Monday, July 07, 2003


And the message seems to be how you read it depends on who you are.
PRESIDENT Bush is accused unfairly of falsifying intelligence. He didn't do it. That's not the way the system works.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that the president and his deputies read Intelligence reports selectively and talked themselves into believing what they wanted to believe.

That is the way the system works. For all presidents.

In fact, President Bush is far from the worst, as I can attest from personal experience. I spent most of my military career in intelligence work. During the Clinton years, I served in the Pentagon and on detail to the Executive Office of the President. The experience was discouraging, to say the least.

Since the early nineties, a number of us had been warning, both in classified forums and in the open press, about the threat from asymmetrical warfare, from terrorists, from warriors unconstrained by any laws and from religion-obsessed madmen.

The evidence mounted. Terrorists attacked us in New York - the first attack on the World Trade Center - and around the world. But, contrary to the revisionist history churned out by its loyalists, the Clinton administration just wanted the problem to go away, to pretend as long as possible that terrorism by Islamic zealots was a passing issue and to avoid the politically painful costs of mounting a serious effort to counter such threats.

The fundamental difference between the Clinton and Bush administrations' use of intelligence is that Clinton consistently refused to acknowledge the threats we faced, while Bush sometimes sees threats as more immediate than they may be.

The Clinton approach led directly to 9/11. The Bush approach led to Baghdad. Guess which one makes more sense for a nation under threat of deadly attack?

Governments are made up of human beings, and human beings are imperfect. While many of President Bush's policies may merit closer scrutiny, the claim that he and his deputies lied about intelligence is politicized nonsense.

Please read the whole thing. It will make you less tolerant of those who claim the President is a liar.

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