I won’t trouble Great Debates with this because unless GW comes in it’ll all be opinion.
Elsewhere there is a thread asking why Bush lied. Well did he lie at all?
Here is some background. Over the last few years I have become heavily involved in risk analysis assessment. This has necessitated learning new ways to look at things and sometimes provided interesting perspectives. Sometimes just thinking, let’s assume that is true leads you to conclusions that surprise you.
Take Bush. I have no regard for him at all. In many ways I think the world may be a better place if he didn’t exist. Did he lie?
Let’s say he did.
He knew without a doubt that there were no WMD.
He sat around with the gang and said “Let’s pretend we think he’s got them.”
He therefore knew that they wouldn’t find any and he would be found out.
For verisimilitude he issued military orders for resources to look for things that he knew weren’t there.
He lied to his allies and didn’t let them in “Yeah sure Tony they’ve got missiles”.
He somehow got every fellow conspirator to stay closemouthed about the fact that he knew that Iraq had nothing.
Well much as I don’t like the guy, I don’t think so.
Can anyone tell me how it played out? Does anyone think he lied?
Not sure your premise is correct. You are assuming that if we say Bush lied, we are saying that he knew there were no WMDs. This doesn’t follow at all. What Bush actually said was that he was certain that Iraq had WMD, that he knew the location of said WMD, and some of the details of it. If he did not , in fact, possess the information that he claimed then, yes, he lied. If he overepmhasised the reliability of the information that he did possess, then I would consider that as being less than honest.
Ummm… not quite. That Iraqi colonel was one source. Important stuff like this is seldom single-sourced. Hussein did his damnedest to make us think he had WMD in the hopes of scaring us off. It backfired.
Intelligence gathering is a series of educated guesses and inferences by various means, plus some no-joke “I see it with my own eyes” stuff. Threat assessments are not always 100% Accurate and Truth, they are typically a Best Guess.
There was PROBABLY a percentage attached to the info, a confidence level, which does not translate well into speeches to the public. If there is a 90% confidence level that X is going to happen, that does not hold up in the American view of innocent until proven guilty, but it IS enough to go on in miltary circles. If Bush said something as FACT, (which I think is what happened), then technically, yes, I say he lied in that he extrapolated a 90% (for instance) confidence level into “fact”, or 100% confidence. But being politics, I would expect NOTHING else from any President or Politician in the same position.
If he didn’t lie, he should be turning over every rock to find those who did – those who deliberately mislead him. That doesn’t seem to be happening. That leads me to believe that he knew that information that was being presented as fact (such as Colin Powell’s speech to the UN) was not actually known to be fact.
He or his staff has lied in little matters – such as who provided the Mission Accomplished sign on the carrier that the President landed on. Even that event was misleading. The ship was only a few miles out at sea and there was a place in port for it to dock. If the crew got a kick out of it, then okay…But I wonder how many protective vests that little stunt would have purchased.
George Bush believed information supplied to him from an ally’s security service… although (wait for the Hutton Report) the information seems to have been ‘sexed up’ by an unelected Government advisor, Alistair Campbell. yet another bloody cite
No you can’t say ‘sexed up’, it’ll start another inquiry. ‘Given undue prominence’ is acceptable!
The argument has been advanced that the claim was given too much weight in the dosier of information that was released by Tony Blair to help dupe, I mean inform, the British public. Presumably, though, Mr Bush was privvy to more than this dossier and so was aware of the provenance of the information, and the fact that it was based on just one source in the Iraqi army?
By the way, given the way that Downing Street appeared to operate pre-Iraq war, Alistair Campbell would be an ‘unelected Government advisor’ in the same way that Donald Rumsfeld is an ‘unelected Government advisor’.
For most of his time in public life, the knock on GWB has been that he wasn’t very smart and wasn’t much interested in the complexities of the world around him. (I personally found it astonishing that someone of his family wealth and background never traveled abroad as a student or young man.) Is it really plausible that he deliberately masterminded the nation into an unnecessary foreign war? How does that translate into votes? And that Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Rice, CIA Director Tenet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not to mention the British government, quietly went along? Officials in the Clinton administration also believed that Hussein either had WMD or was trying to get them. I think it’s bad enough that our intelligence services couldn’t get accurate information, and apparently relied heavily on Iraqi exiles with their own axes to grind. On the other hand, if you are responsible for the security of the nation and you are presented with conflicting reports, is it entirely wrong to plan for the worst case? Would it be better to believe that the bad guys are planning to hurt us and do something about it, or to assume that there is no problem and relax? Before 9-11 law enforcement apparently had vague reports about plans to hijack airplanes (including an FBI report about a Middle Eastern flight student who wasn’t interested in learning how to take off or land), and nobody took them seriously. It wouldn’t surprise me if government officials are now more likely to give the most weight to reports of bad news, and act on that basis. A mistaken judgment based on bad information is not the same as a deliberate lie.
It is if you claim beforehand that your information is perfect and that you there’s no possibility that you could be mistaken. I’m happier beating Blair with this stick than Bush to be honest. Partly because I get to vote him out and partly because he was just so much more evangelical about the WMD thing.