional complexities and bickering even when the need to take military action is clear and present.
As it was with Saddam Hussein's factory of terror.
And as it is with Iran's redoubt of nuclear horror.