Today CNN quotes President Bush:
Bush has a terrible habit of going on the offensive even when he's in the wrong, as he is in this case. Here, he is conveniently forgetting that much of what his Administration presented as solid fact was already discredited prior to its presentation to the American public, but it was used anyway. He forgets that this wasn't a matter of objective intelligence assessments, but of reports that were assembled by a new special intelligence analysis unit set up for the White House by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith (#3 man in the Pentagon, who resigned on January 26, 2005), David Wurmser's Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, which cherry-picked intelligence to find anything that suggested a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary, as documented in James Bamford's book, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies (2004, Doubleday).
"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said during a Veterans Day speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania."Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war," Bush said. "They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein."
It was the Feith/Wurmser group's bogus intelligence which led to Colin Powell making a speech to the UN Security Council filled with errors based on forged documents and testimony from a discredited source, "Curveball." It was a leaked Feith memo of bogus Iraq/al Qaeda links which was the basis of a Stephen Hayes article in the Weekly Standard (expanded into a book, The Connection), which led to Hayes' embarrassment at the hands of Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. (I posted specific refutations of a number of Hayes' alleged connections on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board.)
Feith is the man who Gen. Tommy Franks said had a reputation as the "dumbest fucking man on the planet." This opinion was seconded by Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's right-hand man in the State Department, when he resigned in October 2005, saying "seldom in my life have I met a dumber man."
It was a man in Feith's organization, Larry Franklin, who pleaded guilty to passing intelligence information to the Israelis. This is no surprise to readers of Bamford's book--which describes how Feith, Wurmser, and Richard Perle previously worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to draw up a policy on taking a more aggressive stance with Iraq that Israel wisely rejected--but which was then successfully foisted upon the United States through George W. Bush.
Bush's criticism of the Democrats is mostly unfounded--most of the Democrats who voted for the war were deceived by bogus, cherry-picked intelligence put together by the Feith/Wurmser group with the specific intent to deceive them, and that's what needs to be further investigated and demonstrated to the general public that wasn't able to recognize the deception at the time (though the evidence was, to my mind, already pretty clear, as reflected in my postings to the az.general Usenet group prior to and in the months immediately following the invasion of Iraq). On the other hand, as Snopes points out, there were Democrats who already believed Saddam Hussein had WMD and hadn't destroyed it by the mid-nineties.
I find it amazing that Bush has had as much success as he had with the deceptive and dishonest tactics described in the book All the President's Spin. I am happy to see that more and more people are realizing the deception.
I'll be hearing retired lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski speak this weekend--she is a critic of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq who was former deputy to Feith in the Pentagon who resigned in 2003.