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condi rice and pre-war intel hype
October 3, 2004 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Condi Rice and pre-war intel hype
The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.

Are these women right to be angry with the Bush administration?
posted by specialk420 (23 comments total)

 
Sometimes people make mistakes. It is, after all, hard work. Hopefully they've turned the corner on these mistakes, but the world and America are safer without Saddam and if they had to do it all over again I think they would and they wouldn't wilt or waver because that's what makes America safe.

Did I cover it?
posted by The God Complex at 7:53 PM on October 3, 2004


Yes.
posted by caraig at 7:54 PM on October 3, 2004


You left out the part asking why they hate Amurka.
posted by RavinDave at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2004


Did I cover it?

Almost, but you forgot Poland.
posted by Silune at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2004


After that appalling mess with Clinton, it's shocking what Americans are willing to accept as personal mistakes committed by their elected officials. Just because they rilly rilly believed they were right doesn't mean they made good decisions, or that they shouldn't have to face up to their horrific and homicidal mistakes. At least Clinton just accepted a blow job, for god's sake.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:08 PM on October 3, 2004


LOL. Dead on, TGC.

Is there a lot of discussion in the media/between people about Bush's failures these past four years?

In Canada, at least in the circles I hang out in, there's always a lot of discussion about how the incumbents have screwed up the past few years. They don't get an easy ride out of it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on October 3, 2004


Sometimes people make mistakes. It is, after all, hard work. Hopefully they've turned the corner on these mistakes, but the world and America are safer without Saddam and if they had to do it all over again I think they would and they wouldn't wilt or waver because that's what makes America safe.

you missed the part about condi and crew selling the US populace a pack of lies (that it appears they knew were lies) and now over 10,000 entirely innocent civilians are dead in Iraq and their country has been turned into a seething cauldron of violence sliding into civil war ... and the the part of America being safer is entirely arguable ...
posted by specialk420 at 9:44 PM on October 3, 2004


speaking of truth: looks like the pleasure boat capitans are finally spilling the beans on awol.
posted by specialk420 at 9:51 PM on October 3, 2004


After that appalling mess with Clinton, it's shocking what Americans are willing to accept as personal mistakes committed by their elected officials.

I think this particular mess has much more in common with Ronald Reagan's little Iran/Contra escapade than it does with Clinton's peccadilloes.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:52 PM on October 3, 2004


you missed the part about condi and crew selling the US populace a pack of lies (that it appears they knew were lies) and now over 10,000 entirely innocent civilians are dead in Iraq and their country has been turned into a seething cauldron of violence sliding into civil war ... and the the part of America being safer is entirely arguable ...

It's hard work, but failure isn't an option. You can't have a vacillator-in-chief who is going to send mixed messages to the troops in Iraq, no with all those transshippments of nucular devices.
posted by The God Complex at 10:10 PM on October 3, 2004


seething cauldron of violence sliding into civil war

i guess i was overstating things... ian masters has much better knews about how things are coming along in afganistan... i i mean iraq.
posted by specialk420 at 10:30 PM on October 3, 2004


You left out the most damning bit!

In 2002, Condoleeza said:
"The tubes are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs."

But she recently told ABC regarding the intelligence on the tubes at the time:

"I knew that there was a dispute. I actually didn't really know the nature of the dispute. A policy-maker cannot afford to be on the wrong side, underestimating the ability of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein."

I see. So, a policymaker must lie misrepresent the facts as they know them to Congress and to the people of the United States, because that's how you fight tyranny?

What about at home, Condi? What about at home?

Why lie misrepresent the facts in the first place when the Bush Administration's stated goal was to disarm -- not oust -- Saddam Hussein?! Why, you'd *almost* think that their stated goal of disarming Saddam Hussein was a lie misrepresentation of the facts too...
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:51 PM on October 3, 2004


What about at home, Condi? What about at home?

*looks in wallet*

And who's gonna pay for this fine quality "protection" from EVIL?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:25 AM on October 4, 2004


I liked the "Band of Sisters" link. All these unexpected groups mobilizing against Bush give me hope.
posted by orange swan at 5:13 AM on October 4, 2004


Are these women right to be angry with the Bush administration?
Yes.
posted by nofundy at 5:26 AM on October 4, 2004


There was no need for war, we all know that. If America wanted to know what weapons Iraq had, all they needed to do was look at the invoices - after all they sold Iraq the weapons in the first place!

The Band of Sisters is a nice thought, but wouldn't they have been better served using their powers of persuasion talking their brothers out of joining the military in the first place? just a thought.
posted by DrDoberman at 5:31 AM on October 4, 2004


so scientists are working on tube technology! The D was right!
posted by NationalKato at 5:49 AM on October 4, 2004


and the the part of America being safer is entirely arguable ...

Camp Delta 'not stopping terror'
Guantanamo process 'hopelessly flawed', says senior Pentagon officer

my favorite part:

Christino said he did not believe that Guantánamo, despite its vaunted claims, had helped to prevent a single terrorist attack. 'Most of the information derived from interrogations at Guantánamo appears to be very general in nature; so general that it is not very useful,' he said.

'How much help is it to know that during a class on improvised explosives at a camp in Afghanistan someone discussed bombing apartment complexes or shopping malls in the US?

'Chechen terrorists have been bombing apartment complexes in Russia for years, and anyone even vaguely familiar with American consumer culture knows that shopping malls would be a good target. Is it "enormously valuable intelligence"? No; it does not identify cities where sympathisers are resident or an execution timeframe, so it is not very useful.

