Twelve years after George W Bush started the illegal invasion of Iraq, ostensibly under the facility of preemptive self-defense, a stark majority-- as many as 75% in 2014-- feel the so-called war was a huge mistake. As evidence quickly accumulates that Bush's yearning to launch an aggressive attack was likelier due to an individual grudge than anything else, that number will definitely swell. The previous president's intelligence briefer provided yet more plausibility to that theory in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball, making an admission that the Bush White House misrepresented intelligence reports to the general public on essential issues.
Michael Morell's stint with the CIA consisted of deputy and acting director, but throughout the time preceding the United States invasion of Iraq, he helped prepare day-to-day intelligence briefings for Bush. Among those rundowns, from October 2002, is an infamous example in intelligence history as how not to put together a report. This National Intelligence Price quote, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, was the seemingly flawed intelligence mentioned continually by Bush advocates as reason to pursue a war of aggression against Iraq. However, this settlement is suspicious at well, and serves more as a smokescreen to provide credence to a president who was otherwise hellbent on vengeance against Saddam Hussein, as confirmed in his statement a month prior to the report, "After all, this is the guy who attempted to kill my dad."
In the Hardball interview, host Chris Matthews asked Morell about Cheney's notorious statement in 2003: "We understand he [Saddam Hussein] has actually been definitely devoted to attempting to obtain nuclear weapons. And our team believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." The following is the discussion that took place:
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MORELL: We were saying—
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That’s not true.
MATTHEWS: Well, why’d you let them get away with it?
MORELL: Look, my job Chris—
MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”
MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—
MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.
MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?
MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.
MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.
MATTHEWS: So you’re briefing the president on the reasons for war, they’re selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn’t. So they’re using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.
MORELL: Look, I’m just telling you—
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.
MORELL: I’m just telling you what we said—
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.
And the host pushed just a little further:
MATTHEWS: That’s a big deal! Do you agree? If they claimed they had a [nuclear] weapon, when you know they didn’t.
MORELL: It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.
He's definitely right, of course, and even further to that point, Morell made another admission of a direct misstatement: “What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community” had actually found. “I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war.” Which the administration had to do, thinking about no such case existed. As a matter of reality, Cheney's statement directly disputes with what the NIE in fact specified, which is that the intelligence community just discovered a“[lack of] persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.” Which remains in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency report that concerned the same conclusion:" We have to date discovered no evidence that Iraq has actually restored its nuclear weapons program.".
All of this solidifies what previous UN Secretary General Kofi Annan resolutely mentioned about the United States invasion of Iraq in 2004: "I have suggested it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was unlawful.".
The concern most deserving a response, and significantly postured by the people at large: If George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration, deliberately misguided the general public on false pretenses, straight opposed intelligence info through misstatement, and ultimately started a wholly illegal invasion of Iraq that resulted in the deaths of well over 1 million civilian, non-combatants; WHY have they not been accused of war crimes?
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