Blood in the water?

Let me see if I have this right. Bush said on Sunday that he relied on flawed assumptions and inaccurate information in launching the war on Iraq, but denies having intentionally misled the American people. Now just last week, CIA director George Tenet said that he never claimed Saddam was a grave and gathering threat. Apparently Bush agrees as afterwards he stated for the record that Tenet’s job is secure.

So our primary intelligence agency didn’t make the assessment that Saddam was an imminent danger. The Commander-in-Chief didn’t make that assessment either. After all, he admits he was duped – an innocent victim of bad information. Which leaves me to wonder just who the hell is making these assessments. While we just launched an investigation into the intelligence failure, I fear they are going to focus on the wrong thing.

There is a key and substantive difference between “data” and “information”. One being the conclusions you draw from the other. From everything I read, the question the commission will examine is why we didn’t have better data. While better data would have helped, it’s increasingly clear that the real failure here was the analysis of the data we did have. That’s where the focus should be. Why was that analysis so bad? And who is responsible for that? Who actually concluded that based on the data, Saddam was a grave and gathering threat?

Bush is still claiming that it’s all good though as Saddam was a bad man. Sure he was – nobody’s gonna argue that. But a preemptive strike against an imminent threat to U.S. security certainly requires a higher standard than that. It’s pretty clear that there never would have been support for a preemptive war based on the “bad man” standard.

So is Bush a liar who pushed a war knowing full well he lacked the grounds? Or is he a stooge who lacked the wisdom to make his own analysis and led the country to war based on trusting the advice of some unseen advisors? I’m not sure I care. Neither makes me trust him. It’s time he was help accountable. For the first time since his term began, his Teflon coating has a few chips in it. Maybe we aren’t as stupid as he thinks we are after all.

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