'I doubt that anyone detained at Guantánamo ever had access to that type of information; if some claim that they did, they probably did so to either earn the incentives or avoid the maltreatment that General Miller instituted.'

Christino's conclusions were backed by three other intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. One, an FBI man for 30 years, works on tracking terrorist finance - a field in which Rumsfeld has claimed Gitmo has been especially productive. 'I'm unaware of any important information in my field that's come from Gitmo,' he said. 'It's clearly not a significant source.'

posted by matteo at 6:55 AM on October 4, 2004


Are these women right to be angry with the Bush administration?

This seems to be a somewhat abstract question – can you clarify it for me please? Does it mean “Is it understandable that these women right to be angry with the Bush administration?”?

you missed the part about condi and crew selling the US populace a pack of lies (that it appears they knew were lies)

A lie by definition must be known to be untrue by its teller at the time of its telling. If you present something that is false as true, while believing it to be true, you are not lying, you are merely wrong. You suggest that it appears that they knew the statements they were making were untrue at the time they made them – that indeed would render such statements lies – but this seems to be based purely on speculation.

If America wanted to know what weapons Iraq had, all they needed to do was look at the invoices - after all they sold Iraq the weapons in the first place!

Even if this wasn’t greatly over-simplifying the issue it wouldn’t work anyway – since the (decidedly shaky) assertion was that Saddam was attempting to procure the materials for and start, or had started, his own nuclear weapons program. No amount of comparing with what the US had sold him previously would tell just which materials Saddam had obtained from alternative sources or which had or hadn’t been dismantled.

I see. So, a policymaker must lie misrepresent the facts as they know them to Congress and to the people of the United States, because that's how you fight tyranny?

I’m not totally sure what is meant by the term “lie misrepresent”; but either way that is not an accurate summary of the quote that you are referring to. Ironically, the quote has been misrepresented in order to render it more easily refutable.
posted by ed\26h at 9:19 AM on October 4, 2004


Even if it's not an intentional lie. There definitely seems to be an almost Stalinesque habit of this administration to force the facts to fit the ideology rather than let the ideology guide the decisions based on the facts. The signs were on the wall with the redesign of the U.S. Department of Education web site that removed research that disagreed with the president's education policy.

This has echoes of Stalinist approaches to science in which research in science had to be compatible with a strict fossil of Marxist principles in order to be heard. It is quite possible that rather than outright falsehood, that what we are seeing is classic groupthink in which perceived reality is distorted and reconstructed. This administration seems to have many of the apparent symptoms such as a belief in moral superiority, rationalizing decisions after the fact, and insularity.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:28 AM on October 4, 2004


I think when people accuse Rice and Bush of lying they're being charitable. It would be like if someone kept insisting the world were flat. You have to assume that they are lying. The alternative is that they actually believe what they are saying.
posted by euphorb at 12:15 PM on October 4, 2004


ed\26h, Condoleeza rice admitted on ABC that she knew the facts regarding the tubes were disputed at the time, and that there was an intra-governmental argument over whether the tubes were for centrifuges.

And yet, with that knowledge, she still said the following:
"The tubes are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs."

Now, that's a statement of absolute certainty. According to her statement, not only *could* the tubes be used for centrifuges, they are, infact, only suited for such use.

If you were to make such a definite statement, wouldn't you consider it a necessity to check out the other claims on the table before making such a statement? Anything else would be a clear lie of omission and a misrepresentation of the facts.

Her arguments -- and that of the whole Bush administration -- are really hard to believe, unless there are whole teams of people in the Bush administration, the State Department, and the CIA who clear all documents before they reach the Executive staff to make sure that all information that could possibly contradict a pre-selected course of action is filtered out to protect against unfortunate legal incidents in the future... and even then, they'd have to not read the papers, either. Plausible deniability, you see.

Oh crap. Nobody's at the wheel! God help us.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:00 PM on October 4, 2004


Even if it's not an intentional lie […]

Well I a tried to clarify above, since there is no such thing as an “unintentional lie” (as that would be being mistaken), using such a term would seem rather inappropriate.

I think when people accuse Rice and Bush of lying they're being charitable. It would be like if someone kept insisting the world were flat. You have to assume that they are lying. The alternative is that they actually believe what they are saying.

You present two options: One that Rice and Bush were intentionally making false statements (they were lying) and the second that they genuinely believed what they said (they were mistaken). Since you, yourself present these two, why do you assert that the charitable assumption would be that they were lying when surely it would be that they were mistaken? To suggest, especially before the war, that Rice and Bush (or practically anyone else for that matter) were as sure of the fact that Saddam had no WMDs as they were that the world is spherical is something I cannot imagine you seriously believe.

insomnia_lj:

From what I understand Rice having said to ABC news, she didn’t actually mention whether or not the dispute over the tubes focussed on if they were only suitable for weapons; just that there was a dispute over “facts concerning them”. This, I can only imagine was what she was referring to when saying that she was aware of a dispute but unaware of its nature. I’d agree to some extent – that it wouldn’t seem very professional to fail to even mention this dispute and possibly create an air of greater certainty that was necessarily the case – although, that said, she seemed to be taking the official line of the CIA on the issue. So, I think absolute accusations of lying are rather over-zealous. Also, I’m not sure that the rather intricate conspiracy you describe as the only explanation as to how the executive staff could have arrived at incorrect conclusions necessarily follows; there could be other explanations – much more parsimonious ones.
posted by ed\26h at 3:58 AM on October 5, 2004


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