Thursday, June 5, 2008

JMO - Learning from history

I was reading the reviews of Scott McClellan's book and listening to some of his interviews, the perfunctory media tour to promote the book. While it's fair to say his book is overdue and late to the scene of bashing the Bush administration for the runup and selling of the war in Iraq, it's important to note it was necessary and helpful. And reading the critics of him and his book I came across a point that people are making which is wrong.

Remember when Bush pushed the runup and selling of the war off the table by implying what's been done is done and we can't go back to redo it? And remember when he said it doesn't matter anyway becasue it's always about the future? Remember the sequence since the 2003 State of the Union address for the reasons for the war? They changed annually as the past ones became obvious lies. But Bush then and the critics now miss the point about history, and living it again.

Bush and many Republicans have criticized Congress for frequently going back to the pre-war intelligence and White House decisions and statements. And Congress is at it again this week, as senior Senators on both sides now are saying the intelligence was exagerated beyond reality. The White House in effect took to the intelligence to the local gas station and blew it up like you do an innertube for a day of floating dow a river on a hot summer day.

No one can fault the CIA for doing their best, and while you can fault them for their interpretation, you can argue that they were pressured by Vice President Cheney's office into rewriting the conclusions to make the threats appear bigger than they really were. The WMD's were simply the ghost under your bed, nothing in the light of cold, clear day. The White House clearly manipulated all of the intelligence to be what they wanted than what it actually said.

So, why is this important? One word, Iran. We need to know the history behind Bush, Cheney and the White House's case for the war because they can and likely will make a similar veiled case for the attacks on Iran, if they even decide to report it to Congress, going ahead with the attacks implying it's part of the war authorization Congress passed, until the dust has settled on the bombed out ruins of Iran's nuclear facilities.

Bush has the plans on his desk. The military has gone through all the iterations and scenarios, and they've written a plan which is the one on his desk. Let's not be stupid or naive here. It's the way it's done at that level of government. The military continuously plays war games and knows all the situations, circumstances and consequences. And they have selected ones written up for the President if she/he choose to pre-emptively attack and invade another nation.

So the real question isn't if the plan is there, but what option Bush will take and when. He has 6 months to do this. Does he want to support Isreal attacking Iran's facilities with US Navy and Air Force intelligence and help during the attacks? Or does he want the US forces already there to do the job? And when, before or after the election?

Whatever the case, I'm betting he plans to bring John McCain up to speed so he can use it politically in his campaign. I doubt he'll bring Obama up to speed except after the attacks. That's how much Bush and especially Cheney hates the Democrats. And I'm betting Condi Rice will be on the stump before bullshiting everyone as she does about the threat but the military option isn't on the table.

So history is more important than ever these days. We need to know how Bush, Cheney and the White House lied about Iraq so we can see how they're lying about Iran. Because if we don't, the events will happen with the unanticipated results from shortsightedness of the White House, Bush and Cheney edging toward the exit door of their time, and we'll have to clean up another one of their really big, dumb messes with our lives and checkbook.

I for one don't want that. We're paying too dearly for Iraq with little to show, and I don't want to put the military there at risk when Iran decides to retaliate. It will be a costly, bloody war for real this time. And we'll be the bad guys in the eye's of the world. And George will think he's the hero.

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